One out of eight cars stolen in 2015 was stolen as a result of some degree of carelessness by the owner – meaning the vehicle was left unlocked with key inside – according to a study released late last year by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). This type of theft has increased in frequency in recent years: there were 57,096 such vehicle thefts in 2015, up 22 precent from the 2014 total of 46,695, and an increase of 31 percent over 2013 (43,643). These numbers are also believed to represent underestimates because in incidents like these many owners are embarrassed to report the circumstances of the theft.
It’s also more common now during the winter months. So if you’re warming the car up, try to lock the door and use a spare key to access your car when ready (if your vehicle allows this), or better yet, just wait inside your car whenever possible.
In 2016, TSA confiscated 3,391 firearms from carry-on bags at more than 200 airports around the country, averaging more than nine guns per day. Of those, 2,815 (83 percent) were loaded. This represents a 28 percent increase in firearm discoveries from the 2,653 guns confiscated from travelers in 2015.
A quick reference chart of bad (meaning potentially lethal) drug combinations, provided by TripSit. It’s not meant to suggest any drug combination – or even any single drug – is good or safe, but the chart was created as a risk assessment tool for those who are already committed to using drugs. TripSit lists this as the third and most recent version of its chart, incorporating corrections to past mistakes, but makes it clear it is “not intended as a sole reference point” for decision-making.
Well, technically drugs aren’t completely legal in Portugal (trafficking in and selling them will still earn you to a ticket to jail). But since 2000 possession of all drugs for personal use has been decriminalized to where if you are caught carrying a small amount of any drug, at worst it would earn you a small fine and you would be sent on your way, with no arrest or criminal record. (This amounts to a 10-day supply — a gram of heroin, ecstasy, or amphetamine, two grams of cocaine, or 25 grams of cannabis). Despite this, deaths due to drug overdose are the second-lowest in the European Union. HIV infections have also dropped dramatically.
The rate of new HIV infections in Portugal has fallen precipitously since 2001, the year its law took effect, declining from 1,016 cases to only 56 in 2012. Overdose deaths decreased from 80 the year that decriminalization was enacted to only 16 in 2012. In the US, by comparison, more than 14,000 people died in 2014 from prescription opioid overdoses alone. Portugal’s current drug-induced death rate, three per million residents, is more than five times lower than the European Union’s average of 17.3, according to EU figures.
Portugal’s officials estimate that by the late 1990s one percent of its population, around 100,000 people, were heroin users, compared to around half that many today. So why did decriminalization result in such positive results? It’s complicated, but it likely has to do with the country coming to regard drug use as less of a criminal problem and more of a public health issue – those who are repeatedly caught using drugs or identified as addicts can still be ordered into treatment or to check in regularly with their family doctor.
Although numbers and statistics offer little solace as even one on-duty officer death is one too many, policing has become safer in recent years – this despite media reports of officer deaths from shooting incidents would make things appear.
The number of full-time, sworn local police officers increased by 35 percent from 1987 to 2013, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. During that same period, the number of officers killed declined by 34percent. And a growing share of officer deaths are happening in accidental or deliberate car collisions.
According to the visually stimulating though oddly named website HeyJackass!, there have been 795 homicides in Chicago for 2016, though this number may cross 800 due to “due to late passings and reclassified death investigations.”
DNAInfo has additional statistics/infographics presented in a similarly visual format, though their numbers are currently slightly lower with 741 reported homicides for 2016.
Since the Newtown school massacre, where Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, almost every state has enacted at least one new gun law. According to The New York Times, which has a nifty chart summarizing each state’s new laws, the majority loosen – not tighten – gun restrictions.
Nearly two-thirds of the new laws ease restrictions and expand the rights of gun owners. Most of those bills were approved in states controlled by Republicans. Those who support stricter regulations won some victories — mostly in states where the legislature and governorship are controlled by Democrats — to increase restrictions on gun use and ownership.
The reason for Tornado Alley is one of geography: the Rocky Mountains tend to block the eastward flow of moist air, while the Great Plains allow cold Arctic air to flow south from Canada, which collides with warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico, causing powerful tornadoes. While twisters are most frequent in Tornado Alley, multiple studies have found that the deadliest tornadoes occur to the east, in the lower Mississippi Valley area, a region that has come to be known as “Dixie Alley.” There are several reasons: twisters tend to be stronger in this part of country, they’re more likely to strike at night, there are more trees and other obstructions to raise havoc, this region has many manufactured homes without basements in which one could take shelter, and of course, population densities are generally higher here as well.