An interesting recent article explaining why so many of India’s national level politicians have extensive – to include felony – criminal records. It apparently all boils down to money.
In the country’s last general election in 2014, 554 million Indian voters cast their ballots at 900,000 polling booths, choosing their elected leaders amongst a field of 8,250 elected candidates representing 464 political parties. While this may sound like great news for the world’s largest democracy, the remarkable thing is that one third (34 percent) of the 543 elected members of parliament (India’s version of Congress) also were facing criminal charges at the time – up from 30 percent in 2009 and 24 percent in 2004. While some of the new MPs faced misdemeanor level charges, a whopping 20 percent faced more serious charges such ranging from attempted murder to assault and theft.
The rising cost of elections and a shadowy election financing system where parties and candidates under-report collections and expenses means that parties prefer “self-financing candidates who do not represent a drain on the finite party coffers but instead contribute ‘rents’ to the party”. Many of these candidates have criminal records.
Moreover, Vaishnav says, Indians are apparently less likely to be fazed by a politician with a criminal background, and that even well-informed voters may vote for criminal candidates along religious lines or by caste.
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.
An excellent recent article explaining why Japan has so few gun-related deaths. In 2014, Japan recorded only six (6) gun deaths, while the U.S. had more than thirty thousand! Two equally modern societies, but in this respect they could hardly be worlds apart. What accounts for the dramatic difference? The answer is that in Japan, it’s very difficult to obtain a gun, as gun ownership is not considered a basic right the way it is here in the U.S. For starters, handguns are completely banned for the average person to own. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed. And if you want to get your hands on one of those, you have to take a class, followed by a written test and a shooting skills test with at least a 95 percent score. That’s in addition to a mental health test and drug test, as well as criminal history checks. The number of gun shops in the country are also severely limited, from one prefecture to the next.
The result is a very low level of gun ownership – 0.6 guns per 100 people in 2007, according to the Small Arms Survey, compared to 6.2 in England and Wales and 88.8 in the US.
This map, a joint product between IRIN and Humanitarian Outcomes, is the first time ever the full scope of aid worker security events has been presented in visual form, which can be searched and filtered and browsed. It shows events from the beginning of 2000 until the end of May 2015.
Humanitarian Outcomes have been running the Aid Worker Security Database since 2005, and made it publicly available online in 2010. The database records major incidents of violence against aid workers. It is not absolutely comprehensive as some incidences are not reported, but it is the sole global open source of this data, providing the evidence base for analysis of the changing security environment for aid operations.
It’s a sobering testament to the dangerous work of saving lives.
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.
An interesting and frank admission was made by a police leader in the United Kingdom. Assistant Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, who is the national policing spokesman on surveillance, believes crime isn’t down, but instead had moved to the Internet, where it is difficult for law enforcement to detect or deter.
He said criminals were simply carrying out different offences that were not being combated by police forces. He also made a damning assessment of the police’s ability to tackle cyber-crime, such as internet card fraud and online scams.
Mr Boutcher said: ‘Everyone tells me crime is down and we are very good in the police at the moment.
‘I am convinced that crime isn’t down – it is just being done in a completely different way.’
The Hertfordshire officer added that the police force had been slow to formulate strategies to combat cyber-crime, with the College of Policing, the professional body for law enforcement, issuing guidelines only this year.
Official statistics show that overall crime has more than halved in the past 20 years – from 19million in 1995 to eight million offences in the year to September 2013. It is the lowest estimate since records began.
The assessment is interesting, as crime rates have gone down around the U.S. in the past decade as well. Could it simply be that the balance of criminal activity has moved to the Internet, where it is out of sight out of mind?
Check out this nifty online map of where the United Kingdom’s worst drivers are, as measured by which regions of the country have drivers with the most points. Now, if only there were something like this available for the U.S. The most remotely comparable thing we can find is the below state-by-state map made by visualization guru Seth Kadishwhich shows the average number of years U.S. drivers go without getting into an accident.