Morning Ed: Crime {2017.03.13.M}

This strikes me as a good way to filter out all but the most gullible.

Crime may be down nationally, but there could be a reason that perceptions of crime may be up, in some places. It’s not hard to imagine some people seeing their own communities get worse and then (wrongly) extrapolating that to major cities where crime is actually down.

This seems like the contemporary equivalent of making the family pay for the executioner’s bullet.

The law enforcement potential of policy body cameras goes beyond policing the police.

Law enforcement is complaining that encryption is too greatly hindering their efforts.

Blackmail is illegal, it turns out, even if you’re a lawyer.

Can we try a man for attempting to murder a mannequin? Is this different than a man who plans sex with a catfishing cop pretending to be someone under age?

Laws step in when culture fails.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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43 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Crime {2017.03.13.M}

  1. 1.The Nigerians are getting creative.

    2. Makes sense sadly.

    3. This is reprehensible.

    6. Its amazing how so many of my brothers and sisters in the law think they can get away with this shit because they are lawyers and won’t get caught.

    7. The man should be charged for vandalism at worse.

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  2. The authors of the new report estimate that 1.5 billion people in the world use messaging apps, including Apple’s iMessage and WhatsApp, with end-to-end encryption, which prevents third parties, including service providers, from being able to read messages. About 18 percent of the world’s total communications traffic is now inaccessible to law enforcement, they say.

    grumpycatgood.jpg.

    Can’t wait till it’s closer to 100%

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    • Yeah, having a hard time getting concerned about this. It annoys me that law enforcement always wants laws to change to make their jobs easier, regardless of the negative impact on the public.

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      • It rather jumped out at me reading the linked article the complete acceptance of the framing that encryption “unreasonably” hinders the police and the situation is “worsening,” with no discussion of why even non-criminals might want to use encryption.

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        • I’m consistently amazed at how effectively law enforcement has been able to spin being able to crack all encryption as just returning to the good old days of data access that they’ve “always had.”

          We didn’t always keep a computer that records our location, human interactions, buying patterns, and personal secrets all in one place. In the old days, a warrant meant they could read the information you committed to paper or spoke over the phone. Now having “the same” access means they have most of every conversation you’ve had over the past couple of years, records of everything you’ve bought, everywhere you’ve gone, and God knows what else if your smartphone judgment was poor. Not to mention in the “old days” they used to have to do something manually for each person and now they could tap everybody all the time with equal ease.

          This is a new time, and eliminating encryption isn’t just a return to the way things were.

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        • When I was doing IT support at a university with medical school and teaching hospital, the administration’s policy was to achieve HIPAA compliance by encrypting all devices except ones that stayed on a desktop.

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    • Exactly! It’s supposed to be hard for the police, and by extension the entire criminal justice system, to do their jobs, efforts of the Supreme Court notwithstanding.

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    • One of the Prenda boys just pled out and is facing major time.

      On the broader issue, this issue (slightly modified from the original) came across my desk a few years back. An employee of a company I was representing stole a lot of money from the company. The CEO asked me if in the context of a settlement negotiation we could threaten to report him to the IRS.

      It turns out that there was substantial disagreement among the attorneys I checked with.

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  3. Reporting dead bodies: It seems to me that in several of the cases related in the story, the issue is mental illness in the non-reporting survivor. The benefit of criminalizing this is not at all obvious.

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      • Seems a rather blunt instrument to me, but then again, maybe in our culture the best we can hope for for some “disconnected” people are blunt instruments.

        (I’d hope if I ever lost touch with reality that my co-workers or fellow church members would care enough to drag me in somewhere for a consult but I also know for some people, one consequence of mental illness is that they seem to lose all their social ties)

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  4. 1. Here I am just sitting in a tin can….Planet earth is blue and there is nothing I can do…until you send me three million dollars to get out of this stew…..

    2. This makes intuitive sense.

    3. Philadelphia is an interesting city socially/politically. The city is one of the few left with a significant white working class (though this might be dwindling). In the 1970s and 80s, the city was more or less ruled by a notorious racist named Frank Rizzo who started in the police and then became mayor. And he really was super-racist. The city is much more liberal now and the Rizzo faction no longer controls the place but a lot of their policies are still in force. The city also gained infamy a few years ago for their liberal use of civl forfeiture including taking a house away from grandparents whose grandson dealt like ten dollars worth of weed from the front porch. Though this policy probably exists in many locales, it just seems like an extra-cruel punishment. I get making civil litigants pay for the cost of their litigation/use of courts generally. I don’t get making defendants pay especially because many of them are so poor as the article notes.

    7. Mental illness is the issue here and this seems to happen with surprising regularity.

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  5. Making parents pay: This is in no way like making the family pay for the bullet. The bullet is a one time deal and is minimal in cost. Having your kids housed for months on end for jail is a bit more….. Notice: I support the invoicing of said bullets. Sadly we don’t use firing squads anymore.

    Encryption: I really have no sympathy for gov’t. If you didn’t spy on us all the time you might have a leg to stand on. As of now, FO.

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    • Damon,
      How much do you suppose it costs to pay someone to murder your child and make it look like an accident? Ain’t exactly cheap. Nobody thinks of murdering these children, because they’re functional human beings who need… direction. redirection. whatever.

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    • Want the parents to pay for the incarceration of a child, prove that the parents are truly and willfully negligent and trying to foist the care of their child onto the state. Otherwise, no dice. Police and prosecutors are too eager to rack up arrest and conviction rates of anyone, even minors. I’d be too concerned that these kids are only in state custody because the kids and their parents couldn’t get anything beyond an overworked public defender to be their advocate to the system.

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    • The “parents pay” thing is interesting–if a kid gets a ticket for doing something dumb, odds are pretty good that the parents will end up paying. But there’s some upper limit to that, and there has to be some consistency. We don’t make adults pay for their own incarceration, do we?

      The thing that I find more immediately disturbing is the number of times the state can get you to pay for being *accused* of a crime and not convicted. Conviction is one thing. We all sort of agree that the state can take a piece of your hide in that case–the amount and nature of it is just haggling. But the fact that you can be made to pay for costs associated with being accused and then released seems totally insane. If anything the state should be reimbursing you for whatever costs you incurred in the process.

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  6. On the perception of crime rising, that is a good article. But one thing to keep in mind is that all of the crime stats come from reported crimes. And if parts of the US are having an opioid problem, and by all accounts they are, then I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that crime has risen. But it is going to be at a level of non- reporting. IE someone breaking into a detached garage and stealing an old toolbox, the stereo from an old car, a cousin swiping moms wallet, that type of crime. Because junkies need that fix and will get the money for it. Anyway possible. Pawning stuff will go up, petty theft will go up, people who have problems will stop mowing lawns, etc. In general a feeling of rundown and neglect. And these types of crime are not worth calling the cops over, as they more than likely wont show up, or when they do they will start asking questions about you, why your registration is out of date, did you pay for those tools in the garage? If you don’t absolutely need a police report, you will not call. Not worth the hassle.

    #heroinisabitch

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    • There are additional ways crime stats are missing the important trends. Chicago reported 762 murders in 2016, but 812 homicides because 50 of the deaths were deemed justified. And one of the city’s columnists argues that it is total shootings that is the important metric, because it eliminates the issue of whether better treatment and telecommunications are saving the lives of people who would have died in 1992, when a larger Chicago reported 922 homicides.

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    • That sound eminently plausible, but wouldn’t that type of crime still be caught in the National Crime Victimization Survey? Has there been a disconnect in those stats between the NCVS and the data set compiled by the FBI?

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  7. If people believe that crime is rising because they live in areas where crime is rising, then why is the percentage of people who believe that crime is rising nationwide consistently much greater than the percentage who believe that crime is rising where they live?

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    • Brandon,
      Because people are stupid. The 1 person who ambushes someone on the highway (a LARGE increase in crime for the given region) is something that isn’t happening “where they live” (because it happened to someone else, and wasn’t in “town”).

      But it leads to a perception of crime and lawlessness that people stupidly associate with Beverly Hills Cop’s Detroit, instead of current Detroit.

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    • Reporting bias, for one. You put interesting things on the news — crime is interesting. Lack of crime is not interesting.

      There’s also a human tendency to justify your own choices and believe you’re better off — so you’re more willing to believe people “over there” (out of sight, somewhere away) are worse off and aren’t you glad you live here, where it’s good? (Of course the people in sight get you the other bias — the grass is greener problem).

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      • Yeah, and in the age of clickbait, I think crime stories – especially dumb crime stories – are used more. My local news last week spent about a minute on talking about burglaries in a town south of me, and then lavished five minutes on some idiot “Florida Man” crime story (This is NOT a station based in, or anywhere near, Florida). Newsertanment, I guess.

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  8. It seems to me that crime is rising in my area – a lot of it related to addiction; people burgling or outright robbing so they have funds for their “fix.” (Here it seems to be meth rather than opioids, but that may be my perception from the news & talking to a friend with a son in law enforcement. And yes, her son is a deputy sheriff and she says he says crime has gone up; he has more calls now, and it’s not related to slightly higher population here)

    I dunno. I guess I’d rather be burgled (when I wasn’t home) than robbed (either on the street or when I was home). But I’d rather be either than raped or murdered, and those don’t seem to be going up, at least in “non domestic” situations. (“Domestics” are still bad here. There was a case this weekend of a local mayor shooting – or shooting at, it’s unclear – his boyfriend over an argument over, if I read the news right, soda….)

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  9. The crime article is reasonable and has a point. Of course Republicans and conservo media have been banging the drum VERY LOUDLY about how crime is worse than ever since about 2009 so that has something to do with it.

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      • I agree with this. It seems like an example of a phenomenon I’ve heard referred to as “now more than ever-ism” where every new data point means that now, more than ever, we need to implement the same policy I’ve always been calling for.

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      • Yes, we’ve successfully gotten crime down to poor 2nd World nations like Laos, Niger, and Sri Lanka. Now, let’s work on things that’ll get it down to 1st World standards like France, Germany, and the like. Which includes things like limiting easy access to handguns.

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  10. There was a paper out of (IIRC) Microsoft a few years back, in which the economics of 419 scams was examined. The conclusion was that the crappy and unconvincing unsolicited come-on email messages were in fact the optimal strategy, for the reason you allude to – screening out all but the most gullible for the more labour-intensive task of manipulating into actual transfers of money.

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