Category Archives: Crime and punishment

incarceration and other options

Mass shootings in 2023 in our country

Mass shootings in 2023 in our country

Month         Number      Dead            Wounded

January        52                 87                 295                                                                             February      43                 54                160                                                                                                              March          39                 55                105

90 days       134              196                 560     

We have averaged more than a mass shooting every day since the first of the year. It appears that we live in a violent county.  The chart following shows homicide by gun and gun ownership in several countries. The “Rate” is per 100,000 and the number of guns is per 100.

Country       Rate  Deaths          Continent          Region # of Guns

Ukraine5.22,356EuropeEastern Europe6.6
United States4.212,996AmericasNorthern America112.6
Palestine4.1145+AsiaWestern Asia3.4
Cambodia3.4448AsiaSouth-Eastern Asia4.3
Iran3.02,215AsiaSouthern Asia7.3
Afghanistan2.4712+AsiaCentral Asia4.6
Syria2.3463+AsiaWestern Asia3.9
Finland *2.2118EuropeNorthern Europe32
Iraq2.0608+AsiaWestern Asia34.2
Belgium1.7180EuropeWestern Europe17.2
Canada1.6554AmericasNorthern America30.8
Vietnam1.61,346AsiaSouth-Eastern Asia1.7
Slovakia1.584EuropeEastern Europe8.3
Croatia1.462EuropeSouthern Europe21.7
Morocco1.4447AfricaNorthern Africa5
Hungary *1.3133EuropeEastern Europe5.5
Egypt1.2992AfricaNorthern Africa3.5
Ireland *1.254EuropeNorthern Europe8.6
Portugal *1.2124EuropeSouthern Europe8.5
Serbia *1.2123EuropeSouthern Europe58.2
France *1.1682EuropeWestern Europe31.2
Netherlands *1.1179EuropeWestern Europe3.9
Poland *1.1436EuropeEastern Europe1.3
Sweden *1.091EuropeNorthern Europe31.6
Denmark *0.947EuropeNorthern Europe12
Italy *0.9529EuropeSouthern Europe11.9
New Zealand0.939OceaniaAustralasia22.6
Germany *0.8690EuropeWestern Europe30.3
Spain *0.8390EuropeSouthern Europe10.4
Slovenia *0.715EuropeSouthern Europe13.5
Switzerland *0.752EuropeWestern Europe45.7
Austria *0.656EuropeWestern Europe30.4
Norway *0.629EuropeNorthern Europe31.3
Iceland *0.31EuropeNorthern Europe30.3
Japan0.3442AsiaEastern Asia.6
Singapore0.316AsiaSouth-Eastern Asia.5
* EU Countries

Homicide by gun is more than 4 times the average for EU countries. 4.2 for the US vs 1.0 for the Eu. There are reasonable solutions available that will save lives and still allow for reasonable gun ownership (both for sport and protection). The vast majority of the voting public wants to see change, but what stops legislation? How important is gun lobby political financing to our elected representatives? Is reelection more important than saving lives?

One example would be the changes that Australia made via legislation. Admittedly passing the change cost several Aussie politicians their jobs. Could that be a factor? The facts are that homicide by gun went down by 57% after the change and now equals the average for the EU at 1.0 per 100,000.

The Thin Blue Line

The Thin Blue Line

How Do the Police Actually Spend Their Time?

A review of publicly available data in three areas reveals that much of an officer’s job revolves around handling routine calls rather than violent crime.

By Jeff Asher and Ben Horwitz

Published June 19, 2020 Updated Nov. 8, 2021

What share of policing is devoted to handling violent crime? Perhaps not as much as you might think. A handful of cities post data online showing how their police departments spend their time. The share devoted to handling violent crime is very small, about 4 percent.

That could be relevant to the new conversations about the role of law enforcement that have arisen since the death of George Floyd in police custody and the nationwide protests that followed. For instance, there has been talk of “unbundling” the police — redirecting some of their duties, as well as some of their funding, by hiring more of other kinds of workers to help with the homeless or the mentally ill, drug overdoses, minor traffic problems and similar disturbances.

Consider “calls for service.” These can be defined as calls to emergency operators, 911, alarms, police radio and nonemergency calls. They mostly begin from calls by citizens, but also include incidents police officers initiate themselves.

Calls for service do not include time spent investigating after an incident; training sessions; administrative duties; and off-duty employment. As such, they are not a perfect encapsulation of how police officers spend all their time, but they do provide a good representation of how police departments interact with the public.

Determining what constitutes a violent crime can be tricky because some agencies don’t differentiate between aggravated assaults (generally considered a violent crime) and simple assaults (an assault without an injury that is generally not considered a violent crime) in their publicly available calls for service data.

The F.B.I. Uniform Crime Report definition of violent crime is narrower than frequently broader state definitions. For this analysis, we used the Uniform Crime Report definition — homicide, robbery, rape and aggravated assault — to highlight responses to only the most serious of violent crimes. We found 10 agencies with publicly available calls for service data as shown in the chart below. Serious violent crimes have made up around 1 percent of all calls-for-service episodes in those agencies so far this year.

Relatively minor incidents such as traffic responses and noncriminal miscellaneous complaints account for a much larger share of calls for service in most of these cities. In Seattle, for example, responses to traffic accidents and enforcement make up over 15 percent of all calls for service in 2020, while 15 percent of incidents in New Orleans fall in the “complaint other” category.

Of course, responding to a murder scene takes far longer than handling a burglar alarm, so the number of episodes does not, by itself, indicate how much time an agency spends responding to violent crime. Fortunately, a handful of agencies include information on how long officers spend on any given incident.

While data is not available on how much time a specific officer spends on scene, a generalized result can be deduced by subtracting the time an incident is deemed “closed” from either when an officer was first dispatched or when the incident was first reported. Incidents without a known start and closure time were discounted, as were calls for service for routine patrol activities like area and business checks.

In New Orleans, officers have spent 4 percent of their time this year responding to calls for serious violent crimes. Gun violence has taken up an even smaller share, with 0.7 percent of time spent responding to homicides and nonfatal shooting incidents. Domestic violence calls that are not violent crimes have taken 7.3 percent of officer time, while roughly a third of time has been spent responding to calls regarding complaints, traffic accidents and noncriminal disturbances.

Similar patterns hold in Montgomery County in Maryland and Sacramento. In Montgomery County this year, officers spent 4.1 percent of their time responding to calls for violent crime, including 0.1 percent on homicides. Officers in Sacramento spent 3.7 percent of their time responding to serious violent crime and 0.1 percent handling homicides and firearm assaults.

Law enforcement has often become a backstop for much of society’s ills, sometimes being stretched thin while dealing with domestic disputes or providing safety for schools. Both the police and their critics have at times questioned whether social workers or other workers would be better equipped for those duties.

As experts continue to debate how best to improve the performance of law enforcement, it’s helpful to first have a clear understanding of how the police spend their time interacting with the public, including how little of it revolves around responding to violent crime.

Domestic-violence-related police calls have been found to constitute the single largest category of calls received by police, accounting for 15 to more than 50 percent of all calls.  Not all domestic violence calls are for activities that constitute crimes.  Several New York studies, for example, found that 65 percent of such calls in upstate New York pertained to criminal conduct. In New York City, the police department found that 35 percent of reports pertained to specific chargeable index or other criminal offenses.  In San Diego, approximately 25  percent of calls for service in domestic violence cases result  in an  arrest. 

China’s Communism

China’s Communism

I have real problems with Communism in China. They have a poor record concerning human rights and do not have an effective system of representing their workers (which was the initial intent of Communism). The more positive side Free Trade and entrepreneurship is alive and well. We visited China in 2018 and have another trip scheduled for the fall of 2020. The tours are very inexpensive, and we surmise that the Chinese Government partially subsidizes them. There were a half dozen venues that were required that were shipping opportunities. What surprised me was that only one of them (The Jade Shop) was government-owned. All of the others were privately owned. All of these businesses provided very professional marketing presentations.

All of our accommodations were in four and five-star hotels that would rival any other hotels we have experienced. Without exception, all of them provided phenomenal breakfasts. As you would expect, most of its infrastructure is very new. I asked our tour guide how all of the improvements were funded. He reminded me that the government owns all of the lands, and they are everyone’s landlord. Beijing typically offers 70-year residential leases and 50-year commercial leases. Our guide further stated that the government had collected over $30 trillion US in lease income over the last 20 years and that currently, they were taking in over 2 trillion annually. The total Chinese National Debt is just under $5.5 trillion US. Their annual GDP is in the $11 trillion US range, and that calculates to a debt to GDP ratio of approximately 50%. By comparison, the current US debt is $24.9 trillion, and the current annual GDP is $21.4 trillion. This equates to a debt to GDP ratio of 117%. Keep in mind that the Chinese Government only owns the land; most of the commercial development and many of the residential improvements are privately owned. The government is communist-controlled, but the economy is more capitalistic and free trade. Their economic system seems to have evolved into a hybrid system. My term for it is “tight rope” capitalism.

Homeownership in China is higher than it is here. In Xiamen, a coastal city with a perpetually hot property market, $300,000 for an apartment is normal — even though the average wage is around $1,000 a month. Even for the city’s middle-class residents, who make between $1,200 and $5,000 per month, the price seems prohibitively high.

However, the people of China can afford to buy these extremely expensive properties. In fact, 90% of families in the country own their homes, giving China one of the highest homeownership rates in the world. What’s more is that 80% of these homes are owned outright, without mortgages or any other leans. On top of this, north of 20% of urban households owns more than one home. So with wages so out of whack with real estate prices, how can so many people afford to buy so many houses? This is all in a country where $5 can get you a bulging armful of food from the local market, and $70 gets you a bunk on a train that’s going all the way across the country. This is a good question that deserves a detailed explanation