Sunday, April 29, 2007

Boccardo Jewelers was busted into from the roof after recent snow storm.

Monday, April 16, 2:50 p.m.

A burglary was discovered this afternoon at a jewelry store in Scranton.

Police said the owners of Boccardo Jewelers on Spruce Street opened late because of the snow storm. When they did they found someone had broken through the roof of the store sometime overnight. Police said a substantial amount of jewelry was stolen.

What is the proper response for the owner of this Jewelry store?
I say get some spy cameras on your roof and possible hire someone to either monitor your establishment or get high end cameras. They should have already been there and I am not saying they weren't it just wasn't part of this blurb.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Risks, Benefit & Costs Of DNA

Recent issues regarding DNA have been of great importance. One of those issues that has caused great concern is the desire of law enforcement agencies--from local, county, state and federal levels of government--to amass a huge database of DNA for use in solving crimes.

At first this sounds like a no-brainer. Using a DNA database to catch criminals sounds just like using fingerprints. The current process of using DNA requires some reason to request a suspects DNA. However, there have been encroachments on that process in many states that have passed a DNA collection process law. Under some such laws, anyone arrested is required to submit a DNA sample, but most laws require a conviction. This, too, sounds like a no-brainer, except when we realize that there are a number of DNA processing errors, including lab misconduct and errors. But anyone aware of the DNA fiascoes involved in the O.J. Simpson case, regardless of whether they believe the outcome of that case was correct or not, realizes that DNA is not an absolute science.

When the Human Genome Project was underway there was an international conference on the ethical consequences of such a powerfully compelling science. I was fortunate to be asked to contribute via online participation in this project. I raised concerns about privacy, the extension of use under the law enforcement umbrella, and the circumvention of human rights/civil liberties. While part of raising those issues is derived from being an American and believing in a system of justice where there is a presumption of innocence, certain specific rights against self-incrimination, and an incumbent requirement that the prosecution (aka government) must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, another part of raising those concerns was the human error factor.

While using the Human Genome database, or any other DNA-based database, for the purposes...
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Would you give your DNA to the government? Does it do the public any good? Can this process of DNA collecting be abused?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Surveillance and recording criminals in the real world

"Police Record Calls Using Audio, Video"
State (SC) (03/25/07)
The Bluffton Police Department and Beaufort County Sheriff's Office in South Carolina have been using digital audio and video recording to capture on-the-scene evidence. Recording eyewitnesses and victim statements at the scene is one way to ensure stories do not change when a trial comes to court. Furthermore South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster notes that police do not have to inform suspects that they are being recorded. In some cases South Carolina police are using small microphones attached to their lapels or collars to record audio from on-the-scene interviews. Audio information can also be stored on a laptop's hard drive affixed in the patrol car, which means that audio recording devices will have copious room for recording. The Bluffton Police Department plans to spend about $18,000 on a central server to archive and track their audio recordings, according to Chief David McAllister.

"City Surveillance Cameras Will Also Transmit High-Speed Internet Access"
Buffalo News (03/22/07) P. B1; Meyer, Brian
The city of Buffalo plans to start a $4.4 million pilot project this spring involving five surveillance cameras placed in high-crime areas. The cameras will also be able to transmit broadband Internet connectivity at no cost citywide. Later in 2007, the initiative will broaden to 32 cameras installed near schools, in business districts, and near border crossings. Dorothy A. Johnson, executive director of the state control board, which endorsed the city's plan on March 22, is confident the surveillance effort will help the city dispatch its police officers more effectively. "This is a way that they can make the smartest use of their personnel," she said. The initiative is just one part of a $10 million bundle of projects advocated by Mayor Byron W. Brown and approved by the control board. Other approved projects include a 311 calling system for non-emergency problems and pay-and-display parking meters. Brown now hopes to secure $1 million in federal funds to enlarge the surveillance program to include up to 45 cameras.
"Running New Tests on Old Evidence Could Help Solve Woman's Murder"
Arizona Republic (03/23/07) P. 8; Ferraresi, Michael
Scottsdale, Ariz., police are opening some unsolved homicide cases from two decades ago in order to obtain DNA evidence and find suspected murderers. Scottsdale lead investigator of cold cases Lt. Craig Chrzanowski says the department is using new technology to harvest fingerprint and DNA evidence from a 1978 murder case. The case involves the stabbing death of Patty Kerger, then 30 years old. Police suspected it was a crime of passion, but never could solve it.

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