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FBI: Crime Down in First Half of 2014

Crime declined during the first half of 2014, when compared to the first six months of 2013, according to the FBI. The federal agency's Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report (UCR) is based on data from 11,009 law enforcement agencies. Violent crime was down 4.6 percent between January and June 2014. The nation saw a 6 percent decline in total murders during that period, rapes declined 10.1 percent, aggravated assaults dropped by 1.6 percent and robbery offenses decreased 10.3 percent. Property […]


Study: Corrections Crime Rates Likely Higher than Reported

There is probably much more crime inside jails and prisons than officials report, according to a study in the journal Justice Quarterly. Researchers for the study compared survey data from inmates housed in 46 facilities in Ohio and Kentucky with official data on those inmates. Self-reported and officially recorded rates for some low-level crimes were similar, while officially recorded rates for certain serious crimes were way off, researchers found. “The level of officially detected assaults was 80 percent lower than […]


CA Gets Tougher on Slippery Problem: Grease Theft

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that California is increasing the minimum penalties for late-night thieves who stalk back alleys behind restaurants in search of a quick payday in the form of an unlikely hot commodity — used cooking oil. The quest for U.S. energy independence and more renewable fuels has transformed ordinary kitchen grease from a nuisance into a cash cow whose theft can be stubbornly difficult to trace. The oil currently fetches about $1.55 per gallon, and often higher […]


CA Cellphone ‘Kill Switch’ Bill Goes to Gov. Brown

If Gov. Jerry Brown approves, California will join Minnesota to become the second state to require cellphone “kill switches,” says the Washington Post. A bill approved by the California legislature this week would require phones made after July 1, 2015, to include a feature that renders them inoperable if they fall into the wrong hands. Proponents hope kill switches will thwart the growing problem of cellphone theft. Opponents and industry officials say it could invite threats to privacy and security. […]


DC Smartphone Theft Surge Reflects National Trend

A Consumer Reports survey suggests that smartphone thefts are surging across the country, reports the Washington Post. Based on statistical extrapolations from its survey, Consumer Reports estimates that about 3.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft last year, nearly double the number in 2012. In Washington, a recent Metro report listed 643 “snatch” thefts in the transit system last year, 90 percent of which involved cellphones, up from 491 in 2012. The increasing popularity of smartphones, easy to carry […]


The Cruelest Spectator 'Sport:' Animal Fighting

Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), was particularly repulsed by the brutality of the dog fighting he saw in 19th century New York and elsewhere. He would often personally lead raids of animal fighting pits. Thanks to Henry Bergh, New York State's animal cruelty law in 1867 made all forms of animal fighting illegal for the first time. But his work is far from done. Although animal fighting is now illegal […]


Farmers Dealing With a New Crime Trend: Theft of Hay Bales

Ranchers and farmers are grappling with a new problem: hay rustling, says the New York Times. Drought and grass fires have pushed the price of hay, grain and other animal feed to near records, making the golden bales an increasingly irresistible target for thieves. Some steal them for profit. Others are fellow farmers acting out of desperation, their fields too brown to graze animals and their finances too wrecked to afford enough feed for their cattle. Most of the cases […]