Archive for November, 2015

If you’ve got a son or daughter attending college, how confident are you that they’re safe on campus?

Some New Jersey universities have armed police forces, including Rutgers, NJIT, Rowan, Stockton, Saint Peter’s and Monmouth, while others, including Seton Hall, Rider, Drew, Thomas Edison State College, Jersey
City University, Fairleigh Dickinson and most community colleges do not.

Princeton University recently announced their campus police will soon have access to guns — in their patrol cars — but they won’t normally be carrying weapons around campus.

“It’s based actually on the kind of issues the police face, in the general case, enforcing the law on campuses doesn’t require being armed,” says Todd Clear, a criminal justice professor at Rutgers University.
Clear said sworn officers on college campuses go through the same training at certified academies as any other police officer in the Garden State.

“They get trained on the law but they get trained on the most recent ideas about police practices and they get assessed in terms of their physical abilities,” he said.

The professor also says sworn university police usually only have jurisdiction on their campuses, but in cities like Newark, NJIT and Rutgers police will also work in areas off-campus and they can make arrests.

He said in most situations, campus and municipal police work together.

“There’s always close cooperation and there’s often-times quite close involvement operationally,” Clear said.

He also said most schools, in addition to having a regular police force, also have community safety officers

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A robber camouflaged as a security guard hit the jackpot Friday outside Greektown Casino when he stole several bags of loot from an armored truck parked along the curb, making off with more than $500,000, according to Detroit police.

No one was hurt. No weapons were brandished, and no threats were made, police said.

“The FBI has taken the lead on the investigation because it seems to be of a suspicious nature,” Assistant Police Chief Steve Dolunt said without elaborating. “Detroit police are working with the FBI on this heist. We’re still looking at video to see how this person escaped.”

The FBI, through spokeswoman Jill Washburn, confirmed it is investigating the case, but Washburn declined further comment.

The heist happened at around 8 a.m. ET at the intersection of Beaubien Street and Monroe Avenue downtown, police said. A black male wearing a Loomis Armored security guard shirt approached the armored vehicle, took the bags of money out of the back and took off.

The driver of the armored vehicle thought that the thief was a co-worker because he was wearing a uniform shirt, said a source familiar with the case.

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As the holiday shopping season officially gets underway, the FBI would like to take this opportunity to warn shoppers to be aware of the increasingly aggressive techniques of cyber criminals who want to steal your money and your personal information.

For example, watch out for online shopping scams—criminals often scheme to defraud victims by offering too-good-to-be-true deals, like brand name merchandise at extremely low discounts or gift cards as an incentive to buy a product. Beware of social media scams, including posts on social media sites that offer vouchers or gift cards or that pose as holiday promotions or contests. Always be careful when downloading mobile applications on your smartphone—some apps, disguised as games and offered for free, maybe be designed to steal personal information. And if you’re in need of extra cash this time of year, watch out for websites and online postings offering work you can do from home—you may actually become the victim of an advance fee, counterfeit, or pyramid scheme, or become an unknowing participant in criminal activity.

Here are some additional steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud this season:

Check your credit card statement routinely, and ensure websites are secure and reputable before providing your credit card number;
Do your research to ensure the legitimacy of the individual or company you are purchasing from;
Beware of providing credit card information when requested through unsolicited e-mails;
Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information;
Never click on links contained within unsolicited e-mails;
Verify any requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them directly;
Be cautious of e-mails claiming to contain pictures in attached files, especially unsolicited e-mails—the files may contain viruses; and
Be leery if you are requested to act quickly or told there is an emergency (fraudsters often create a sense of urgency).
If you suspect you have been victimized, contact your financial institution immediately, contact law enforcement, and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

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2015 Biometric Identification Award

Virginia Police Investigator Honored for Role in Identifying Violent Perpetrator

The 2015 recipient of the FBI’s Biometric Identification Award (formerly known as the Latent Hit of the Year Award) is a member of Virginia’s Norfolk Police Department (NPD) who played a key role in the identification of a dangerous serial offender. Congratulations to Melvin Grover III, an investigator with the forensic section of the NPD’s detective division.

This Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division award is traditionally given to a latent print examiner or law enforcement officer who solves a major violent crime using the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS. But IAFIS—our longstanding fingerprint repository—was replaced last year by the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, developed to expand the Bureau’s biometric identification capabilities and services, and future awards will involve the use of the NGI system.

The case Grover eventually became involved with started in August 2008, when the NPD received an emergency call from a private residence and responding officers found a female tied up in a locked bathroom. The victim, a U.S. Navy officer, said that she had been sleeping and was awakened by an unknown male brandishing a knife. The man raped her, bound her legs with the cord of an iron, and stole items from the home before fleeing.

Investigator Ward Stalker of the NPD processed evidence from the scene, including latent fingerprints from the iron and a door. Grover searched all the latent print evidence against Virginia’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System but got no results.

In September 2008, the victim and her daughter returned home one day and were confronted by the same attacker. He tied them both up with duct tape and raped the daughter before fleeing the scene. Once again, investigators collected evidence, including latent fingerprints and DNA. The prints were compared against Virginia’s system, which didn’t produce any known suspects but did confirm that the same individual committed both crimes. Investigators also searched the collected DNA evidence against the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, with no results. The case remained unsolved.

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In a classroom at Whites Creek High School, wooden benches have replaced the desks. When the bell chimes, students file into 12 plastic chairs to face a judge.

On a recent morning, the volunteer in the black robe was attorney Yvette Cain.

“Do you solemnly swear or affirm to listen carefully to the evidence presented in arguments presented today, and fulfill your duty to determine a sentence that’s fair to the victim and to the respondent and the community? If so, say ‘I do,’ and you may be seated,” Cain said, sitting below a state seal flanked by the U.S. and Tennessee flags.

“I do,” 12 voices responded.

This is the youth court program at Whites Creek, one of five schools in Nashville that has an arm of the statewide reform and prevention program.

Students at the schools who commit minor crimes can be sent to youth court instead of juvenile court downtown, where they would face a judge and not a jury. In youth courts in Nashville, they face classmates filling the roles of attorneys and jurors.

The rulings of the student jury are real and go on the record.

Not only do the programs take cases off the docket at juvenile court, they also give teens a chance to explore career paths in criminal justice.

Denise Bentley, director of Tennessee’s Youth Court Program, said 17 counties have active youth courts or are starting them. The program is an arm of the Tennessee Bar Association. Davidson County’s courts have been ongoing since 2011.

More than 2,000 Tennessee students participate in the programs statewide each year, and they handle 350 to 400 cases annually, Bentley said.

“According to research, a child who goes to juvenile court for one of these first offenses has an 18 to 40 percent likelihood of coming back on another charge,” Bentley said. “The way I used to talk about it when I was in school security here in Metro Schools was, kids leave the (juvenile) court thinking they’re 10-foot-tall and bulletproof. When they leave here, because these young people have taken the time to really address the situation and the cause of the situation, fewer than 4 percent of kids reoffend after going through youth court.”

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3D imaging helps Ga. lab solve firearm crimes

The resulting images and information are uploaded to a database which connects national law-enforcement agencies

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Regional Crime Lab recently made a high-tech upgrade to its ballistic imaging system to increase the ability to discover links between firearms cases.

The new Integrated Ballistics Imaging System (IBIS) shoots high-definition photos and creates 3D digital images of firearm evidence taken from crime scenes.

The system compares the photos to others entered into regional and national databases to determine if evidence analyzed by the crime lab matches evidence gathered elsewhere, said crime lab criminalist Shannon Floyd.

The system is not designed to match evidence to a firearm, however.

Actually matching a gun to a bullet or shell casing still requires human analysis from criminologists like Floyd who conduct microscopic examinations of evidence.

“If a crime happened today, and the investigators think this was the gun, they are going to submit the gun, submit the bullets and say, ‘Is this the gun?’ We don’t even have to have this system to do that. We do a comparison and do a result on our own,” Floyd said. “(IBIS) is an additional tool to not only say that this was the gun but to also say we put it in the database, and now it has hit on something from two years ago that we didn’t even realize was related.”

The process begins when an agency submits a firearm and evidence to the crime lab for analysis. Criminologists at the lab test fire the gun, collect and analyze the evidence and use the IBIS for digital imaging.

For imaging a bullet casing, it is secured in a specially designed cradle which is placed inside the imaging system. An array of automated cameras photograph the evidence at multiple angles and take digital measurements.

The resulting images and information are uploaded to a database which connects law-enforcement agencies across the country.

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A Good Samaritan rescued a 15-year veteran officer out of a burning vehicle Saturday, WSBT 22 reported.

St. Joseph County Police Department Cpl. Mario Cavurro was heading southbound to another incident when an SUV collided with his cruiser, Asst. Chief Bill Thompson told the news site.

Bystander Mark Grudzinski was first on the scene. He grabbed the cruiser’s fire extinguisher and started spraying the flames.

Cavurro had become entangled in the seat belt so Grudzinski reached in to pull officer to safety. Grudzinski stayed with Cavurro until an ambulance arrived.

Cavurro was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Three passengers in the SUV were reportedly uninjured.

The cause of the collision is still under investigation.

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FBI Seeking Special Agent Applicants

Do you have what it takes to be a special agent? The FBI is now accepting applications from talented and motivated individuals who want to embrace this challenging and rewarding opportunity to serve their country and communities.

Special agents bring with them a variety of experience and skills, from computer science and engineering to law and accounting. The FBI is looking for diversity of perspective to effectively achieve its mission.

Applicants must successfully complete the Special Agent Selection System (SASS), a mentally and physically challenging process designed to identify the most capable candidates. The SASS includes an online application to screen for eligibility and willingness, followed by a number of exams, interviews, and background evaluations. Applicants are rated on their individual competitiveness and the professional needs of the FBI. The process can take six months to a year.

Becoming a special agent isn’t easy. In fiscal year 2014, the Bureau received more than 20,000 applications for approximately 700 special agent vacancies.

Before you apply, make sure you meet the preliminary standards (with some exceptions):

Be a U.S. citizen
Be between 23 and 36 years of age
Possess a bachelor’s degree
Have at least three years of full-time work experience
Have lived in the United States or its territories for three of the last five years.

For more information, visit

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A fourth UPS employee accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of tablet computers from a Northeast Side shipping facility as part of a theft ring was arrested Wednesday morning.
Peter Garnica, 31, faces a charge of cargo theft between $100,000 and $200,000 as well as engaging in organized criminal activity, according to arrest warrant affidavits.

In one round of alleged theft, Garnica stole a cargo load of 140 Surface Pro 3 tablets valued at $132,094.62 from the freight shipping facility located at 4111 NE Loop 410. He sold the cargo to a buyer for $30,000, according to an affidavit.

Garnica’s access to the cargo because of his job allowed him to load the shipment onto a different truck, according to the affidavit.

Detectives said Garnica later stole $7,000 more worth of Surface Pro 3 tablets while working alongside three others, two of whom were co-workers at the facility.

One affidavit notes the thefts occurred from December 2014 to June 2015.

Collaborative efforts from SAPD and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office led to the October arrests of three others identified by police as UPS employees. Juan Betancourt, Michael Rozier and James Cross were charged with engaging in organized crime, according to SAPD.

SAPD spokesman Officer Douglas Greene described the theft ring as a fencing operation, in which goods are stolen from various businesses around the city and county and resold to consumers.

Items recovered include contraceptive pills, perfume, electronics, vacuums, Spurs memorabilia and much more. Greene said the locations where the stolen good were held looked like Amazon warehouses that were packed with stolen goods and well organized.

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Safety agents recovered weapons, drugs and other contraband in and around city schools on 355 occasions from July 1 to Nov. 1, records show.

The safety agents seized knives, stun guns and illegal drugs from students at dozens of city schools, recovering 462 outlawed items in the period, according to the official tally obtained by the Daily News.

In one incident, a student at Brooklyn’s Boys and Girls High School was nabbed taking an 8-inch steak knife to class. In another, an agent busted a student carrying a machete at the Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies in the Bronx.

Local 237 President Gregory Floyd, whose union represents the school safety agents, said the alarming cases show how badly they are needed.

“These stats prove there is danger every day for our agents and our children,” said Floyd, whose union includes 5,000 active agents. “Our members keep New York City schoolchildren safe.”

he agents are employees of the NYPD and get much of the same training as police officers, but they do not carry weapons or wear bulletproof vests.

Among the outlawed items agents confiscated from students during the four-month period were 11 BB guns, 185 knives, 52 box cutters and 64 other weapons. Agents also discovered students with marijuana at school 67 times during that period.

Most of the incidents took place in the Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. They resulted in 30 arrests and 74 summonses.

The Franklin K. Lane High School building in Brooklyn and the Walton High School building in the Bronx, both of which house multiple schools, topped the tally with five incidents each of agents seizing weapons.

Mayor de Blasio unveiled a plan last Monday to overhaul school safety procedures, including a possible program to review the use of metal detectors in some schools.

But Floyd, who said he wasn’t consulted, has blasted the plan, and said it could create more safety risks by limiting scanning.

City Education Department officials said that school crime is down, with 27% fewer arrests and 15% fewer summonses issued by the School Safety Division in the 2014-15 school year as compared with the 2013-14 school year.

“We’re focused on ensuring the safety of every student and staff member,” said agency spokeswoman Devora Kaye. “We will continue to ensure students are in safe environments where they can learn and succeed.”

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