Of Tasers, Bank Robberies, and Car Prowling

We begin this Monday morning in the realm of crime and justice with stories about Taser effectiveness, bank robberies increasing in a sagging economy, and an arrest of car prowlers that appears to have spiraled into a bigger investigation.

First with the prowlers: two people were arrested early Friday in the south end of the county and believed to have prowled more than 40 cars, according to Kitsap County Sheriff’s Detective Chad Birkenfeld.

Sadly, this is appears to be another case of opportunity crime. The 21-year-old suspect, who worked in tandem with a 17-year-old girl, told detectives the cars that they entered were almost always unlocked.

The lesson, then, is still this simple: lock your cars, people!

In other news of the day, USA Today reports that bank robberies up, largely due to a downed economy. Recent unemployment numbers are showing an increase to a rate of about 5.5 percent as well.

Here’s a snippet from the article:

Bank robberies are up in cities across the USA this year and, although the reason is unclear, the down economy is a suspect.

“The economy is driving some of this,” says Chris Swecker, chief security officer for Bank of America and former assistant director of the FBI’s criminal division. “We’re even getting some anecdotal stuff from bank robbers.”

Elsewhere, a decidedly negative review of Taser use can be found at the Minnesota Independent, which alleges that the weapon is used far more often than the initial law enforcement supporters of it intended it to be. Once again, numbers on deaths that Tasers are attributed to are hotly contested (probably always will be), and the article accuses the company of “capitalizing on fear,” to raise its share price. Doesn’t seem like a very “independent” article to me.

And finally, a cool new article from the folks at the Urban Institute reveals that violent crimes shouldn’t be the only ones that benefit from DNA as evidence.

Here’s the abstract of the study (below). Enjoy the day.

The study compared traditional crime solving to biological evidence techniques in hundreds of cases where biological evidence was available. When conventional investigative techniques were used, a suspect was identified 12 percent of the time, compared to 31 percent of the cases using DNA evidence. In eight percent of cases built on traditional evidence alone a suspect was arrested, compared to the 16 percent arrest rate in DNA cases. The average added cost for processing a single case with DNA evidence was about $1,397. Each additional arrest–an arrest that would not have occurred without DNA processing–cost $14,169.

3 thoughts on “Of Tasers, Bank Robberies, and Car Prowling

  1. Interesting comment, Paul. To clarify, I simply think it’s a bit more of a critique than a general news piece.


  2. I see that bank robberies have increased. As mentioned, I’m sure it has something to do with the economic times, but on another note, when local financial institutions man their branch offices with only one teller, are they not inviting this type of activity as well as endangering their employees? Seems that employee safety is taking a second seat to profit!

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