Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 02, 2014, 03:56:48 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
82695 Posts in 2251 Topics by 1062 Members
Latest Member: seawolfpack5
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Science, Culture, & Humanities
| | |-+  Libertarian Issues
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 8 Print
Author Topic: Libertarian Issues  (Read 63924 times)
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« on: March 23, 2008, 08:18:08 PM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...7/nasbo217.xml


Quote:
DNA database plans for children who 'could become criminals'

By Simon Johnson
Last Updated: 2:36am GMT 18/03/2008

Primary school children should be put on the national DNA database if their
behaviour suggests they will become criminals, a senior Scotland Yard
expert said yesterday.

Ed Balls plans 'baby Asbos' for 10-year olds

Gary Pugh, the director of forensic science and the new DNA spokesman
for the Association of Chief Police Officers, called for a debate on the
measures required to identify future offenders.

He said: "If we have a primary means of identifying people before they
offend, then in the long term the benefits of targeting younger people are
extremely large.

"We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to
society."

But critics said this was a step towards a police state that would risk
stigmatising youngsters who had yet to commit a criminal act.

The details of more than 4.5 million people, including about 150,000
children under the age of 16, are held on the Government's database,
making it the largest system of its kind in the world.

Last week it emerged that the number of 10 to 18-year-olds placed on the
database after being arrested will have reached about 1.5 million this time
next year.

Police in England and Wales need parental consent to take a DNA sample
from children under 10, the age of criminal responsibility.

Children in Scotland can be charged with an offence at eight, but police
cannot take DNA if they are younger.

Julia Margo, from the Institute for Public Policy Research who wrote a
recent report on the issue, agreed that it was possible to identify risk
factors in children aged five to seven. But she said that placing young
children on a database risked stigmatising them.

Chris Davis, of the National Primary Headteachers' Association, said Mr
Pugh's suggestion could be viewed "as a step towards a police state."

He added: "It is condemning them at a very young age to something they
have not yet done. To label children at that stage and put them on a
register is going too far."
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2008, 12:46:13 PM »

Government spies could scan every call, text and email
Ministers are considering a £12 billion plan to monitor the e-mail, telephone and internet browsing records of every person in Britain.
 
By Nick Allen
Last Updated: 11:47PM BST 05 Oct 2008
Comments 122 | Comment on this article


The huge eavesdropping programme would involve the creation of a mammoth central computer database to store hundreds of billions of individual pieces of communications traffic.
Supporters say it would become one of the security services' most comprehensive tools in the fight against terrorism but critics described it as "sinister".

MI5 currently has to apply to the Home Secretary for warrants to intercept specific email and website traffic but, under the new plan, internet and mobile phone networks could be monitored live by GCHQ, the Government listening post.

The Home Office said no decision had been taken but security officials claim live monitoring is necessary to pick up terrorist plots.

It would allow them to capture records like chat room discussions on password-protected Islamic extremist websites.

The annual number of phone calls and other electronic communications in the UK is predicted to nearly double from 230 billion in 2006 to 450 billion by 2016.
Last year 57 billion text messages, or 1,800 a second, were sent. That rose from one billion in 1999.

The number of broadband internet connections rose from 330,000 in 2001 to 18 million last year. Three billion e-mails are sent every day, or 35,000 every second.
One of the spurs for a central database is a concern over how that electronic communications data is currently stored by hundreds of different internet service providers and private telephone companies.

Records may only be held for limited periods of time and are then lost which makes it impossible for police and the security services to establishing historical links, or so-called "friendship trees", between terrorists.

If all communications information was centrally stored then links could be made between terrorist cells and other sympathisers could be identified.
The telephone and internet companies are currently required to give records of calls or internet use to law enforcement agencies if a senior officer authorises that it is needed for an inquiry.

Last year there were more than half a million such requests.

The cost of monitoring everything, and keeping it on a central database, has been estimated at £12 billion and would dwarf the proposed cost of the identity cards programme.
Critics also claim it would be virtually impossible to keep such a vast system secure and free from abuse by law enforcement agencies.

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: "It would mark a substantial shift in the powers of the state to obtain information on individuals.

"Given the Government's poor record on protecting data, and seeing how significant an increase in power this would be, we need to have a national debate and the Government would have to justify its need."

The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, has already called for a public debate about Government proposals for the state to retain people's internet and phone records.
A spokesman for the commissioner said: "He warned that it is likely that such a scheme would be a step too far for the British way of life. Proposals that threaten such intrusion into people's lives must be properly debated."

Richard Clayton, a security expert at Cambridge University, said the proposal would mean installing thousands of probes in telephone and computer networks which would re-route data to the central database.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/3140207/Government-spies-could-scan-every-call-text-and-email.html
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2008, 12:56:22 PM »

Isn't there already a thread established?
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2008, 02:11:55 PM »

I dunno, just grabbed what popped up first in search.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2008, 02:29:12 PM »

There may be a privacy thread where this could have fit, but this thread seems fine to me so lets carry on here.

What do we think of this gentlemen?
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2008, 02:57:33 PM »

Well, these are both taking place in the UK. Creating a DNA registry for children that haven't committed a criminal offense seems Orwellian and probably unproductive. As far as the datamining, I find it less bothersome.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2008, 03:27:32 PM »

I'd be surprised if the NSA didn't have similar capabilities, albeit one that are supposed to be focused outside our shores, and I'd guess that all this data creates such a cacophony that most "mining" ends up in the sluice chute. With that said, the thing that scares the bejesus out of me is that the infrastructure is likely being assembled that will allow everyone's electronic and even biometric traces to be collated and analyzed. Think a government could get into quite a bit of mischief with that kind of power.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2008, 03:32:10 PM »

The vast majority of data collection/mining in the US takes place in the private sector, not the public. Unless you are the target of a serious criminal investigation, private industry knows much more about you than Uncle Sam.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2008, 08:05:00 AM »

I think BBG is right to raise the question of where this may well be headed.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2008, 11:59:43 AM »

October 7, 2008 9:30 AM PDT

Government report: Data mining doesn't work well

Posted by Declan McCullagh 14 comments

The most extensive government report to date on whether terrorists can be identified through data mining has yielded an important conclusion: It doesn't really work.
A National Research Council report, years in the making and scheduled to be released Tuesday, concludes that automated identification of terrorists through data mining or any other mechanism "is neither feasible as an objective nor desirable as a goal of technology development efforts." Inevitable false positives will result in "ordinary, law-abiding citizens and businesses" being incorrectly flagged as suspects.

The whopping 352-page report, called "Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists," amounts to at least a partial repudiation of the Defense Department's controversial data-mining program called Total Information Awareness, which was limited by Congress in 2003.

But the ambition of the report's authors is far broader than just revisiting the problems of the TIA program and its successors. Instead, they aim to produce a scholarly evaluation of the current technologies that exist for data mining, their effectiveness, and how government agencies should use them to limit false positives--of the sort that can result in situations like heavily-armed SWAT teams raiding someone's home and shooting their dogs based on the false belief that they were part of a drug ring.

The report was written by a committee whose members include William Perry, a professor at Stanford University; Charles Vest, the former president of MIT; W. Earl Boebert, a retired senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories; Cynthia Dwork of Microsoft Research; R. Gil Kerlikowske, Seattle's police chief; and Daryl Pregibon, a research scientist at Google.
They admit that far more Americans live their lives online, using everything from VoIP phones to Facebook to RFID tags in automobiles, than a decade ago, and the databases created by those activities are tempting targets for federal agencies. And they draw a distinction between subject-based data mining (starting with one individual and looking for connections) compared with pattern-based data mining (looking for anomalous activities that could show illegal activities).

But the authors conclude the type of data mining that government bureaucrats would like to do--perhaps inspired by watching too many episodes of the Fox series 24--can't work. "If it were possible to automatically find the digital tracks of terrorists and automatically monitor only the communications of terrorists, public policy choices in this domain would be much simpler. But it is not possible to do so."

A summary of the recommendations:

* U.S. government agencies should be required to follow a systematic process to evaluate the effectiveness, lawfulness, and consistency with U.S. values of every information-based program, whether classified or unclassified, for detecting and countering terrorists before it can be deployed, and periodically thereafter.
* Periodically after a program has been operationally deployed, and in particular before a program enters a new phase in its life cycle, policy makers should (carefully review) the program before allowing it to continue operations or to proceed to the next phase.

* To protect the privacy of innocent people, the research and development of any information-based counterterrorism program should be conducted with synthetic population data... At all stages of a phased deployment, data about individuals should be rigorously subjected to the full safeguards of the framework.

* Any information-based counterterrorism program of the U.S. government should be subjected to robust, independent oversight of the operations of that program, a part of which would entail a practice of using the same data mining technologies to "mine the miners and track the trackers."

* Counterterrorism programs should provide meaningful redress to any individuals inappropriately harmed by their operation.

* The U.S. government should periodically review the nation's laws, policies, and procedures that protect individuals' private information for relevance and effectiveness in light of changing technologies and circumstances. In particular, Congress should re-examine existing law to consider how privacy should be protected in the context of information-based programs (e.g., data mining) for counterterrorism.

By itself, of course, this is merely a report with non-binding recommendations that Congress and the executive branch could ignore. But NRC reports are not radical treatises written by an advocacy group; they tend to represent a working consensus of technologists and lawyers.

The great encryption debate of the 1990s was one example. The NRC's so-called CRISIS report on encryption in 1996 concluded export controls--that treated software like Web browsers and PGP as munitions--were a failure and should be relaxed. That eventually happened two years later.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10059987-38.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2008, 01:10:58 PM »

This is a perfect example of an editorial pretending to be a news article. The bias is obvious.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2008, 01:20:31 PM »

Short of datamining, give me a better way of detecting individual terrorists, cells within the US BEFORE they strike..
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2008, 07:33:04 AM »

I dunno, I haven't read the entire 352 page report so I can't state categorically that the shorter piece is accurate, but assuming it is, any embedded editorial lies in the long piece and not the synopsis.

As to your second point, I have no problem with the government narrowly collating information about suspected terrorists so long as they abide by the laws and principles that make this country worth living in in the first place. Unfortunately I suspect the ability to collect and collate data is growing far more quickly than is the case law that would help make sure it's applied in a constitutional matter. I don't think there is any reason to assume the federal government would handle vast amounts of personal data any better than it's handled the banking crisis, ethanol and other farm subsidies, second amendment interpretation, or any number of other items on an endless list.

Banging on peoples feet with a ballpeen hammer may be a really swell way of eliciting information, but I think doing so would turn us into what we are fighting. I expect some mullahs dream of a system that lets them track in minute detail a person's adherence to the one true faith; it scares me that we appear to be developing such a system as it has the potential of turning us into the thing we like least.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2008, 09:25:06 AM »

I dunno, I haven't read the entire 352 page report so I can't state categorically that the shorter piece is accurate, but assuming it is, any embedded editorial lies in the long piece and not the synopsis.

**Here is the first clue: "Datamining doesn't work well" Work well as compared to what? Here is your task, find the terrorists hidden amongst 300 million people in the US before they kill innocents your are sworn to protect.**

As to your second point, I have no problem with the government narrowly collating information about suspected terrorists so long as they abide by the laws and principles that make this country worth living in in the first place.

**What laws and principles are you alleging that have been violated? How many mass casualty attacks need to take place before you factor that into your quality of life estimates?**

Unfortunately I suspect the ability to collect and collate data is growing far more quickly than is the case law that would help make sure it's applied in a constitutional matter. I don't think there is any reason to assume the federal government would handle vast amounts of personal data any better than it's handled the banking crisis, ethanol and other farm subsidies, second amendment interpretation, or any number of other items on an endless list.

**Give me a better option.**

Banging on peoples feet with a ballpeen hammer may be a really swell way of eliciting information, but I think doing so would turn us into what we are fighting. I expect some mullahs dream of a system that lets them track in minute detail a person's adherence to the one true faith; it scares me that we appear to be developing such a system as it has the potential of turning us into the thing we like least.

**Why do the same emotional arguments that are scoffed at when applied to guns are then embraced wholeheartedly when applied to government? Information technology, like firearms are just tools. It's the user of the tool that brings the element of morality to the equation. A scalpel is just a tool, it can save lives in the hands of medical professionals or be used by killers and rapists to commit crimes. Bemoaning newer, sharper scalpels because the potential for misuse doesn't allow for a realistic examination of violent crime and potential solutions to the problem.**
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2008, 10:37:47 AM »

Geez, dude, chill.

Quote
I dunno, I haven't read the entire 352 page report so I can't state categorically that the shorter piece is accurate, but assuming it is, any embedded editorial lies in the long piece and not the synopsis.

**Here is the first clue: "Datamining doesn't work well" Work well as compared to what? Here is your task, find the terrorists hidden amongst 300 million people in the US before they kill innocents your are sworn to protect.**

Your original point was that the the original piece was an editorial. I replied that it appeared to be an accurate synopsis of a much longer report. Rather than responding to the distinction, you are demanding that I defend the 352 pages I've already stated I didn't read. If you think there are false statements in the synopsis or the report, by all means point them out; I'm certainly not claiming it's truth brought down from on high. But, before this piece, I've seen very little empirical study regarding the efficacy of data-mining, and hence when a comprehensive report is published I feel it's worth sharing.

Quote
As to your second point, I have no problem with the government narrowly collating information about suspected terrorists so long as they abide by the laws and principles that make this country worth living in in the first place.

**What laws and principles are you alleging that have been violated? How many mass casualty attacks need to take place before you factor that into your quality of life estimates?**

Dude, I merely posted an interesting piece. If you need a list of laws sundry governmental organizations have violated, get on google and have at it. "Ruby Ridge" might be a good initial search term. If our esteemed global moderator doesn't want pieces posted unless all tangents are also fully addressed he can say so. It appears your argument is that we must behave like autocrats lest lotsa people die. My response, to which you didn't speak, is that doing so makes us what we battle.

Quote
Unfortunately I suspect the ability to collect and collate data is growing far more quickly than is the case law that would help make sure it's applied in a constitutional matter. I don't think there is any reason to assume the federal government would handle vast amounts of personal data any better than it's handled the banking crisis, ethanol and other farm subsidies, second amendment interpretation, or any number of other items on an endless list.

**Give me a better option.**

I get a lot of grief from members of political parties because I refuse to claim an affiliation. "You can't effect change without belonging to a party within which you can work to achieve that change," seems to be the headset. Balderdash say I. There are principles that can be fought for without affiliation, and indeed I think both major parties have so prostituted themselves that there is value in sitting on the side and yelling at both to pay attention to the founding principles of this country.

Similarly, I'm not much swayed by arguments that say "provide a technique better than the ballpeen hammer or STFU." Even if the hammer is the only tool, I think there is value in making sure it is used as little as possible, stowed sooner rather than later, and that the principles that make us different from our enemy are kept in mind as any tool is wielded.

BTW, if dousing rods were the best means known for finding water, would you be arguing that we should all be walking around with forked sticks?

Quote
Banging on peoples feet with a ballpeen hammer may be a really swell way of eliciting information, but I think doing so would turn us into what we are fighting. I expect some mullahs dream of a system that lets them track in minute detail a person's adherence to the one true faith; it scares me that we appear to be developing such a system as it has the potential of turning us into the thing we like least.

**Why do the same emotional arguments that are scoffed at when applied to guns are then embraced wholeheartedly when applied to government? Information technology, like firearms are just tools. It's the user of the tool that brings the element of morality to the equation. A scalpel is just a tool, it can save lives in the hands of medical professionals or be used by killers and rapists to commit crimes. Bemoaning newer, sharper scalpels because the potential for misuse doesn't allow for a realistic examination of violent crime and potential solutions to the problem.**

Exactly. And here arrives an empiric examination of a new tool's utility, and we are supposed to dismiss it out of hand because it doesn't concur with your conclusions. If the tool works without rending asunder our founding principles, by all means use it. But not even being allowed to measure and discuss a tool's appropriate use because it offends your sensibilities is silly. Our government is predicated on principles of checks and balances. My guess is that data mining capabilities are progressing at a faster rate than the checks against misuse are. You don't have to be a flaming ACLU member to express the hope that our shiny new tools don't do more harm than good.
Logged
SB_Mig
Guest
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2008, 02:46:18 PM »

Quote
I think both major parties have so prostituted themselves that there is value in sitting on the side and yelling at both to pay attention to the founding principles of this country

Makes me happy to know I'm not the only one to think this way.
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2008, 03:38:16 PM »

This is a perfect example of an editorial pretending to be a news article. The bias is obvious.

GM isn't this sort of like calling the kettle black?

You quote editorials all the same that are pretending (and not very well) to be news articles.
And most of them are terribly biased.  This one seems to have some basis of fact and truth.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2008, 03:44:47 PM »

This is a perfect example of an editorial pretending to be a news article. The bias is obvious.

GM isn't this sort of like calling the kettle black?

You quote editorials all the same that are pretending (and not very well) to be news articles.
And most of them are terribly biased.  This one seems to have some basis of fact and truth.

I think my positions are very clear. I have positions and I advocate those and don't pretend to be impartial.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2008, 04:54:37 PM »

Geez, dude, chill.

Quote
I dunno, I haven't read the entire 352 page report so I can't state categorically that the shorter piece is accurate, but assuming it is, any embedded editorial lies in the long piece and not the synopsis.

**Here is the first clue: "Datamining doesn't work well" Work well as compared to what? Here is your task, find the terrorists hidden amongst 300 million people in the US before they kill innocents your are sworn to protect.**

Your original point was that the the original piece was an editorial. I replied that it appeared to be an accurate synopsis of a much longer report. Rather than responding to the distinction, you are demanding that I defend the 352 pages I've already stated I didn't read. If you think there are false statements in the synopsis or the report, by all means point them out; I'm certainly not claiming it's truth brought down from on high. But, before this piece, I've seen very little empirical study regarding the efficacy of data-mining, and hence when a comprehensive report is published I feel it's worth sharing.

****Again, efficacy as compared to what? Datamining isn't a silver bullet. There is no magical software that will give you a neat list of al qaeda operatives, but again it's something rather than just waiting to process massive crime scenes.*****

Quote
As to your second point, I have no problem with the government narrowly collating information about suspected terrorists so long as they abide by the laws and principles that make this country worth living in in the first place.

**What laws and principles are you alleging that have been violated? How many mass casualty attacks need to take place before you factor that into your quality of life estimates?**

Dude, I merely posted an interesting piece. If you need a list of laws sundry governmental organizations have violated, get on google and have at it. "Ruby Ridge" might be a good initial search term. If our esteemed global moderator doesn't want pieces posted unless all tangents are also fully addressed he can say so. It appears your argument is that we must behave like autocrats lest lotsa people die. My response, to which you didn't speak, is that doing so makes us what we battle.

****Really? Preventing terrorist attacks makes us just as bad as al qaeda? Ya think so?****

Quote
Unfortunately I suspect the ability to collect and collate data is growing far more quickly than is the case law that would help make sure it's applied in a constitutional matter. I don't think there is any reason to assume the federal government would handle vast amounts of personal data any better than it's handled the banking crisis, ethanol and other farm subsidies, second amendment interpretation, or any number of other items on an endless list.

**Give me a better option.**

I get a lot of grief from members of political parties because I refuse to claim an affiliation. "You can't effect change without belonging to a party within which you can work to achieve that change," seems to be the headset. Balderdash say I. There are principles that can be fought for without affiliation, and indeed I think both major parties have so prostituted themselves that there is value in sitting on the side and yelling at both to pay attention to the founding principles of this country.

Similarly, I'm not much swayed by arguments that say "provide a technique better than the ballpeen hammer or STFU." Even if the hammer is the only tool, I think there is value in making sure it is used as little as possible, stowed sooner rather than later, and that the principles that make us different from our enemy are kept in mind as any tool is wielded.

BTW, if dousing rods were the best means known for finding water, would you be arguing that we should all be walking around with forked sticks?

****Rather than dying of thirst, sure.****

Quote
Banging on peoples feet with a ballpeen hammer may be a really swell way of eliciting information, but I think doing so would turn us into what we are fighting. I expect some mullahs dream of a system that lets them track in minute detail a person's adherence to the one true faith; it scares me that we appear to be developing such a system as it has the potential of turning us into the thing we like least.

**Why do the same emotional arguments that are scoffed at when applied to guns are then embraced wholeheartedly when applied to government? Information technology, like firearms are just tools. It's the user of the tool that brings the element of morality to the equation. A scalpel is just a tool, it can save lives in the hands of medical professionals or be used by killers and rapists to commit crimes. Bemoaning newer, sharper scalpels because the potential for misuse doesn't allow for a realistic examination of violent crime and potential solutions to the problem.**

Exactly. And here arrives an empiric examination of a new tool's utility, and we are supposed to dismiss it out of hand because it doesn't concur with your conclusions. If the tool works without rending asunder our founding principles, by all means use it. But not even being allowed to measure and discuss a tool's appropriate use because it offends your sensibilities is silly. Our government is predicated on principles of checks and balances. My guess is that data mining capabilities are progressing at a faster rate than the checks against misuse are. You don't have to be a flaming ACLU member to express the hope that our shiny new tools don't do more harm than good.

****Datamining is nothing more than sorting through data, most of which was voluntarily submitted to private entities, looking for patterns that might be investigative leads. Unless you have very interesting associations with people doing bad things, Experian, Transunion and Equifax know much more about you than any local, state or federal entity does. It's marketers, not law enforcement that tracks your purchases, likes and dislikes. I subscribe to gun magazines, bingo I get junk mail from gun related business. I subscribed to the Atlantic and got marketing from the ACLU. Does that make me some sort of oppressed victim because my information was sold?

Law enforcement can do as little or as much as the public wants. Want policing to be purely reactive, fine. The next time there is a giant smoking hole in the midst of an American city, just take comfort knowing that no governmental entity looked through anyone's marketing data.****
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2008, 05:13:17 PM »

http://www.rgrossman.com/dm.htm

Data Mining FAQ

Question: What is data mining?

Data mining is the semi-automatic extraction of patterns, changes, associations, anomalies, and other statistically significant structures from large data sets.

Question: Why is data mining important?

There is more and more digital data being collected, processed, managed and archived every day. Algorithms, software tools, and systems to mine it are critical to a wide variety of problems in business, science, national defense, engineering, and health care.

Question: What are some commerical success stories in data mining?

Data mining has been applied successfully in a number of different fields, including: a) for detecting credit card fraud by HNC, which was recently acquired by FICO; b) in credit card acquisition and risk management by American Express; and c) for product recommendations by Amazon.

Question: What are the historical roots of data mining?

From a business perspective, data mining's roots are in direct marketing and financial services which have used statistical modeling for at least the past two decades. From a technical perspective, data mining is beginning to emerge as a separate discipline with roots in a) statistics, b) machine learning, c) databases, and d) high performance computing.

Q. What are some of the different techniques used in data mining?

There are several different types of data mining, including:

Predictive models. These types of models predict how likely an event is. Usually, the higher a score, the more likely the event is. For example, how likely a credit card transaction is to be fraudulent, or how likely an airline passenger is to be a terrorist, or how likely a company is to go bankrupt.
Summary models. These models summarize data. For example, a cluster model can be used to divide credit card transactions or airline passengers into different groups depending upon their characteristics.
Network models. These types of models uncover certain structures in data represented by nodes and links. For example, a credit card fraud ring may surreptitiously collect credit card numbers at a pawn shop and then use them for online computer purchases. Here the nodes are consumers and merchants and the links are credit card transactions. Similarly a network model for a terrorist cell might use nodes representing individuals and links representing meetings.
Association models. Sometimes certain events occur frequently together. For example, purchases of certain items, such as beer and pretzels, or a sequence of events associated with component failure. Association models are used to find and characterize these co-occurrences.
Q. What are the major steps in data mining?

Data cleaning. The first and most challenging step is to clean and to prepare the data for data mining and statistical modeling. This is usually the most challenging step.
Data mart. The next step is to create a data mart containing the cleaned and prepared data.
Derived attributes. It is rare for a model to built using only the attributes present in the cleaned data; rather, additional attributes called derived attributes are usually defined. As a single example, a stock on the S&P 500 has a price and an earnings associated with it, but the ratio of the price divided by the earnings is more important for many applications than either single attribute considered by itself. The construction of the derived and data attributes from the raw data is sometimes called shaping the data. Standards, such as the Data Extraction and Transformation Markup Language (DXML), are beginning to emerge for defining the common data shaping operations needed in data mining.
Modeling. Once the data is prepared and data mart is created, one or more statistical or data mining models are built. Today, statistical and data mining models can be described in an application and platform independent XML interchange format called the Predictive Model Markup Language or PMML.
Post-processing. It is common to normalize the outputs of data mining models and to apply business rules to the inputs and the outputs of the models. This is to ensure that the scores and other outputs of the models are consistent with the over all business processes the models are supporting.
Deployment. Once a statistical or data mining model has been produced by the steps above, the next phase begins of deploying the model in operational systems. Deployment usually consists of three different activities. First, data is scored using the statistical or data mining model produced on a periodic basis, either daily, weekly or monthly, or perhaps on a real time, or event driven basis. Second, these scores are deployed into operational systems and also used as the basis for various reports. Third, on a periodic basis, say monthly, a new model is built and compared to the existing model. If required, the old model is replaced by the new model.
Q. What are the differences between predictive models, business rules, and score cards?

Predictive models use historical data to predict future events, for example the likelihood that a credit card transaction is fraudulent or that an airline passenger is likely to commit a terrorist act. Business rules ensure that business processes follow agreed upon procedures. For example, business procedures may dictate that a predictive model can use only the first three digits of a zip code not all five digits. Score cards check certain conditions, and for example, and if these conditions are met, points are added to an overall score. For example, a score card for a credit card fraud model, might add 28 points if a $1 transaction occurs at a gas station. The higher the score, the more likely the credit card transaction is fraudulent. The best practice is to use both rules and scores. Rules ensure that business processes are being followed and predictive models ensure that historical data is being used most effectively.

Score cards are typically used for very basic systems which use just a few simple rules or for historical reasons. For example, the credit scoring reason has used score cards for many years - these score cards though use statistical models to determine the conditions and corresponding scores.

Q. What determines the accuracy of predictive models?

The accuracy of a predictive model is influenced most strongly by the quality of the data and the freshness of the model. Without good data, it is simply wishful thinking to expect a good model. Without updating the model frequently, the model's performance will decay over time.

Accuracy is measured in two basic ways. Models have false positive rates and false negative rates. For example, consider a model predicting credit card fraud. A false positive means that the model predicted fraud when no fraud was present. A false negative means that the model predicted that the transaction was ok when in fact it was fraudulent. In practice, false positive and false negative rates can be relatively high. The role of a good model is to improve a business process by a significant degree not to make flawless predictions. Only journalists and pundits make flawless predictions.

Best practice uses separate, specialized software applications for building models (the model producer) and for scoring models (the model consumer). The Predictive Model Markup Language or PMML is the industry standard for describing a model in XML so that it can be moved easily between a model producer and a model consumer. Good accuracy require fresh models on fresh data, which means updating the model consumer as frequently as the data demands.

Q. What are the major types of predictive models?

Although there are quite a large number of different types of predictive models, the majority of applications use one of the following types of models.

Linear models. For many years, especially before the advent of personal computers, these were the most common types of models due to their simplicity. They divide data into two different cells using a line in two dimensions and a plane in higher dimensions. Quadratic models are similar but use a curve instead of a line to divide the data.
Logistic models. Logistic models are used when the predicted variable is zero or one, for example predicting that a credit card transaction is fraudulent or not. Logistic models assume that one of the internal components of the model is linear. Computing the weights that characterize a logistic model is difficult by hand, but simple with a computer.
Neural Networks. Neural networks are a type of nonlinear model broadly motivated ("inspired by" is the phrase Hollywood uses) by neurons in brains.
Trees. Trees are a type of nonlinear model which uses a series of lines or planes to divide the data into different cells. Trees consist of a sequence of if...then.. rules. Because of this, it is easier to interpret trees than other types of nonlinear models such as neural networks.
Hybrid Models. It is common to combine one or more of the four models above to produce a more powerful model.
Q. What is the difference between a linear and nonlinear model?

Models can be thought of as a function, which takes inputs, performs a computation, and produces an output. The output is often a score, say from 1 to 1000, or a label, such such as high, medium, or low. A very simple type of model, called a linear model, uses the n input features to split the space of features into two parts. This is done using an (n-1)-dimensional plane. For example, 2 features can be separated with a line, 3 features with a plane, etc. Most data is not so simple. Any model which is not linear is called a nonlinear model. Logistic models, tree based models and neural networks are common examples of nonlinear models.

Q. What are the some of the differences between the various types of predictive models?

First, there is no one best model. Different data requires different types of models. The accuracy of a model depends more on the quality of the data, how well it is prepared, and how fresh the model is than on the type of model used. On the other hand, there are some important differences between different types of models. Nonlinear models are generally more accurate than linear models. Linear models were more common in the past because they were easier to compute. Today this is no longer relevant given the proliferation of computers and good quality statistical and data mining software. Neural networks were very popular in the 80's and early 90's because they were quite successful for several different types of applications and because they had a cool name. Today, they are being replaced by tree-based methods, which are generally considered easier to build, easier to interpret, and more scalable.

Q. I hear the phrase "empirically derived and statistically valid" applied to models. What does that mean?

Decisions based upon models derived from data are usually expected to be empirically derived and statistically sound. That is, first, they must be derived from the data itself, and not the biases of the person building the model. Second, they must be based upon generally acceptable statistical procedures. For example, the arbitrary exclusion of data can result in models that are biased in some fashion.

Q. What are some of the major components in a data mining system?

Assume that the function of the data mining system is to assign scores to various profiles. For example, profiles may be maintained about companies and the scores used to indicate the likelihood that the company will go bankrupt. Alternatively, the profiles may be maintained for customer accounts and the scores indiciate the likelihood that the account is being used fradulently. A typical data mining system processes raw transactional data, consisting of what are called events, to produce the profiles. To continue the examples above, the events may consist of survey data about the companies, or purchases by the customer.

First, a data mart is used to store the event and profile data which is used to build the predictive models. For large data sets, the data mart must be designed for efficient statistics on columns rather than simple counting and summaries like a conventional data warehouse, or safe updating of rows, like a conventional database.

Second, a data mining system takes data from the data mart and applies statistical or data mining algorithms to produce a model. More precisely, the data mining system takes a learning set of profiles and produces a statistical model.

Third, an operational data store or operational database is used to store profiles. A profile is a statistical summary of the entity being model and typically contains dozens to hundreds of features. A relational database is generally used for the operational data store.

Fourth, the scoring software takes a model produced by the data mining system, and a profile from the operational data store and produce one or more scores. These scores can either be used to produce reports or deployed into operation systems.

Fifth, the reports generated are generally made available through a reporting system.

For smaller applications, a database can be used for the data mart and operational data store, and the reports can be produced in HTML and made available through a web server.

Q. Who is the author of this FAQ?

This FAQ is maintained by Robert L. Grossman.

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2008, 05:43:50 PM »

http://www.fbi.gov/publications/leb/2003/june2003/june03leb.htm

The New ViCAP
More User-Friendly and
Used by More Agencies
By ERIC W. WITZIG, M.S.

 



     Where should officers go to obtain information about unsolved violent crime cases? Where do they direct their inquiries? Who do they ask? Officers in small departments might ask their colleagues during morning roll call. Those in mid-sized agencies might question investigators working other shifts. Personnel in large departments might ask officers in the next jurisdiction by sending a teletype or similar communication.

     Yet, the communication might not reach the employees who have the necessary information. Generally, personnel who need information about violent crime cases do not connect with the investigators who have that knowledge. Information technology (IT) has enhanced communication for law enforcement, allowing departments to close violent crime cases with the arrest of an offender.



Mr. Witzig, a former detective in the Homicide Branch of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department and agent of the chief medical examiner for Washington, D.C., is a major case specialist with the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program.

 

ORIGIN OF VICAP

     The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP)1 originated from an idea by local law enforcement and the late Pierce Brooks.2 In 1956, Mr. Brooks investigated the murders of two Los Angeles women who had replied to an advertisement for photographic models. Their bodies, tied with rope in such a fashion as to suggest that the killer might practice bondage, subsequently were found in the desert.

     Mr. Brooks, convinced that these were not the killer’s first murders and that the offender would kill again, devised an early form of ViCAP. For 18 months, he used his off-duty time to visit the Los Angeles central library and read out-of-town newspapers to look for information on murders that exhibited characteristics similar to those he was investigating. He found such an article in a newspaper and, using pieces from that case coupled with evidence from his own cases, arrested an individual who subsequently was tried, convicted, and executed for the murders.

     Mr. Brooks refined his idea and concluded that a computer could capture relevant information about murders. If open and closed cases were stored in the computer, investigators easily could query the database for similar ones when they first confront new, “mystery” cases. They could use clues from other cases that exhibit similar characteristics to solve more cases. Moreover, when officers identify offenders, a search of the computer using their modus operandi (MO) would reveal other open cases for which they might be responsible.3 In 1983, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Institute of Justice gave a planning grant, the “National Missing/Abducted Children and Serial Murder Tracking and Prevention Program,” to Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. After three workshops, with the last held in November 1983, the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) emerged. The U.S. Department of Justice provided the initial funding for the NCAVC and stipulated that it would be “...under the direction and control of the FBI training center at Quantico, Virginia.”4 ViCAP became a part of the NCAVC with its goal to “...collect, collate, and analyze all aspects of the investigation of similar-pattern, multiple murders, on a nationwide basis, regardless of the location or number of police agencies involved.”5 Mr. Brooks envisioned ViCAP as a “nationwide clearing-house...to provide all law enforcement agencies reporting similar-pattern violent crimes with the information necessary to initiate a coordinated multiagency investigation.”6 ViCAP attempts to identify similar characteristics that may exist in a series of unsolved murders and provide all police agencies reporting similar patterns with information necessary to initiate a coordinated multiagency investigation.7

REDESIGN OF VICAP

     Since ViCAP’s beginning at the FBI Academy in July 1985, its goal of identifying cases exhibiting similar characteristics and providing that information to law enforcement agencies for a coordinated, case-closing investigation has remained constant. But, a tremendous change has occurred in the way ViCAP now provides services to state and local law enforcement. In 1996, a business analysis revealed several details about ViCAP.8

 Only 3 to 7 percent of the total cases were reported each year. Of the 21,000 homicides (average) reported per year in the 1990s,9 only about 1,500 to 1,800 were submitted to the nationwide database.
An urban void existed. While most murders occurred in large cities, the cities were not contributing their homicides to the nationwide database.
ViCAP users reported that the 189-question ViCAP form was cumbersome and difficult.
Users perceived that ViCAP case submissions entered a bureaucratic “black hole” never to emerge or be seen again.
Chronic understaffing caused a failure to address incoming case work on a timely basis.


The beginning of the ViCAP change originated with the 1994 crime bill. Legislation in this bill directed the attorney general to “...develop and implement, on a pilot basis with no more than 10 participating cities, an intelligent information system that gathers, integrates, organizes, and analyzes information in active support of investigations by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies of violent serial crimes.”10 From the business analysis, ViCAP learned that the program had to be placed in the hands of state and local law enforcement. This concept of program delivery required two conditions of ViCAP software: 1) migration of the application from a mainframe computing environment to a platform more affordable by state and local law enforcement and 2) a choice of software that eliminated the need for a computer programmer to extract information from a database. To accomplish these objectives, ViCAP had to create a powerful, object-oriented, user-friendly, software seamlessly integrating data, mapping, reporting, and image-capturing tools. This high-end software would have to operate on a modestly priced desktop computer. Crime bill monies provided the initial funding to create completely new software for ViCAP and to move it as an application from a mainframe to a client-server environment.
     ViCAP decided that users of the new ViCAP software would receive the service free of charge. Moreover, ViCAP loaned high-end computers loaded with the new software to more than 50 law enforcement entities. These computers had a modem that enabled users to exchange information with each other and forward case information to state hubs where it was downloaded to the national database. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) formalized the conveyance of new ViCAP software, the loan of a desktop computer to participating agencies, and these agencies’ relationship with ViCAP.

     Additionally, the 189-question ViCAP form was completely redesigned, streamlined to only 95 questions, and became more appealing to the eye. The paper form both looked and became more user-friendly.

     In 1998, Congress provided additional funding for ViCAP crime analysts. Today, 19 well-trained and experienced crime analysts serve with ViCAP, and they address incoming work and requests on a more timely basis. They handle high-profile or immediate case requests rapidly, frequently within the same hour or day. In a symbolic, but important, perceptual break with the old ways of doing business, ViCAP reflected its new software and energy with a new name—the New ViCAP.

Case Example: Victim by the Lake

     In 1996, a suspect in a drug case in a northeastern state made an offer to the authorities—in exchange for leniency in his prosecution or at the time of his sentencing, he would give information linking his brother to a murder. He advised that a white male in a southeastern state died from repeated strikes with a blunt object. The investigators questioned the suspect about where the crime occurred, and the suspect advised that he did not know the exact location, but that he thought it happened near a body of water. Further, the suspect advised that his brother ran over the victim with an automobile.

     Investigators from the northeastern state contacted ViCAP and related the details of the case as told to them by the suspect. A crime analyst searched the ViCAP database and found a case from 1986 in a southeastern state that matched the details offered by the suspect in the drug case. The victim’s cause of death was blunt force trauma, and he was run over by an automobile. Further, the murder occurred near a small lake. Authorities in the northeast with the information contacted investigators in the southeast with the open homicide case. The southeastern case successfully was closed with the identification and arrest of the offender.11

Case Example: Texas Railroads

     In 1999, a series of homicides occurred in Texas. Early in the series, the cases were presented as murders in the victims’ homes. Female victims were sexually assaulted, blunt force trauma was the cause of death,12 and items of value were stolen from the homes.13 The murder scenes were close to railroad tracks, sometimes only a few feet away.

     In May 1999, personnel from the command post in Texas called ViCAP with information about three of the murders. One of the ViCAP crime analysts remembered a case from Kentucky where railroad tracks were prominently mentioned. The analyst searched the database and quickly found the case in Kentucky where a male was killed along a pair of railroad tracks. The cause of death was blunt force trauma.14 His female companion was sexually assaulted and left for dead. ViCAP relayed information concerning the Kentucky rape/homicide to the command post in Texas. Subsequent DNA examinations linked the Texas cases with the Kentucky case.

     An itinerant freight train rider was identified as the suspect in the series of cases.15 He was apprehended by authorities on July 13, 1999, when he surrendered at the border in El Paso, Texas. Charged with nine murders, two in Illinois, one in Kentucky, and six in Texas,16 the subject was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

     In July 2000, he confessed to the 1997 murders of two teenagers on a railroad track near Oxford, Florida.17 The male victim’s body was found on March 23, 1997; the female victim’s body was not found until July 2000, when authorities, following the killer’s directions, found her skeletal remains wrapped in a blanket and jacket.18 While confessing to the two murders in Florida, the subject said that he once killed a woman in a southeastern state, somewhere along railroad tracks. She was an old woman, hanging her wash on the line, and he killed her inside her house. He did not provide more details.

     A check of the ViCAP database revealed a 1998 case from a southeastern state where an elderly woman was hanging laundry in her backyard just a few feet from a pair of railroad tracks that ran by her property. The command post in Texas and the investigator in the southeastern state were notified of the case match. When interviewed by the investigator, the subject confessed in detail and drew a diagram of the inside of the victim’s house. In this case, no fingerprint or DNA evidence matched the defendant to the murder.

 

THE NEW VICAP

     Some agencies run the New ViCAP system in their own departments, others prefer to run the software on a stand-alone desktop, and several put the software on their internal networks. Agency networks support as few as three users, through the entire investigative staff, and up to five different boroughs and the precincts therein. New ViCAP software operating in participating agencies allows direct access to all of the information that they enter and the ability to perform their own crime analysis.

     Cold case squads can store their cases without resorting to wall-filling filing cabinets. With just a piece of information, a nickname, an address, or the name of a bar or other business, investigators can retrieve decade-old cases for additional investigation. Conversely, cold case squads looking for cases exhibiting an MO used by a suspect, or a series of cases matching a particular MO, can make those searches as well.

     Research has shown that administrators like the reports package in New ViCAP. Standard reports include—

cases by day of the week, month, or district;
case status (open or closed);
causative factors;
offender age or ethnicity;
victim age or ethnicity;
victim-offender relationship; and
all weapons used or firearms used by caliber or type.
     Perhaps most useful to administrators and investigators is the one-page New ViCAP summary report, which collects the main facts from a violent crime and prints them to the screen or, typically, two sheets of paper. The summary report proves an excellent briefing tool for administrators, managers, or elected officials.

     Some investigators and prosecutors like to have all of the information about a case in one place, but the concept of electronic storage of case information proves unsettling to some people. To overcome this problem, New ViCAP provided a hard copy. This multi-page report prints on screen or on paper and includes all of the information entered into the database. The printed document can be placed in the case folder or jacket and preserved indefinitely.

     New ViCAP understands that unique cases require distinctive database queries. To provide for discrete, particular questions of the database, the program has a powerful ad hoc query tool, whereby any combination of New ViCAP variables and attributes can be strung together to produce a set of possibly related cases. Refinement of the ad hoc query produces more, or fewer, cases delivered to the crime analyst through the possibilities set. When the listing of cases is returned, the crime analyst can contrast and compare them in a matrix of variables specified by the analyst. Particularly valuable case matrixes can be titled and printed for more formal presentations, such as

multiagency case meetings. The ad hoc query and resulting matrix analysis prove a very powerful combination of tools for any analyst examining violent crime.

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2008, 05:44:49 PM »

Sexual Assault Data Collection

     Many New ViCAP users have reported that the homicide-oriented version was a helpful crime analysis tool. But, what the users really needed was a crime analysis tool for sexual assaults. ViCAP currently is working on that product by determining data elements for the paper form and the electronic version and designing the paper form for sexual assault data collection to mirror the existing homicide-oriented form. ViCAP is developing the electronic portion of the system in a Web-enabled fashion. This will permit users to exchange information more easily and potentially will provide limited access to the nationwide database.

More Developments

     A recent development in New ViCAP is the ability to store one or more images and associate them with a particular case. The images can be photographs scanned into the system or maps or other graphics imported into the system. This tool has important implications for training new investigators, refreshing case-specific recollections of experienced investigators, or exchanging precise information to identify unknown victims.

     An envisioned tool, not yet a part of the software, is a mapping capability. New ViCAP already captures graphic information system (GIS) data. This information could be used for traditional pin maps. Alternatively, investigators could use GIS data to store and search offender time lines like those prepared for suspected or known serial killers. Once offender time lines are stored, GIS data for each newly entered case could be automatically compared with the time lines. For example, an automated hit system could report to the analyst that plus or minus 3 days, a killer was in the town where the murder occurred.19

A Communication Tool

     Police agencies across the country recognize New ViCAP as a valuable violent crime communication tool. The first pair of cities to use New ViCAP were Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. Now, police and sheriff departments in the largest metropolitan areas are using New ViCAP, including Baltimore, Maryland; Chi-cago, Illinois; Los Angeles, Califor-nia; Miami, Florida; New York, New York; and Washington, D.C. Further, MOUs and the New ViCAP system are in place with 40 states. More than 400 state and local law enforcement entities use the New ViCAP software.

     The architecture of the New ViCAP network is as varied as the needs of its users. For some states, such as Colorado, a “hub and spoke” design works well. MOUs are created between the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and cities and counties in the state. Cases can be entered at the local level and uploaded to the state. In addition to its networking arrangements, CBI selected New ViCAP as the statewide tool for sex offender registry.

     Other states have implemented a regional model. For example, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Los Angeles Police Departments provide an excellent example of regional concept application. The sheriff’s department serves as the collection point and analysis hub for cases in the county. MOUs are in place between the sheriff’s department and 45 of the 46 police agencies in the county, thus providing a web of case-sharing information for participating law enforcement entities, including the two largest, the police and sheriff’s departments.

Case Example: Bag of Bones

     In 2001, a ViCAP crime analyst reviewed a state police publication that mentioned a bag of human bones found by hunters in a seaboard forest of an eastern state. The victim was a white male, about 40 to 60 years old, and between 5' 7" and 5' 9" in height. His cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Recovered with the remains was a 14-carat gold ring with engraved letters. Authorities had no leads for identification of the remains.

     A ViCAP crime analyst searched the database using the physical description of the victim and then made an additional search, thinking that the letters engraved in the ring might be the initials of a name. A possible match was made with a July 1998 case where three people were reported missing from a midwestern state. The report was made by a fourth member of the family, a son, who waited a week before reporting his mother, father, and sibling as missing persons. Personnel had exhausted all investigative leads.

     Authorities in the eastern and midwestern states contacted each other. In January 2001, ViCAP learned that forensic odontology had identified the bones in the bag as those of the father missing from the midwestern state. The letters in the recovered ring represented the maiden name of the missing mother and the name of the missing father.

     ViCAP learned later that a suspect was identified and charged with the murder—the oldest son who made the report in the midwest. The remains of his mother and his sibling have not been located.

 

Data Security

     New ViCAP created a standard of information for exchange between law enforcement agencies. Naturally, a law enforcement entity would express concern for violent crime data sent to a national database with information no longer under an agency’s direct control. ViCAP recognizes its responsibility to provide security for violent crime case data and has provided that security for more than 16 years. New ViCAP continues to recognize the sensitive nature of violent crime data and provides appropriate security.



CONCLUSION

     The FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program Unit has helped local and state law enforcement agencies solve violent crimes for almost 20 years. As technology has improved, ViCAP has ensured that its objectives change to support such advancements. New ViCAP represents an instructional and technological violent crime analysis tool suitable for use in a law enforcement agency of any size. It provides a standard method for the communication of violent crime information between and among agencies.

     New ViCAP software is free to agencies that formalize their relationship with a state hub or ViCAP. The software is case-management and case-matching capable with an easy-to-use data retrieval scheme and a package of reports that serves the needs of administrators and commanders. Initially designed for homicide-oriented violent crime, New ViCAP soon will provide an information technology system to capture and analyze sex offenses as well. Forty years after Mr. Brooks’ idea of putting all homicides into a computer, law enforcement is on the cusp of making his thinking a practical reality.

Endnotes

     1 ViCAP has been distinguished by several acronyms since its inception. To ensure consistency in this article, the author used the current acronym for the program.

     2 Mr. Brooks was a former commander of the Los Angeles, California, Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division. See, Bob Keefer, “Distinguished Homicide Detective Dies at 75,” The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, March 1, 1998, p. 1, in which he wrote that Mr. Brooks investigated the murder of a Los Angeles officer in an onion field outside of Bakersfield, California. Joseph Wambaugh wrote the book The Onion Field based on this crime. Subsequently, Mr. Brooks served as a technical consultant to Jack Webb and the television show “Dragnet,” as well as “Dragnet 1969,” the made-for-television production of the case outlined here.

     3 Author interviews with Pierce R. Brooks, Quantico, Virginia, 1985 and Vida, Oregon, April 1992.

     4 Steven A. Egger, Serial Murder—An Elusive Phenomenon (New York, NY: Prager Publishers, 1990), 192-193.

5 Ibid.

     6 Pierce Brooks, “The Investigative Consultant Team: A New Approach for Law Enforcement Cooperation,” (Washington, DC: Police Executive Research Forum, 1981), unpublished report, in Steven A. Egger, Serial Murder—An Elusive Phenomenon (New York, NY: Prager Publishers, 1990), 193.

7 Supra note 4, 193.

8 Arthur Meister, ViCAP lectures at Quantico, Virginia, 1999-2000.

     9 U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991-2000), 8, 13, 14, or 15. In 1991, a high of 24,526 homicides were reported, contrasted with a low of 15,533 reported in 1999.

10  U.S. Congress, Senate, Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1993, H.R. 3355 Amendment, 103rd Cong., 1st sess., 1993, 267-268.

     11Arthur Meister, ViCAP lectures at Quantico, VA, 1999-2000.

     12 David McLemore, “Aliases, Trainhopping Obscure Suspect’s Trail,” Dallas Morning News, June 17, 1999, sec. A., p. 16.

     13 Pauline Arrillaga, “Town Copes After Slayings by Suspected Rail Rider,” Dallas Morning News, June 11, 1999, sec. A., p. 29.

14  Supra note 12, sec. A., p. 17.

15  Michael Pearson, “Railroad Killer,” Associated Press, June 22, 1999.

16  Mark Babineck, “Railroad Killer,” Associated Press, 2000.

     17 “Railroad Killer,” Associated Press, July 2000.

18  Ibid.

     19 This represents an arbitrary number; analysts could select any number of days.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2008, 05:46:06 PM »

So, is ViCAP ok, or do we get rid of this too?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2008, 10:39:31 PM »

GM:

As usual you make good points, but for me you seem to have a blind spot for what it is that concerns, BBG, JDN, and me.  Please allow me to take another try at communicating one aspect of it (of course I do not speak for BBG or JDN, but I suspect there is overlap with their positions and mine):

Yes the private sector data mines, but the private sector does not have the ability to get violent with or oppress me.  The State does.  For example, Amazon knows a lot about my reading habits, but I would much rather that the government not keep track of what I read.  This is not because I am a nefarious individual, it is because the State might decide to harass me (e.g. an IRS investigation not because of anything I've done or not done, but in order to drag me down).  We have already seen the Hilbillary Clintons do this IMHO.  I would rather that the coming minions of His Glibness not be keeping track of me and my thoughts.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2008, 09:07:57 AM »

Going through all the above point by point is gonna get in the way of painting the house today, and though the wife doesn't do data dumps, she does have methods of expressing her displeasure that are more immediate, so excuse me for not wading through all the above.

A couple points, however. The synopsis and original piece point out problems with data mining that remain undiscussed. We do get to point out problems with law enforcement techniques and discuss them, right? Examination of issues and intelligent discussion thereof is more likely to lead to a resolution than blind adherence to the party line, so pardon me if I don't stand mute lest I be blamed for the next smoking hole.

Speaking of which, the smoking hole or unfettered access damn the constitutional issues dichotomy strikes me as a false one. I've little doubt that there is an intersection at which security imperatives and founding principles can both be serviced. Citing one extreme to excuse the other does a great job of representing the margins, but does little to find the ground where the hole is avoided and the Constitution isn't shredded.

Finally, as I've pointed out several times, the powers we're discussing are ones mullahs can only dream about. You can't imagine these capabilities being misused? You can't imagine someone with autocratic leanings winning an election, defining people who own guns and discuss politics on a militant martial arts web site to be security threats, and using the power of collection and collation to build a case against those who, quite coincidently, of course, don't agree with his politics? The potential for misuse here is enormous, and there have been enough utterly unprincipled politicians in Washington over the years to make examination of the implications of this growing ability prudent.

Off to the roller. Anyone want to learn how to paint cedar siding?
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2008, 09:23:32 AM »

GM:

As usual you make good points, but for me you seem to have a blind spot for what it is that concerns, BBG, JDN, and me.  Please allow me to take another try at communicating one aspect of it (of course I do not speak for BBG or JDN, but I suspect there is overlap with their positions and mine):

Yes the private sector data mines, but the private sector does not have the ability to get violent with or oppress me.  The State does.  For example, Amazon knows a lot about my reading habits, but I would much rather that the government not keep track of what I read. 

**Why would the gov't keep track of what you read?**

This is not because I am a nefarious individual, it is because the State might decide to harass me (e.g. an IRS investigation not because of anything I've done or not done, but in order to drag me down).  We have already seen the Hilbillary Clintons do this IMHO.  I would rather that the coming minions of His Glibness not be keeping track of me and my thoughts.

**Even if we are unfortunate enough to have his glibness become president, I doubt very much you or I will end up on the wrong end of an audit due to our opinions. If you are really concerned about it, i'd suggest that you go "off the grid" as much as possible. Not something i'd recommend, but if you really are that concerned.....**
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2008, 09:45:29 AM »

Going through all the above point by point is gonna get in the way of painting the house today, and though the wife doesn't do data dumps, she does have methods of expressing her displeasure that are more immediate, so excuse me for not wading through all the above.

A couple points, however. The synopsis and original piece point out problems with data mining that remain undiscussed. We do get to point out problems with law enforcement techniques and discuss them, right? Examination of issues and intelligent discussion thereof is more likely to lead to a resolution than blind adherence to the party line, so pardon me if I don't stand mute lest I be blamed for the next smoking hole.

**An informed discussion would be nice, however what usually happens is that any use of technology for law enforcement purposes means we are but minutes away from a dystopian police state.**

Speaking of which, the smoking hole or unfettered access damn the constitutional issues dichotomy strikes me as a false one. I've little doubt that there is an intersection at which security imperatives and founding principles can both be serviced. Citing one extreme to excuse the other does a great job of representing the margins, but does little to find the ground where the hole is avoided and the Constitution isn't shredded.

**How exactly does datamining shred the constitution?**

Finally, as I've pointed out several times, the powers we're discussing are ones mullahs can only dream about. You can't imagine these capabilities being misused?

**Anything can be misused. There have been bad police shootings, and there will be more in the future. Is the answer to then disarm the police? Iatrogenic disease is a concern, but the answer isn't banning medical science, right?**

You can't imagine someone with autocratic leanings winning an election, defining people who own guns and discuss politics on a militant martial arts web site to be security threats, and using the power of collection and collation to build a case against those who, quite coincidently, of course, don't agree with his politics?

**What laws are violated? Who brings this before what court? What jury would find that a crime was committed?**

The potential for misuse here is enormous, and there have been enough utterly unprincipled politicians in Washington over the years to make examination of the implications of this growing ability prudent.

**That's why we have lots of checks and balances in our system of government.**

Off to the roller. Anyone want to learn how to paint cedar siding?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2008, 06:30:33 PM »

"If you are really concerned about it, i'd suggest that you go "off the grid" as much as possible."

Mmmm, , , No thank you.  I am American and I don't shut up for fear of the government.  I simply would rather not to have to have courage to speak out or read about odd things.  Nor should people who wish to get involved a lot more than me have to worry about a State capable of playing a level of the politics of personal destruction for beyond anything we've seen.

PS:  I would like to offer for your consideration that overal I think Buz and I have a pretty good track record around here of lucid reasoning, so I am left wondering at the relevance of general references to wooly headed liberal thinking.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2008, 07:33:03 PM »

Quote
A couple points, however. The synopsis and original piece point out problems with data mining that remain undiscussed. We do get to point out problems with law enforcement techniques and discuss them, right? Examination of issues and intelligent discussion thereof is more likely to lead to a resolution than blind adherence to the party line, so pardon me if I don't stand mute lest I be blamed for the next smoking hole.

**An informed discussion would be nice, however what usually happens is that any use of technology for law enforcement purposes means we are but minutes away from a dystopian police state.**

I suppose. It also appears you can’t post empiric data about the problems associated with data mining without being minutes away from other sorts of circular discussions, too.

Quote
Speaking of which, the smoking hole or unfettered access damn the constitutional issues dichotomy strikes me as a false one. I've little doubt that there is an intersection at which security imperatives and founding principles can both be serviced. Citing one extreme to excuse the other does a great job of representing the margins, but does little to find the ground where the hole is avoided and the Constitution isn't shredded.

**How exactly does datamining shred the constitution?**

I expect any shredding that is currently being done is pretty well concealed, and hence can’t speak to it. I do recall the hubbub when Judge Bork’s video rental records were obtained by the press. As someone who’s had his internet postings come back to bite him on other fronts, I am concerned about misuse of mined information. If you’re unable to see how, say, protections against illegal search and seizure may be subverted by data mining, I’m not sure anything I say can drive the point home.

Quote
Finally, as I've pointed out several times, the powers we're discussing are ones mullahs can only dream about. You can't imagine these capabilities being misused?

**Anything can be misused. There have been bad police shootings, and there will be more in the future. Is the answer to then disarm the police? Iatrogenic disease is a concern, but the answer isn't banning medical science, right?**

Not seeking to ban police work or medical research. Have no problem creating checks against bad police work and bad medical research, however. I can identify checks meant to prevent bad meds and bad shootings; I can’t ID checks against extra-legal use of mined data. Perhaps you know of some?


Quote
You can't imagine someone with autocratic leanings winning an election, defining people who own guns and discuss politics on a militant martial arts web site to be security threats, and using the power of collection and collation to build a case against those who, quite coincidently, of course, don't agree with his politics?

**What laws are violated? Who brings this before what court? What jury would find that a crime was committed?**

I expect those were the sorts of questions that went through Randy Weaver’s mind. . . .

Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2008, 07:36:31 PM »

Spying on Innocents Abroad

Jacob Sullum | October 10, 2008, 7:42pm

Two former military intercept operators, both Arab linguists, have independently told ABC News that the National Security Agency routinely listens to the telephone conversations of innocent Americans in the Middle East, including soldiers, aid workers, and journalists, when they call people in the United States. "These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones," one said. She described the conversations as "personal, private things [involving] Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism." The other whistleblower said intercept operators would often share especially risqué or amusing conversations, including calls to spouses and girlfriends, with each other. "Hey, check this out," he said colleagues  at the NSA center in Fort Gordon, Georgia, would tell him, "there's good phone sex or there's some pillow talk, pull up this call, it's really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk."  As ABC notes, this sort of idle snooping is rather different from the sort of by-the-book professionalism that Bush administration officials have repeatedly insisted characterizes the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program:

"There is a constant check to make sure that our civil liberties of our citizens are treated with respect," said President Bush at a news conference this past February....

In testimony before Congress, then-NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden, now director of the CIA, said private conversations of Americans are not intercepted.

"It's not for the heck of it. We are narrowly focused and drilled on protecting the nation against al Qaeda and those organizations who are affiliated with it," Gen. Hayden testified.

He was asked by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), "Are you just doing this because you just want to pry into people's lives?"

"No, sir," General Hayden replied.

In June I noted that Barack Obama supported the legislation that gave the executive branch permission to monitor Americans' international communications at will, while John McCain seems to think the president did not need Congress' permission.

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/129410.html
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2008, 09:54:39 PM »

"If you are really concerned about it, i'd suggest that you go "off the grid" as much as possible."

Mmmm, , , No thank you.  I am American and I don't shut up for fear of the government.  I simply would rather not to have to have courage to speak out or read about odd things.  Nor should people who wish to get involved a lot more than me have to worry about a State capable of playing a level of the politics of personal destruction for beyond anything we've seen.

PS:  I would like to offer for your consideration that overal I think Buz and I have a pretty good track record around here of lucid reasoning, so I am left wondering at the relevance of general references to wooly headed liberal thinking.

So then what policy or law do you want that will address your concerns?
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2008, 10:34:54 PM »

Quote
A couple points, however. The synopsis and original piece point out problems with data mining that remain undiscussed. We do get to point out problems with law enforcement techniques and discuss them, right? Examination of issues and intelligent discussion thereof is more likely to lead to a resolution than blind adherence to the party line, so pardon me if I don't stand mute lest I be blamed for the next smoking hole.

**An informed discussion would be nice, however what usually happens is that any use of technology for law enforcement purposes means we are but minutes away from a dystopian police state.**

I suppose. It also appears you can’t post empiric data about the problems associated with data mining without being minutes away from other sorts of circular discussions, too.

****Again, what are the problems? It's not a silver bullet for finding terrorists? It's just kind of scary in an undefined way?****

Quote
Speaking of which, the smoking hole or unfettered access damn the constitutional issues dichotomy strikes me as a false one. I've little doubt that there is an intersection at which security imperatives and founding principles can both be serviced. Citing one extreme to excuse the other does a great job of representing the margins, but does little to find the ground where the hole is avoided and the Constitution isn't shredded.

**How exactly does datamining shred the constitution?**

I expect any shredding that is currently being done is pretty well concealed, and hence can’t speak to it.

****So it's bad, just in a way you can't quite describe?****

I do recall the hubbub when Judge Bork’s video rental records were obtained by the press.

****The press, not the police.****

As someone who’s had his internet postings come back to bite him on other fronts, I am concerned about misuse of mined information.

****If you put things out into the public forums, it becomes PUBLIC.****

If you’re unable to see how, say, protections against illegal search and seizure may be subverted by data mining, I’m not sure anything I say can drive the point home.

****Yeah, I don't see how sorting through voluntarily supplied information violates any constitutional protection. I have yet to see anyone here explain how it does.****

Quote
Finally, as I've pointed out several times, the powers we're discussing are ones mullahs can only dream about. You can't imagine these capabilities being misused?

**Anything can be misused. There have been bad police shootings, and there will be more in the future. Is the answer to then disarm the police? Iatrogenic disease is a concern, but the answer isn't banning medical science, right?**

Not seeking to ban police work or medical research. Have no problem creating checks against bad police work and bad medical research, however. I can identify checks meant to prevent bad meds and bad shootings; I can’t ID checks against extra-legal use of mined data. Perhaps you know of some?

****Again, how does datamining violate any constitutional protections?****

Quote
You can't imagine someone with autocratic leanings winning an election, defining people who own guns and discuss politics on a militant martial arts web site to be security threats, and using the power of collection and collation to build a case against those who, quite coincidently, of course, don't agree with his politics?

**What laws are violated? Who brings this before what court? What jury would find that a crime was committed?**

I expect those were the sorts of questions that went through Randy Weaver’s mind. . . .



****I don't see how Randy Weaver applies to this. He was a fringe associate of the Aryan Nations that was charged with violations of federal firearms laws and rather to going to court he hid behind his family, forcing a confrontation with federal law enforcement. No datamining was involved.****
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2008, 12:36:39 AM »

"Yeah, I don't see how sorting through voluntarily supplied information violates any constitutional protection. I have yet to see anyone here explain how it does.****"

OK, let me take a stab at it.  The collection and sorting into patterns of tremendous amounts of data, as is increasingly being enabled by the geometric progressions in technological capabilities, gives a far clearer picture of a person's private life than if these various fragments of data are not mined.  There may be very rare examples, but for general purposes it seems to me that NO ONE lives a life wherein they wouldn't be embarrassed by something coming to light.  The inchoate concerns triggered when the private sector does it reify when it is The State (or nefarious actors within the State) who can purposely destroy the reputation of those who are perceived as posing a political risk.

Example:  If I were to run for US Congress again (I've run 3x for the Libertarian Party 1984,1988, 1992) there are youtube clips I've watched that I would not want to have to explain to my son or daughter.

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2008, 10:07:45 AM »

So aside from un-inventing the computer, the internet and youtube, what are your policy solutions?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2008, 06:06:30 PM »

Smart ass cheesy

I'm on the road and do not have the time at this moment.  I fly to LA starting at 0600 tomorrow.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2008, 06:21:25 PM »

Be safe. I'll expect something really well thought out when you get a chance to post.  grin
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2789


« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2008, 11:26:44 AM »


Quote
I suppose. It also appears you can’t post empiric data about the problems associated with data mining without being minutes away from other sorts of circular discussions, too.

****Again, what are the problems? It's not a silver bullet for finding terrorists? It's just kind of scary in an undefined way?****

And again, the piece that started, that remains undiscussed, pointed out problems arising from data mining. In short it had little to do with nebulous fear, and a lot to do with efficacy.

Quote
I expect any shredding that is currently being done is pretty well concealed, and hence can’t speak to it.

****So it's bad, just in a way you can't quite describe?****

There are plenty of examples where government entities used unlawful means of gathering information. The misuse of new tools is not all that difficult to extrapolate.

Quote
I do recall the hubbub when Judge Bork’s video rental records were obtained by the press.

****The press, not the police.****

We are discussing the misuse of data mining, of which this is a clear case. I’m willing to cede that police behave more honorably than journalists; I would not be surprised at all if they use similar investigative techniques, however.

Quote
As someone who’s had his internet postings come back to bite him on other fronts, I am concerned about misuse of mined information.

****If you put things out into the public forums, it becomes PUBLIC.****

And then can be misused, which was the point of the original piece. Postings of mine lead to the claim that I’m an “ultra-right wing martial arts expert.” I'm neither an expert or ultra-right wing, as this exchange demonstrates.

Quote
If you’re unable to see how, say, protections against illegal search and seizure may be subverted by data mining, I’m not sure anything I say can drive the point home.

****Yeah, I don't see how sorting through voluntarily supplied information violates any constitutional protection. I have yet to see anyone here explain how it does.****

I guess you could claim that my ex-wife’s current address is “voluntarily supplied information.” And I guess the fact that a failed business formerly used the same address is voluntarily supplied, also. But having that address and failed business show up on my credit report has no voluntary component that I can discern.

The so far unsuccessful effort to purge that information certainly informs my feelings on the matter, and supports the conclusions of the piece that started this thread.

Quote
Not seeking to ban police work or medical research. Have no problem creating checks against bad police work and bad medical research, however. I can identify checks meant to prevent bad meds and bad shootings; I can’t ID checks against extra-legal use of mined data. Perhaps you know of some?

****Again, how does datamining violate any constitutional protections?****

Data mining itself may not violate constitutional protections—I’ve yet to encounter case law short of some of the Guantanamo litigation seeking to ID sources—but concerns about it’s efficacy and misuse are what the original piece spoke to. I’ve already given examples where it’s impacted my professional and financial life, stories abound about how travelers get on no-fly lists due to errors that can be called data mining anomalies, so it’s not like these problems are unknown.

Data mining involves the collation of vast amount of information from numerous sources; with all those 1s and 0s flying about you can’t imagine errors creeping in? Call it 300,000,000 people in this country; an error rate of 1/10 of 1 percent means 300,000 citizens get errata stapled to their name. Is that a consequence you can live with?

Quote
**What laws are violated? Who brings this before what court? What jury would find that a crime was committed?**

I expect those were the sorts of questions that went through Randy Weaver’s mind. . . .

****I don't see how Randy Weaver applies to this. He was a fringe associate of the Aryan Nations that was charged with violations of federal firearms laws and rather to going to court he hid behind his family, forcing a confrontation with federal law enforcement. No datamining was involved.****

Though no fan of the Aryan foolishness he was associated with, Randy Weaver was well and truly hosed by run amok law enforcement efforts, and that conclusion has been confirmed by the various courts who have heard his case and the judgments that resulted. That hosing occurred at the point of a .308 and with the press gathered a ways down the hill. You don’t have to be a white supremacist to wonder how mined data might be misused at the point of a keyboard in a quiet datacenter far from the antiseptic gaze of the press or courts.

Indeed, the whole concept of data mining means somewhere in some very large database lives a lot of names with a lot of data associated with them. Where is that matrix? Who has access to it? How is it expunged? How do the people affected by its contents review the information contained therein? If medical or pay-per-view viewing habits data is encountered, do you think it gets added to the matrix, or is it considered off-limits and tossed in the bit bucket? The President has the Secret Service collecting his sh!t and p!ss to keep medical information out of the wrong hands; are the other 299,999,999 of us in need of similar services?

As that may be, unless something really gets my goat in this topic, this is likely my last response. You can hit the asterisk key and type stark questions quicker that I can provide reasoned responses. Think there’s plenty in this thread and in the original piece to justify nervous feelings where data mining is involved, and my limited dealings with the results certainly confirms these feelings are justified. It doesn’t appear that any amount of argumentation or evidence will sway your opinion, so there not much of a percentage in engaging further.

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2008, 03:04:29 PM »

http://www.officer.com/print/Law-Enforcement-Technology/Dig-Into-Data-Mining/1$35698

Dig Into Data Mining
Enhanced analysis can help law enforcement be more proactive


From the March 2007 Issue

By Rebecca Kanable

What's your favorite brand of toilet paper? How about deodorant?

Some stores, especially online retailers, don't have to ask. They already have the answers they're looking for, helping them sell more products. They know what you buy, in what amount, at what price, how you pay, and when you are most likely to come back to restock your supplies.

Moreover, they know who you are, the best ways to deliver advertising to you, and they know what else you are likely to buy at the same time you buy toilet paper or deodorant.

While the specific examples above may not cause envy among law enforcement, the fact that retailers have better analytical capacities than most law enforcement agencies should.

This fact frustrates Colleen "Kelly" McCue, a senior research scientist at RTI International, a non-profit research institute.

"In law enforcement, if you do your analysis wrong, you can compromise public safety," she says.

Before joining RTI International, McCue was program manager for the Richmond (Virginia) Police Department Crime Analysis Unit, where she pioneered the use of data mining and predictive analysis.

Data mining, also referred to as predictive analytics (or analysis), sense making or knowledge discovery, involves the systematic analysis of large data sets using automated methods, she explains. Wanting to help the enforcement community learn more about data mining, she wrote "Data Mining and Predictive Analysis."

McCue is hopeful data mining will become more widespread in law enforcement, because she says it is within the grasp of agencies of all sizes and at all levels. In fact, she says agencies are already data mining to some extent in investigations (determining motive is one example), but they also can use data mining to predict and prevent criminal acts.

A big emphasis today is being placed on counting crime, counting what happened, she says.

"One of the things data mining and predictive analytics allows us to do is move from counting crime to anticipating, preventing and perhaps responding more effectively to it," she says. "We can focus on what we consider to be an effective use of our information and how we want to manage our resources and fight crime. If it is counting crime, that's great. But we know criminal behavior tends to be relatively predictable. By exploiting the data, we can be much more proactive in anticipating and preventing crime than we are now."

The importance of analysis
Data which means nothing to one case could solve another.

"All law enforcement data is very important," says Steve McCraw, director of homeland security in Texas. "A parking ticket, for example, could be a valuable lead in a conspiracy investigation being worked on a series of robberies."

Overall, law enforcement has become very good at collecting and compiling data, especially since the advent of computerized records management systems. Regional sharing initiatives and state-level fusion centers add to the data that individual agencies can tap into. And, national law enforcement data sharing standards help make this possible.

While information sharing initiatives certainly are beneficial, McCue says "don't stop there." Once data is collected in a meaningful fashion, the next step is analysis, she notes.

Unfortunately, McCue adds, the importance of analysis is not a universal understanding today.

Yet, she says the process of analyzing the data is important to:

confirm what you already know and,
discover new information or relationships in data (knowledge discovery).
Jay Albanese, graduate director of criminal justice at Virginia Commonwealth University, says police need information more than ever before and it is increasingly difficult to obtain.

The point at which police solve major crimes has been dropping nationwide over the past 10 to 15 years, he says. One reason is there are more complicated crimes, affiliated with terrorists, organized crime or ethnic minorities, where language can be a barrier.

Data mining technology
Once the value of analysis is understood, McCraw says the question is "How do you sift through the data and find the key elements that can help prevent an act of terrorism or crime?"

Law enforcement chiefs, sheriffs and other managers want to work smarter, cheaper and faster, says McCraw, former FBI assistant director of The Office of Intelligence.

"The way to do that is to do what the private industry has done and take advantage of the tremendous gains in information technology," he says, noting law enforcement should adopt the National Information Exchange Model for its records management systems.

"You want to be able to empower your personnel with the ability to find points of information they previously couldn't — and to find the links, the associations between data sets. That's very powerful."

Timely information also is key.

"You want to be able to exploit the data in your files as quickly as possible," he adds.

If it takes a week to show a supervisor the crimes that took place in one night, it's dated; it's not as useful as showing a supervisor last night's crimes, says Albanese, former chief of The International Center for the National Institute of Justice.

"The longer the time lag between the incident and being able to get it into a useable form, the less useful it is," he says, noting reports should be electronically entered (not handwritten) so data can be included in analysis and acted on quickly.

Using an analytical overlay or filter with remote data entry, an investigator could enter relevant information while at a crime scene and receive a rapid analytical response, McCue says.

Specialized databases can be created for crime or intelligence analysis. These databases might be offense-specific, such as a homicide or robbery database, or associated with a pattern of crimes. Records management databases generally were not made for analysis. Rather, McCue says they were created for case management and general crime counting.

Unfortunately, analytical software is not inexpensive and software specifically for data mining and predictive analytics falls into the high end of the price range, McCue points out. Agencies sharing information could benefit from pooling their financial resources for data analysis. Predictive analytics requires specialized software. Other data mining can be done without sophisticated software, but, she adds, "the software really helps."

Link analysis tools, used to identify relationships in data, such as telephone calls, can be an economical point of entry into data mining, she suggests.

Natural data miners
With today's friendly, commercial-off-the-shelf software packages, McCue believes most agencies are capable of analyzing their own data.

In fact, she says investigators and crime analysts are natural data miners. Based on her experience, she says it's far easier to teach them how to use data mining tools and apply them to law enforcement than it is to teach statisticians how to work in law enforcement.

For those somewhat afraid of numbers and run an incalculable distance at the mention of "statistics," McCue offers comfort: "Data mining is an intuitive process. It's not statistics."

What is important is knowing:

what questions you want to answer,
what you need to analyze the data and
what you need the output to look like.
There also are rules of the road to avoid errors in analysis, but McCue reassures they're not very difficult.

"I think it's incredibly important that law enforcement agencies get over the fear and trepidation and technophobia or whatever they might have, and analyze their own data," McCue says. "Particularly in a specific department or region, agencies are going to have the tacit knowledge and domain expertise, and understand their data better than anyone else. I can't go in and learn a community to the depth they already know. They are going to have that domain or subject matter expertise on their community and department that's going to be necessary to evaluate the results and operationalize them effectively."

Albanese points out the New York City Police Department's CompStat, now used by a number of other agencies, is essentially an exercise in data mining. "It's looking more carefully, more systematically at the information police are already collecting," he says. "It's looking at reported crimes and different areas of the city, plotting them on maps, looking at trends, looking at the allocation of police around the city, looking for hotspots."

Law enforcement also can use data mining to marshal support of the community to assist in crime prevention. Armed with data about trends and patterns, police can turn to businesses, school groups and others, and show where help is needed.

"If a lot of theft activity is taking place near a mall, it only makes sense the shopping mall share responsibility for the efforts to prevent crime there," he says.

Long-term, he says, "We want to prevent crime, and crime prevention is really everybody's responsibility."

Addressing critics
Police managers who understand data mining can in turn educate the public about data mining and its benefits, as well as address critics.

"Police managers, command staff and public officials always need to be sensitive to public perceptions about how they do business," McCue says. "There's a move toward transparent government. People want to know how we do things, how we analyze data, what data we're looking at."

Working with the city council, legislators or an agency's oversight group is important when technology is upgraded, McCraw says, because it helps alleviate presumptions and misinformation.

Data mining is not an abusive technique to spy on citizens, says McCraw, who testified before Congress on the subject during his tenure with the FBI.

"It's using information technology to locate the information that you need among data you already have," he emphasizes.

Data mining is an analytical process. "The same rules that have always applied to legally permissible means of accessing data are always going to apply," McCue says.

Other criticisms of data mining are that it doesn't work and wastes resources.

"I think they are absolutely wrong," she adds. "We found it does work. When data mining is done by someone who knows data mining, and understands the limitations of law enforcement data and the analytical outcomes sought — or works with someone who does — data mining reduces errors."

While with the Richmond PD, McCue used data mining to reduce gunfire complaints by almost 50 percent on New Year's Eve 2003 and increase the number of illegal weapons seized by 246 percent from the previous year, while using fewer officers.

Some data mining is more difficult than others. Very infrequent events are difficult to model.

"That is where I think it becomes really important law enforcement personnel do the analysis themselves or participate very actively in the analysis," she says.

Despite the fact that measures are taken to reduce errors, errors happen, as they do with anything.

McCue uses a medical analogy to remind that not all errors in law enforcement are equal.

As long as a disease is identified effectively, screening tools are allowed a certain number of errors, or false positives. Yet, there are other situations in which there is no room for error. If someone who is ill is given a wrong antibiotic, an illness might not only not be cured, it could worsen.

Again, people doing data mining must work closely with people who understand law enforcement and criminal behavior so they can make informed decisions about the nature of the errors, which errors are acceptable and which are not, she says.

"Maybe if you put officers in the wrong location, they spend a night in the cold," she says. "That's not necessarily a big deal."

But, she says if you're using data mining to determine motive and you make an error, the danger associated with misdirecting resources can cause a crime to remain unsolved.

In her book, McCue gives the example of creating a model that's 97-percent accurate by always predicting crime will not take place in a certain low crime area. That is unacceptable, she says.

"Getting inside the nature of the errors and making informed decisions is key," she says.

Predicting the need for predictive analysis
Once law enforcement starts looking at data mining, they realize in many ways, they're already doing it, she says.

Determining motive in violent crimes is one example she gives: "It's setting up decision trees: Was the victim at high risk or was the victim not at high risk? Was the victim killed in the location she or he was found, or was the victim moved? Was it a crime of opportunity?"

McCue encourages capturing and extending some of the natural data mining that's already occurring and then bringing in additional law enforcement-specific tools. While more can be done today, even more will be needed tomorrow.

"The population of the United States is at an all-time high, so the volume of crime is going to rise as population increases," Albanese says. "As the population gets more diverse, solving crimes is going to get more and more difficult. Police need all the potential tools they can find, and I think data mining is a very useful tool."

McCraw asks, "How can you not be excited about being able to identify seemingly unidentifiable points that will enable you to prevent acts of terrorism or crime or even solve crimes?"

Considerations for educated law enforcement consumers
When given the go-ahead to invest dollars in data mining, author Colleen McCue warns command staff and analysts not to get caught up in marketing messages, but to evaluate products and services, and select only those that are truly helpful.

"Repeatedly, I've seen people go out and purchase very expensive tools or services, and get half-way through and realize they've bought a marketing slogan," she says. "They didn't really buy anything with substance that's going to help them.

"They end up with products that they either need to replace or they can't use; or services that have them make costly mistakes. In public safety analysis, if we make an error, people can die because of it."

She says informed law enforcement consumers must ask vendors questions, such as:

How do you evaluate accuracy?
How do you evaluate your models?
How are you going to aggregate my data?
How do you handle duplication?
"There are some incredibly powerful tools which can create incredibly complex and accurate models," she says. "That's not necessarily the best fit for every agency. There are things that you can do just by making a decision to exploit your data in a different way and look at it differently. With education, you can go in and start probing the data and exploring it."
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2008, 03:18:41 PM »

http://www.fbi.gov/publications/leb/2003/nov2003/nov03leb.htm

Data Mining and Value-Added Analysis

By COLLEEN McCUE, Ph.D., EMILY S. STONE, M.S.W., and TERESA P. GOOCH, M.S.

We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.

—John Naisbitt

     Law enforcement agencies, particularly in view of the current emphasis on terrorism, increasingly face the challenge of sorting through large amounts of information needed to help them make informed decisions and successfully fulfill their missions. At the same time, resources, particularly personnel, often dwindle. Described by one agency as the “volume challenge,”1 local, state, and federal agencies alike all struggle with an ever-increasing amount of information that far exceeds their ability to effectively analyze it in a timely fashion.

     However, while these issues have surfaced, an extremely powerful tool has emerged from the business community. This tool, used by mortgage brokers to determine credit risk, local supermarkets to ascertain how to strategically stock their shelves, and Internet retailers to facilitate sales, also can benefit law enforcement personnel. Commonly known as data mining, this powerful tool can help investigators to effectively and efficiently perform such tasks as the analysis of crime and intelligence data.2 Fortunately, because of recent developments in data mining, they do not have to possess technical proficiency to use this tool, only expertise in their respective subject matter.

 



Dr. McCue is the program manager for the Crime Analysis Unit of the Richmond, Virginia, Police Department and holds faculty appointments at Virginia Commonwealth University.



Lieutenant Colonel Gooch serves as assistant chief of the Richmond, Virginia, Police Department.

Ms. Stone served as a crime analyst with the Richmond, Virginia, Police Department.

 

 

WHAT IS DATA MINING?

     Data mining serves as an automated tool that uses multiple advanced computational techniques, including artificial intelligence (the use of computers to perform logical functions), to fully explore and characterize large data sets involving one or more data sources, identifying significant, recognizable patterns, trends, and relationships not easily detected through traditional analytical techniques alone.3 This information then may help with various purposes, such as the prediction of future events or behaviors.

     Domain experts, or those with expertise in their respective fields, must determine if information obtained through data mining holds value. For example, a strong relationship between the time of day and a series of robberies would prove valuable to a law enforcement officer with expertise in the investigation pertaining to this information. On the other hand, if investigators, while reviewing historical homicide data, noticed that victims normally possessed lip balm, they would not, of course, associate lip balm or chapped lips with an increased risk for death.

WHY USE DATA MINING IN LAW ENFORCEMENT?

     The staggering increase in the volume of information now flooding into the law enforcement community requires the use of more advanced analytical methods. Because data-mining software now proves user-friendly, personal-computer based, and, thus, affordable, law enforcement agencies at all levels can use it to help effectively handle this increased flow of data.

     The law enforcement community can use data mining to effectively analyze information contained in many large data sets, even those involving written narratives (which represent a great deal of valuable law enforcement information). These may include calls for service data, crime or incident reports, witness statements, suspect interviews, tip information, telephone toll analysis, or Internet activity—almost any information that law enforcement professionals encounter in the course of their work.4

     Not only can these data sets differ by type but they can originate from different sources,5 potentially giving law enforcement agencies both a more complete informational base from which to draw conclusions and the ability to identify related information in separate databases or investigations. For example, this may prove valuable in the area of illegal narcotics enforcement. The law enforcement community frequently gathers information regarding markets, trends, and patterns, while medical and social services personnel store information concerning substance use and abuse on the individual level. In instances where appropriate, the opportunity to combine these data resources can give investigators a more complete picture and can help address various narcotics problems more rapidly, potentially saving both lives and resources.

     Law enforcement agencies can consider exploring the use of data-mining applications to assist them in a variety of areas. Some examples include tactical crime analysis, deployment, risk assessment, behavioral analysis, DNA analysis, homeland security, and Internet/infrastructure protection.

Tactical Crime Analysis

     Data mining offers law enforcement agencies potential benefits in the area of tactical crime analysis. For example, because agencies can use data mining for such purposes as to more quickly and effectively identify relationships and similarities between crimes and to forecast future events based on historical behavioral patterns, they can develop investigative leads and effective action plans more rapidly.6 Major case investigations, which frequently present not only large volumes of information but also demands for rapid case resolution, serve as good examples of how law enforcement agencies can benefit from data mining in this regard.

Deployment

     Law enforcement agencies can use data-mining technology to help them deploy their resources, including personnel, more effectively and proactively. For instance, data mining can help them identify such key elements in a case or series of events as patterns of time and location—by forecasting future events based on this historical data, agencies potentially could anticipate strategic locations for deployment.

     Data mining also allows agencies to consider multiple variables at one time and to add more weight to those considered most important to the decision at hand. For example, patrol officers, who generally respond to incidents with quick turnaround rates, may answer to numerous calls for service and effect many arrests in a relatively short amount of time. On the other hand, death investigations can require multiple officers’ entire shifts just to maintain the crime scene perimeter; as a result, homicide investigators generally may handle considerably fewer incidents and arrests. To this end, by weighing heavily such factors as the type and duration of these incidents, law enforcement agencies can develop effective deployment strategies.

     By using data mining, law enforcement personnel, for purposes of analysis, also can link incidents, crimes, or changes in crime trends to other types of events in making deployment decisions. For example, an agency historically may have noticed relationships between major weather events, such as snowstorms or hurricanes, and decreases in street crimes. Also, they may have seen how the arrests of key players in organized crime or drug distribution rings seem to result in increased violence as informants are sought and identified and as new leaders emerge during reorganization. As another example, they may associate increased apprehension rates and a strong economy with decreases in property crimes.7 By using data mining to consider such relationships, law enforcement agencies then can deploy their personnel as they deem necessary.

Risk Assessment

     Much like lenders and credit companies use data mining to great effect in assessing the financial gamble involved with lending money or extending credit to individuals or groups, law enforcement agencies can use it to characterize the risk involved in various incidents. For example, agency personnel can explore the use of data mining to identify common characteristics of armed robberies that ended in assaults; doing so then can help identify those that may escalate into assaults in the future. Similarly, in the past, certain types of property crimes have proven related to subsequent stranger rapes.8 The ability to characterize property crimes as similar to those previously associated with subsequent sexual assaults can alert investigators to focus on certain cases and develop effective action plans, perhaps preventing many similar situations from occurring in the future.



 

Behavioral Analysis

     The behavioral analysis of violent crime represents another area with significant potential for data mining. For instance, law enforcement agencies can use data mining to identify common behavioral characteristics in different cases. Even when not identifying a specific offender, investigators may find it possible to gain some insight into what type of offender may prove related to a particular incident. Research in this area, for example, has resulted in the use of data mining to efficiently link serious cases based on behaviors.9

DNA Analysis
Law enforcement agencies also can benefit from the use of data mining when examining DNA evidence. For example, when DNA links a new suspect to an old case, investigators logically may wonder what other cases the suspect may be linked to. Given the amount of information involved, law enforcement personnel can find it virtually impossible to efficiently and completely search old case files each time they identify a new suspect. To this end, compiling DNA information into a searchable database gives law enforcement agencies a powerful tool to help identify, and potentially close, additional linked cases.

Homeland Security

     Processing and gaining meaningful insight from the staggering amount of data critical to homeland security has proven difficult.10 Law enforcement agencies can use data mining to help them face this challenge.

     For instance, investigators would like to anticipate, and thereby prevent, acts of terrorism. By using data mining to identify relevant historical patterns, trends, and relationships involving terrorists, they could accomplish this objective more effectively.

     Also, because data mining allows law enforcement agencies to evaluate information in varied formats and from various databases and agencies, it can enable them to effectively and efficiently analyze a wide range of information that potentially could shed light on terrorist activity. For example, by analyzing information from multiple health-related data sources, law enforcement agencies could recognize significant patterns of illness that may indicate bioterrorism activity or the use of other weapons of mass destruction.11 Agencies also can use this capability to associate general crimes with terrorist activity by linking them with additional intelligence—recent information suggesting links between cigarette smuggling and terrorist financing12 serves as a valid example.

Internet/Infrastructure Protection

     The law enforcement community may find that the capability of data mining in characterizing and monitoring normal activity, as well as identifying irregular or suspicious activity, proves applicable in the area of Internet and infrastructure protection. For example, the recognition of suspicious patterns of Web site activity not only can help in the area of traditional intrusion protection but also can serve as an important warning about the release of information. The FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) recently underscored the importance of reviewing all Internet materials currently available, as well as those considered for release, for potential threats to critical infrastructure and homeland security.13 This warning comes as many municipal Web sites are receiving suspicious activity and interest.14 This information particularly includes that which, either on its own merits or in combination with other open-source materials, may prove useful to entities with malicious intent.

CONCLUSION

     Law enforcement agencies face an ever-increasing flood of information that threatens to overwhelm them; this will require a change in how they process and analyze data. Data-mining technology represents a powerful, user-friendly, and accessible new tool that agencies can use to help them in facing this challenge as they seek to fulfill their missions—ultimately, to ensure the safety and welfare of the public.

Endnotes

     1 Tabassum Zakaria, “CIA Turns to Data Mining”; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http://www.parallaxresearch.com/ news/2001/0309/cia_turns_to.html.

     2 The authors based this article largely on their experience with and research on the subject of data mining.

     3 Bruce Moxon, “Defining Data Mining”; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http://www.dbmsmag.com/9608d53.html.

     4 Law enforcement agencies must address appropriate constitutional and legal concerns if using public source data for law enforcement purposes.

     5 Law enforcement agencies, when collecting information from different sources, must decide how they will address the issue of cleaning the data, or preparing data for data-mining activities.

     6 Donald Brown, “The Regional Crime Analysis Program (RECAP): A Framework for Mining Data to Catch Criminals”; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http:// vijis.sys.virginia.edu/publication/ RECAP.pdf.

     7 Ayse Imrohoroglu, Anthony Merlo, and Peter Rupert, “What Accounts for the Decline in Crime?”; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http://www.clev.frb.org/Research/workpaper/2000/wp0008.pdf.

     8 Colleen McCue, Georgia Smith, Robyn Diehl, Deanne Dabbs, James McDonough, and Paul Ferrara, “Why DNA Databases Should Include All Felons,” Police Chief, October 2001, 94-100.

     9 Richard Adderley and Peter Musgrove, “Data Mining Case Study: Modelling the Behaviour of Offenders Who Commit Serious Sexual Assaults,” in Proceedings of the Seventh Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery in Data (SIGKDD) International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining Held in San Francisco 26-29 August 2001, (New York NY: ACM Press, 2001), 215-220.

     10 Supra note 1; and Eric Chabrow, “The FBI Must Overhaul Its IT Infrastructure to Fulfill a New Mandate of Fighting Terrorism, Cyberattacks”; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http://www. informationweek.com/story/ IWK20020602S0004; and Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, “NSA Intercepts on Eve of 9/11 Sent Warning”; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http://www.secretpolicy. com/archives/00000073.html.

     11 Steve Bunk, “Early Warning: U.S. Scientists Counter Bioterrorism with New Electronic Sentinel Systems”; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http://www.scenpro. com/press%2009%20leaders.html.

     12 Paul Nowell, “Hezbollah in North Carolina?”; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/ us/dailynews/hezbollah010328.html.

     13 National Center for Infrastructure Protection (NIPC), Highlights, Issue 11- 01, December 7, 2001; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http://www.nipc.gov/ publications/highlights/2001/highlight-01-11.htm.

     14 Barton Gellman, “Cyber-Attacks by Al Qaeda Feared”; retrieved on April 10, 2003, from http://www.washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/articles/A50765-2002 Jun26.html.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #39 on: October 14, 2008, 09:38:50 AM »

GM:

As always you paste interesting and pertinent pieces , , , without personal commentary.  Would you care to personally answer BBG's reasoned personal response to you?

Marc
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #40 on: October 14, 2008, 12:07:14 PM »

Well, the problem is with both BBG's and your objections is they seem to consist of "datamining is bad because it could be abused". This seems to fall under a general umbrella of "technology is bad, because it can be abused."

Datamining, is an essential part of what is known as "intelligence driven policing". It's not just counterterrorism, it's addressing the problems that impact the community served, by tracking crimes and responding with the appropriate allocation of resources. It's a matter of trying to make government more efficient and more effective.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2008, 02:15:58 PM »

GOOD POST!

It leads me to reflect a moment , , , perhaps at it core this IS the problem-- I don't WANT government to be TOO efficient.  There's a lot of foolishness that literally is on the books but as a practical matter, AT LEAST BEFORE TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS THOSE WE SEE HERE, wasn't really enforced. 

Also, there were a lot of liberal fascist nanny do-gooder ideas that simply weren't practical that might become practical now or in the not-so-distant future.

Does this help?
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2008, 10:55:50 PM »

I doubt very much anywhere in the US, you'll find any law enforcement agency trying to figure out what to do with an abundance of funds and personnel. The priority is targeting crimes that affect "quality of life". This means keeping gangs out of your neighborhood and your car in front of your house in the A.M. It also means keeping the next smoking hole from appearing in the midst of American cities.

Budgets are shrinking, police forces are shrinking, we're trying to use technology as a "force multiplier" to keep the public safe as we do more with less.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2008, 11:06:27 PM »

http://www.city-journal.org/printable.php?id=2694

Heather Mac Donald
The NYPD Diaspora
Former New York cops bring cutting-edge, effective policing to beleaguered communities.
Summer 2008

Since the late 1990s, more than 18 police commanders have left the New York City police department to run their own agencies elsewhere. This unprecedented migration has spread the Compstat revolution—the data-driven transformation of policing begun under New York police commissioner William Bratton in 1994—across the nation. Some of the transplants are well-known: Bratton himself now heads the Los Angeles Police Department; and his former first deputy, John Timoney, has led both the Miami and the Philadelphia forces. But the diaspora also includes lesser-known young Turks who rose quickly through the NYPD’s ranks during the paradigm-shattering 1990s. Now, as chiefs in their own right, they’re proving the efficacy of analytic, accountable policing in agencies wholly dissimilar from New York’s—in one case, achieving success beyond anything seen in Gotham or elsewhere.

José Cordero once led precincts in the Bronx and in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, and eventually he served as New York’s first citywide gang strategist. Like other members of the diaspora, he describes the 1990s NYPD as a life-changing experience: “It was an incredibly resourceful, competitive environment. The wave of captains I was privileged to serve with fed off of each other’s experiments.” In 2002, he took the helm of the Newton, Massachusetts, police department, bringing crime in that already safe city down to its lowest point in over 30 years.

Then he moved to a very different city. East Orange, New Jersey, has 70,000 citizens by official counts, about 95 percent of them black, and deep pockets of poverty. Crime there—much of it violent—had started skyrocketing in 1999, reaching a per-capita rate in 2003 that was 14 times that of New York City and five times that of Detroit. East Orange’s mayor recruited Cordero to quell the violence; Cordero started work in 2004. The results were astonishing. By the end of 2007, major felonies had dropped 68 percent, and homicides 67 percent, from their 2003 high—possibly a national record. (By comparison, from 1993, the year before Bratton arrived in New York City, through 1997, major felonies in New York dropped 41 percent and homicides 60 percent.) East Orange’s remarkable experience should give pause to criminologists, who too often ascribe crime drops to anything but policing reforms.

If the true test of a leader is his ability to imbue an organization with his vision, Cordero has leadership skills in spades. Intelligence-driven policing, as he calls the Compstat principles, is now in the department’s bloodstream, as is the still-iconoclastic belief that the police can actually lower crime. Compstat refers both to the weekly crime-analysis meetings that Bratton pioneered in 1994 to grill precinct leaders about crime on their watch and, more broadly, to the crime-fighting principles that underlay those meetings: relentless gathering of information, constant evaluation of tactics, and a mechanism for holding commanders accountable for public safety. East Orange commanders now focus obsessively on their mission and revel in coming up with new ways to make the city inhospitable to criminals.

The transformation that Cordero effected in the East Orange department mirrored the one he had lived through as a young NYPD captain at the dawn of Compstat. “All we had done up to that point was put people in jail, and it hadn’t made a difference,” recalls the 52-year-old Bronx native. “The new concept was, know everything you possibly can about crime. What I took away from that period was that by challenging yourself continually to know what you don’t know, you can produce big results.”

So Cordero tasked his new team to find out everything it could about who was shooting whom. He combined East Orange’s gang and narcotics squads to maximize information-sharing between drug and gang detectives, since the narcotics trade and gang violence entwine so closely. Eventually, the department targeted the most violent drug dealers and drove them out of business. Word got out on the street that if you engaged in a shooting, not only were you going to do time—possibly in the federal slammer—but your whole criminal enterprise would be shut down.

Weekly Compstat meetings are at the core of the East Orange crime rout, but Cordero, like his expatriate peers, borrows freely from the entire gamut of crime-busting techniques developed in New York. He put East Orange’s two most dangerous streets under 24-hour lockdown for six months while the police bore down on the dealers, a strategy that his NYPD colleague (and now Newark top cop) Garry McCarthy had successfully pioneered in Washington Heights. Today, those two streets are clean and orderly.

Ronald Borgo exemplifies the East Orange Police Department’s transformation. He exudes enthusiasm as he sits at a computer terminal, putting the turbocharged crime-analysis computer program that Cordero designed through its paces. “I was ready to move on until I saw what Director Cordero brought on board,” says the barrel-chested 27-year veteran of the department, who is soon to be confirmed as chief (a position underneath director). “I’m embarrassed to say that in 2000, we didn’t know how to connect the dots. We were just reacting to crime. The director gave us the knowledge and the confidence to actually fight it.”

However much Cordero and Borgo stress that it is managerial and philosophical change, not fancy gadgets, that has driven crime down, it’s hard not to be wonderstruck by that computer program—“Compstat on steroids,” as Cordero calls it. Its “crime dashboard” graphically presents layer upon layer of real-time crime and policing information, updated every 30 seconds. Commanders can check whether any sector of the city is meeting its daily, weekly, and monthly crime-reduction targets, and how the sector’s record stacks up against last year’s numbers. They can instantly pull up a history of the crimes committed at any location, along with every police response to those crimes, in order to evaluate what strategies have or have not succeeded there in the past. Users can activate the city’s public cameras to display crime hot spots.

Illustration by Alberto Mena
. . . producing what may be the greatest crime turnaround in American history.
And most unusually, users can observe how every patrol car is deployed at that moment and what it is doing to prevent crime, in what the department calls “directed patrol.” Directed patrol is really nothing more than what good beat cops used to do as a matter of course, before the 911 radio car swallowed their jobs: rather than simply cruising around town waiting for trouble to happen, an officer is supposed to use his time to preempt crimes, ideally by getting out of his car. Cops might walk up a housing project’s stairwell to check for drug dealers, say, or pass out flyers about a robbery spree at a mini-mall. “You’d be surprised what people will tell you when you’re out of your car that they won’t call the department about,” says Borgo—such as that a neighboring apartment is likely dealing drugs. Institutionalizing the concept of directed patrol represents a “huge organizational change in how officers work on the street,” says Lieutenant Chris Anagnostis. “The new model is: when a cop is not answering a radio call, he should be back in his zone engaged in proactive policing.”

The real-time display of patrol activity allows managers to monitor deployment patterns as well as officer initiative. “If a citizen reports a problem, and an officer doesn’t see and act on it, then it becomes clear to me that he is not enthusiastic about his job,” says Cordero, who dismisses the suggestion that the oversight may feel Orwellian to a street cop. “We’re not looking to see if an officer is having a cup of coffee. We’re in the business of protecting people; any good cop will see the value of that. For those that don’t, I have a word for them: ‘Tough. Find another line of work.’ ”

The patrol-car locator system did produce a backlash. Some officers broke their cars’ antennae or yanked out the requisite communication wires. Cordero remained unfazed: “There’s 70,000 people I care about; I don’t fear disgruntled cops.” He seems to have won the battle—officers now treat the vehicle locators as a matter of course. And self-initiated activity has gone way up, reports Borgo. “In 2004, we did 6,389 directed patrols and we thought we were working. In 2007, we did almost half a million,” he says. “The technology is one thing, but these cops, my cops, are working. I’m so proud of these cops.”

After the department introduced the crime dashboard in 2005, crime plummeted 26 percent in one year. Currently, only supervisors at headquarters and in the field have access to the dashboard, but eventually, every officer on the beat will have a simplified version in his car, so that he can monitor crime in the city in real time and see how his colleagues are responding.

The crime dashboard was just the start of East Orange’s technology boom, which has cost about $1.5 million, paid for with federal and state grants and criminal forfeiture money. On the two streets that had been locked down, the department gave residents computer programs enabling them to report suspicious conditions by pointing their mouses at street photos. Community patrol officers have “virtual directed patrol” screens in their cars that let them watch two places simultaneously: they can park at a drug corner to deter dealing, for instance, while calling up camera shots of other high-crime locales throughout the city. Back at the station house, a detective rides the same public camera system, zooming in on a license plate, say, to see if a car is stolen or if its driver is wanted on an outstanding warrant. Borgo is even building a room in the reception area with 42 large screens that will display live shots from all over the city—a public display of the department’s surveillance capacities, which criminals already falsely believe are all-encompassing. “And I’m going to get civilians to monitor them: they see as well as people in uniform,” he adds slyly.

Gunshot-detection sensors at various locations alert headquarters immediately when a gun gets discharged outdoors. Cameras then take pictures around the source of the shot, with an emphasis on roads and nearby arteries leaving the city, since in 70 percent of East Orange shootings, someone zooms off afterward in a car. The department also plans to introduce license-recognition technology that will automatically tell the police when a stolen car has entered the city.

Bratton famously drew on business principles to transform the NYPD bureaucracy into a crime-fighting machine—a bottom-line orientation that Cordero has absorbed as well. “You have to treat this business as if it were your own,” he says. “A Fortune 500 company is in the business of making money; we’re in the business of saving lives. Can I survive a year without a return on my investment? Maybe. Five years? No.” Cordero regards the public as the consumers of policing services. “We don’t accept excuses when we’re shopping if any item is not available; we expect supply to be consistent with demand,” he points out. “The public should not accept excuses from the police.”

Moreover, Cordero argues, a police department must respond to what consumers actually want from it, not to what it thinks they should want. The two things are not necessarily identical, as Broken Windows theorists point out and police departments discover time and again. “In the South Bronx, we took out the gangs; violence plummeted,” he recalls. “I expected kudos, but instead people asked what we were doing about stolen cars, prostitution, and Saturday night boom boxes.” Consistent with his business-service model, Cordero started sending civilian inspectors to East Orange households where officers had answered 911 calls, to poll residents about the officers’ performances. These audits, like the directed patrols, were initially unpopular among some members of the rank and file but are also now regarded as routine.

Crime continues to fall in East Orange, half a year after Cordero left the department to become New Jersey’s first gang-violence czar and bring intelligence-driven policing to the entire state. As of mid-June 2008, crime in East Orange was down another 15 percent over the same period in 2007, even as violence remains high in perennially murder-torn cities like Camden.

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2008, 11:08:33 PM »

And the sense of urgency about crime-fighting, which it is the Compstat mechanism’s supreme accomplishment to institutionalize, has not abated. Early one Wednesday morning in May, a fatal shooting took place in an East Orange apartment—an apparent drug assassination. Borgo had been working on the case since 4 am. The crime dashboard showed that except for the homicide, no crimes had been reported in the city through mid-morning. “It’s a good day in one sense,” Borgo says, “but you can’t have a good day when your one crime is the ugliest one of all. I’m not having a good day; I’m having a terrible day.” He tried to take heart from the overall statistics. The night shift was down 73 percent in crimes that week, compared with the same week last year; the day shift was down 81 percent. And over the last five months, the department was still down one murder from the previous year, even after that morning’s shooting. “We’re going to keep it going by being proactive, but this homicide is a major concern to me,” he agonizes.

Cordero is amazed that the most radical premise of Compstat policing—that the police can lower crime—is still not universally held among top managers. “When I hear from chiefs, ‘Crime results from the economy,’ my response is: ‘And you haven’t retired . . . why?’ ” As for Borgo, he keeps a large graph of the city’s historic crime drop on a wall in the police station to imbue his beat officers with the urgency of their mission. “People were being victimized at an unbelievable rate before,” he says. “If crime was still at 2003 levels, we’d have 14,000 more victims today.”

Other NYPD grads have also had a significant effect on their new cities through the application of Compstat principles, easily outstripping national crime averages. For example, Jane Perlov, a former NYPD deputy chief, brought violence in Raleigh, North Carolina, down 33 percent between 2001 and 2007 by breaking the city up into six police districts and making the district leaders responsible for crime on their watches. John Romero, an NYPD deputy inspector, lowered crime in Lawrence, Massachusetts, over 50 percent from 1999 to 2005 by demanding performance from his commanders and basing strategies on the most up-to-date, accurate information. Timoney, the first NYPD Compstat-era commander to take the reins of another department, reduced homicides in Philadelphia over 25 percent in two years—the first homicide decrease that violent city had seen in 15 years. And Bratton has slashed crime by 34 percent since becoming chief of the LAPD.

An NYPD hire can produce these effects because, as Cordero discovered, Compstat crime analysis and accountability are far from ubiquitous, despite their proven track record. “These were new principles to people here,” says Thomas Belfiore, who took over the Westchester County Department of Public Safety in 2003. “I asked for monthly reports; they were all verbiage. Very little was actually measured.”

Even if some version of Compstat has preceded an NYPD grad, it likely lacks the requisite oomph. “There was a Compstat here before,” observes Edmund Hartnett, the feisty chief of the Yonkers Police Department, “but—how to say this diplomatically?—it was city hall–driven; there was little interaction over strategies and tactics.” Hartnett has posted the funeral card of Compstat’s primary architect, the late Jack Maple, on his wall, so that “the Jackster” will always be watching over him. Maple would presumably be pleased that Hartnett brought crime to a ten-year low in Yonkers during his first year leading the department in 2007. “We weren’t getting crime updates before,” says Sergeant Mike Papaleo, head of Yonkers’s newly energized Street Crimes Unit, which targets guns and violent crime. It could take a couple of weeks for data to trickle down to the field. “Now, because of the information out of Compstat, I can assign my guys to immediately tackle patterns as they emerge.” Commanders like Papaleo also receive news of individual crimes on their BlackBerrys every three hours.

New York City is ringed to its north by Compstat graduates. Nearly all the major jurisdictions in Westchester County—Yonkers, White Plains, Mount Vernon, Rye, and the county itself—are now led by a crime-analysis disciple. In some quarters, this has produced—along with crime drops—an even greater level of the usual resentment against outsiders. One Westchester County chief asked another, who had been brought in from New York: “Why is the NYPD always getting these jobs? They should be our jobs.” Keeping NYPD memorabilia in one’s office to a minimum is advisable, the NYPD veteran suggests. Cordero studied management manuals to prepare himself for shaking up the East Orange force. He overcame the inevitable resistance to change “by quick victories and a vision of where we wanted to go,” he says. “It’s a huge challenge, telling a deputy chief with 30 years’ experience: ‘We’re doing things differently now.’ ”

NYPD recruits also have to be careful not to bring NYPD-scale demands to their new departments. After all, no other police department in the country has the resources available to New York commanders. “Your education in the NYPD is invaluable, but [it makes] you think that’s how the rest of the world is,” Westchester County chief Belfiore warns other new bosses. “You’re used to pressing a button and saying: ‘I need a communication unit that speaks Spanish to help me find a missing five-year-old.’ Get ready: you’ll have a girl on the emergency services team who lives in [remote] Dutchess County, and you’ll have to wait an hour for her to get dressed and show up. You really have to temper your impatience. You can beat them down and take the heart out of them.”

David Chong, the affable commissioner of the greatly overstretched Mount Vernon agency, outlines the triage decisions that commanders in less lavishly funded departments face: “In the NYPD, to move 20 to 30 officers in response to a problem is nothing; here, it’s an entire shift. If I want to do a weekend sweep to take back a corner, I have to pay half the force overtime to come in, and that means I’m taking from the budget of other city services. You have to learn that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Chong has compensated for thin staffing by pressing his detectives to get as much intelligence as they can from victims as well as their assailants, since in his jurisdiction, today’s robbery victim may well be tomorrow’s perpetrator. He lowered violent crime 18 percent in 2007, but he longs for more manpower: “I could drive crime completely down in the central city if I had the resources,” he says wistfully.

But perhaps the biggest challenge that an NYPD transplant faces is not local resentment or a drastically reduced force but rather the clout that police unions possess elsewhere. “In the NYPD, no one sees the union contract,” says Pat Harnett, a major player in the Compstat revolution who ran the Hartford Police Department from 2004 to 2006. “In smaller departments, it’s the first thing they’ll show you: ‘This is the contract; you can’t do anything outside it.’ ” Labor-management relations were Cordero’s biggest challenge in Newton. “It’s a different culture up there,” he reports. “If you say, ‘Officer, you need to get out of your car,’ you get back: ‘It’s not in my contract, we need additional pay for that.’ ” In strong civil service systems, officers, not their commanders, in essence decide in which posts they will serve, based on seniority. In small towns, too, the union chief may live next door to the mayor and talk to him every day about the unreasonable demands that the new chief is placing on the department.

Union recalcitrance has driven some New York stars away from new jobs. John Timoney left the Philadelphia department, where he had little ability to put his top picks into leadership positions, “fed up with banging my head against the wall” with the unions over officer discipline and personnel decisions, he says. Former NYPD intelligence commander Dan Oates left the Ann Arbor department, he reports, frustrated with the power of Michigan’s labor law to “crush positive change.”

And a Newark police union has mounted an audacious challenge to Garry McCarthy, Newark’s only hope for escaping its decades-long stranglehold of violence. McCarthy, a Maple protégé and battle-hardened street cop, served as the NYPD’s chief crime strategist from 1999 to 2006. Since taking over the civilian position of police director in Newark in late 2006, McCarthy has moved accountability for crime to his precinct commanders, required 150 officers to leave their desks to fight crime on the streets—including, most controversially, on nights and weekends—and beefed up the department’s analytic abilities. He has also uncovered gross mismanagement of the department’s overtime budget. For his labors, the union representing Newark’s sergeants, lieutenants, and captains is suing to strip him of his powers, alleging that he is encroaching on those of the uniformed police chief. McCarthy is undaunted: “These people are gnats to me,” he told the Newark Star-Ledger. “I’m here with a mission.” If he wins the suit, McCarthy is confident of his future success. Homicides were down 44 percent in the first half of 2008 compared with the previous year. “We’re only scratching the surface here in Newark,” he says. “Wait till we start getting complicated.”

The absence of a regressive union culture in Gotham may help explain why the caliber of NYPD top brass is so high. Its executives stand “head and shoulders above the competition,” one ex-NYPD leader observes, perhaps because they actually have the authority to lead and innovate. New York City should reward its police unions, Oates says, for their unacknowledged flexibility.

For all the adjustments that smaller departments require of their new chiefs, they do offer ambitious crime-fighters an unparalleled intimacy with the communities that they serve. This April, Mount Vernon commissioner Chong was popping across to City Hall to snag a reporter an impromptu meeting with the mayor when a large man in a dented SUV politely accosted him. The driver had recently opened a bakery on a commercial thoroughfare and had noticed people streaming into and out of a nearby store without buying anything. There had already been a drug bust at the store, but it looked as though the activity had started up again. “Now I’m scared for my wife, who sometimes works alone” at the bakery, the businessman told Chong. Chong promised to follow up on the matter; he has since visited the bakery twice on his ubiquitous bike. The drug investigation is ongoing, but the couple is satisfied with the department’s response. “Chong’s a great guy,” the baker, Michael, enthused. “He’s approachable and makes you feel like he’s paying attention.”

With limited resources, Mount Vernon police commissioner David Chong reduced violent crime by nearly 20 percent in 2007.
Michael is just the sort of asset that long-struggling Mount Vernon needs. Forward-looking and optimistic, he has decided to invest in the city in the hope that it will experience the same turnaround that he witnessed in the Bronx and White Plains on his bread routes. “I see more foot traffic and stores coming my way,” he says. Owners are trying to organize a business improvement district, despite the difficult economy. “Everyone’s taking pride in their buildings and fixing up storefronts. It’s just a matter of time before everything is built up.”

Chong and his NYPD peers are acutely aware of the value of entrepreneurs like Michael, and they know how crucial policing is to their success. “If I can remove the fear of crime from this area,” Chong asserts, “people will come, developers will come. If it can be done in Harlem and on 42nd Street, it can be done here.” The redevelopment of Yonkers’s leafy waterfront, a short water-taxi ride away from Wall Street, began before Ed Hartnett took over the police department, but its continuing viability rests on keeping crime down. And East Orange has added yet more proof to the assertion that Cordero made at his 2004 swearing-in: “It’s been proven, time and again, that safety is vital to the rebirth of great American cities.” Standing-room-only crowds engage in bidding wars at auctions of commercial and residential properties; the city’s stately old homes are getting long-overdue makeovers; and neighboring Orange, still mired in corruption and crime, looks on enviously at East Orange’s policing revolution.

Cordero, Hartnett, and other members of the NYPD diaspora have been hit with the usual racial-profiling charges as they try to rid their cities of criminals; Yonkers has even had a visit from Al Sharpton himself. The race-baiters are oblivious to the fact that the greatest beneficiaries of proactive policing are blacks, who make up the overwhelming share of urban crime victims. The sixties-era excuse for crime has it exactly backward: crime is not the result of a bad urban economy, but it will certainly contribute to one. When crime declines, not only are black lives saved, but urban economies can rebound and provide jobs to people with the drive to get ahead.

The anti-cop agitators may be indifferent to the toll of crime on the people they claim to care about, but the black mayors whom several members of the NYPD diaspora work for are not. “We make it no secret that public safety is paramount,” says Mount Vernon mayor Clinton Young. “As long as the kids are safe, and the elderly safe, we are doing our job.” And as long as Compstat policing, the motor of New York City’s unanticipated turnaround in the 1990s, continues to spread throughout the United States, more of America’s great cities can look forward to futures of safety—and of opportunity, wealth, and creativity.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of City Journal and the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Her latest book, coauthored with Victor Davis Hanson and Steven Malanga, is The Immigration Solution.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #45 on: October 17, 2008, 04:20:20 PM »

Woof GM:

I'm noticing the shellacking Joe the Plumber is taking as a result of his having successfully taken on His Glibness.    Like many, many people he didn't have the T's crossed and the I's dotted in his personal life and now look at the price he is paying for speaking Truth to Power. 

I submit that with the vast, uncountable, and often undecipherable laws and regulations of our Feds, State, and local government that a lot of people a lot of people are filing a "note to self-- don't speak up".  If it weren't so easy to look Joe the Plumber up, , ,

TAC,
Marc
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #46 on: October 17, 2008, 05:56:17 PM »

And who is doing it? No one with a badge and a gun.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31326


« Reply #47 on: October 18, 2008, 12:32:26 AM »

Yo! Woof!  Attention Mr. Spock!

Some of the people who worry me most in the government have neither badges or guns.

More to the point, methinks you are missing the point Kiss
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #48 on: October 18, 2008, 01:33:53 AM »

The character assassination of Joe the Plumber is being done by our corrupt MSM, who is protected by the first amendment. Do you wish to alter constitutional freedoms of the press or eliminate open records laws?
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12056


« Reply #49 on: October 22, 2008, 09:14:14 AM »

Hello? Is this thing on? Tap-tap-tap
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 8 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!