According to a CNSNews article the five most crime ridden U.S. Judicial Districts are all on the Mexican border. The article states that the measurement of this statistic is based on the number of criminal defendants charged with federal crimes by U.S. Attorneys for fiscal year 2009.
These five judicial districts cover the U.S.-Mexico border from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. In the Southern District of Texas which is ranked the nations number 1 for most criminal defendants, covers a stretch of border from Brownsville past Laredo. In this district the U.S. attorney’s office filed criminal charges against 8,801 defendants in fiscal 2009. This is four times more than in the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan and the Bronx, and six times the 1,377 in the Eastern District of New York that includes Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.
The No. 2 district in the nation for the most criminal defendants is the Western District of Texas, which covers the rest of the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. The U.S. attorney here filed charges against 8,435 defendants in 2009. Finally, rounding out the top five are the districts for Southern California (5,554 defendants charged), Arizona (5,155) and New Mexico (3,769).
What this all means is that our government is not doing its job of defending our nation’s border with Mexico. According to the Justice Department’s own numbers, federal crime is dramatically disproportionate along that border compared to the rest of the United States.
The report also shows that 33 percent of federal convictions were in immigration cases and 32 percent in drug cases. Violence along the border of the United States and Mexico has increased dramatically during recent years. The violence is mostly from Mexican drug cartels working with several gangs. Mexican drug trafficking organizations represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States and the influence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations over domestic drug trafficking.
Starting on August 1, 2010 if your child between four and eight years old is not in a proper booster seat in your car, you will get a ticket. The State of Colorado passed the Colorado Child Passenger Safety Law that makes it mandatory for child booster seats for kids under the age of eight years old. There is a one-year educational period so officers will only issue warnings to those violating the booster seat.
Studies have shown that children do not properly fit into a back seat of a car until somewhere between eight and twelve years old. Parents need to explain to their children that this is a safety issue and doesn’t matter how mature their kids think they are. Mostly, the law is looking out for children who may not be tall enough to use a seat belt.
If a child isn’t tall enough, the lap portion of the belt will slip over the hips and go into the abdominal area. Booster seats raise kids up to the level of the seat belt so that the belt fits them correctly and their abdominal area is guarded. In addition, the shoulder portion of a seat belt needs to fit across the child’s collar bone and chest and should not cross their neck or be underneath the arms or behind the back.
The harness allows the force of a crash to be evenly distributed along the upper torso, protecting a child better than a booster seat. However, booster seats provide adequate protection for 4 years old and up. As the Colorado Law reads, children between 4 and 8 years old must be in some sort of restraint system, either a harness car seat or booster seat using the belt system.
The Colorado State Patrol reports that in the last 5 years, 35 children between 4 and 8 years old have died in traffic crashes. 77% of those kids were not properly restrained in a booster seat or were totally unrestrained.
Law enforcement in Minnesota use Intoxilyzer 5000EN for roadside breath tests. Now defense lawyers for more than 2,000 accused drunk drivers say they were provided the wrong software computer code and need more time to review the information before an October trial to challenge the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer.
Defense lawyers say that they found discrepancies between the required software in the Intoxilyzer the defense leased from the state. In addition, the state admitted there was such a discrepancy in an Otter Tail County machine. As a result, defense lawyers are asking judges to throw out tests from the machine because it is inaccurate and untested.
One of the defense lawyers was provided a software code last month that didn’t match the code used in Minnesota machines that may make the Intoxilyzer results faulty. In addition, the question is if one Intoxilyzer has a defective code, how many more of the machines have the same code? The state said that of all the Intoxilyzers they have approximately 264, the remaining machines have the correct code. Defense laywers want to test at least a dozen machines – six from the Twin Cities and six from greater Minnesota – to ensure that all the machines are providing the correct code.
However, prosecutors claim that the machines are accurate but until this issue is resolved, law enforcement has turned to relying on blood and urine tests for suspected drunk drivers. In the meantime, all the DWI trials are on hold until tests can be done.
If you like technological gadgets, you’ll love this one. This crime-fighting tool helps police track down stolen cars in seconds.
In Colorado, the police and sheriff’s agencies in Adams County can run license plates on fourteen vehicles in about five seconds. Cameras are mounted on police cars. These cameras automatically scan license plates and provide vehicle information from each parked or moving car.
The system can scan up to 3,600 license plates per hour or 15 plates per second. Officers can drive 60 mph down the road and scan plates at the same time. The plate readers work either day or night. The information is checked instantly against databases and can identify stolen vehicles, drivers with active warrants and even sex offenders driving the car. In addition, the technology can be used to find children in Amber Alerts.
In one month, Commerce City, Thornton Police and the Adams County Sheriffs Department have made two felony arrests and recovered two stolen vehicles. Adams County plans to equip all their vehicles soon. A grant from the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority paid for the first three.
While most people believe that winter provides the most dangerous driving conditions, a survey found that summer is the most dangerous. In fact, the survey says that the Fourth of July weekend is the most deadly time for highway accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crowded rural roads and holiday-related drinking are among the many factors contributing to more accidents during the Fourth of July weekend. The U.S. Census figures show that about one out of five (21 percent) Americans live in rural areas. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has found that about six out of 10 (57 percent) percent of highway deaths occur on roads that it considers rural.
Some of the reasons include lighter traffic and pleasant scenery on rural roads that can lull drivers into a false sense of security. This can lead to unsafe speeding, distracted driving, unbelted or impaired driving and fatigue. These reasons can increase the likelihood of a crash.
In addition, after a crash, emergency response time to a rural areas and hospital transport times can be lengthy and jeopardize survival rate. Crash victims are five to seven times more likely to die from their injuries unless they arrive at a trauma center in the first half-hour following the crash.
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) released the Top 100 Summer Rural Hot Spots, or the rural areas that have experienced the most fatalities over the past eight years during the summer months. While 32 states have rural areas in the Top 100, the states with the most “hot spots” are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia
If you are traveling this Fourth of July weekend, don’t forget to buckle up and don’t drink and drive.
Recently, a GMAC Insurance survey found that most people are clueless about the rules of the road. This may be the reason why the highways are as dangerous as they are. The insurance company conducted an online survey posing 20 questions taken from driver’s license exams. The results showed that many respondents flunked the test.
Eighty-five percent of respondents did not know how to react to a traffic signal when the light is yellow. Others showed confusion on other questions or even admitted to driving with unsafe habits like texting while driving. The survey also found if the test results were averaged out nationally, that nearly 20% of licensed drivers — some 38 million motorists — may be unfit for roads and wouldn’t pass a state-issued written exam if taken today. The national average score was 76.2%, falling from 76.6% in 2009 and 78.1% in 2008.
The nation’s worst drivers are from New York followed by drivers in New Jersey, Washington, California and Rhode Island. The best drivers are from Kansas, Oregon, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. The survey found that drivers from the Midwest seem to be the most informed about the rules of the road while drivers in the Northeast aren’t.
Men over age 45 scored the highest as well as men overall outscoring women. Women did admit that they engage in more distracting behavior while behind the wheel. Women tend to talk more with passengers or select songs on an IPod or CD or adjust the radio, read, talk on a cell phone, eat and even apply makeup while driving.
Last weekend, a suburban St. Paul officer was ambushed and murdered. This set off a massive manhunt that ended with one suspect dead and another in custody.
Maplewood Police Sgt. Joseph Bergeron age 49, was married, father of two and a 26-year police veteran. He was responding to a reported carjacking when two suspects shot and killed him as he sat in his patrol car. A jogger witnessed the shooting and used the officer’s radio to call for help. The police knew that at least one of the suspects was armed.
More than 100 officers from over a dozen law enforcement agencies carried out a search for the two suspects. Officers used automatic rifles and police helicopters to circle overhead as they searched a wooded area and neighborhoods east of Lake Phalen, near the shooting scene.
After four hours, a man darted out of the woods holding a toolbox and an officer tried to question him. The two scuffled, and authorities said the officer shot the man multiple times. Police said the 21-year-old man was one of the shooting suspects and has a criminal history that includes armed robbery. His name hasn’t been released. Unfortunately, the officer suffered a broken nose and possibly a fractured eye socket.
About two hours later, police closed in on the second suspect at a nearby apartment near St. Paul and Maplewood area. The man threatened to commit suicide, but was taken into custody with non-life threatening injuries. His name and what charges he faces have not been released.
This senseless murder of officer Bergeron by two low-life criminals makes it the 17th officer to die in the line of duty in the state of Minnesota since 2000.
Last fall, many Minnesota cities adopted a social host ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor to host or allow an event where underage drinking occurs. The reason for this ordinance was to place blame on one individual, primarily the person who organizes or hosts a party or event where underage drinking takes place at parties.
Recently, police ticketed two men for hosting a party that led to more than 50 citations against 35 people. The criminal citations cited these people who are responsible for hosting this gathering where underage drinking occurred, regardless of whether they supplied the alcohol. The maximum penalty is a $700 fine and up to nine days in jail.
Minnesota Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) encouraged this ordinance because it shows how important it is to address the how and where the problem takes place and not simply what the problem is. This ordinance imposes the responsibility on the hosts of parties to ensure that their party goers are not underage and to be aware of the problems of underage drinking.
Back in 1949, a reported asked the FBI to list the top ten of the “toughest guys” they were looking for. The FBI gave the reporter the names and pictures of the most wanted fugitives and now sixty years later, the list continues.
During its 60th year anniversary, the FBI is celebrating this historic occasion with a book that talks about the list and shares pictures of all 494 “Top Ten” Most Wanted fugitives throughout the years.
Most of the fugitives are murderers with Thomas James Holden being the first top ten. He was wanted for killing his wife and her two brothers. Of the 494 fugitives throughout the years, 463 have been captured or located.
The shortest amount of time anyone spent on the list was Billy Austin Bryant in 1969 for two hours. The oldest was 69-year-old James J. Bulger who was added to the list in 1999.
Today, Eduardo Ravelo, Usama Bin Laden, Jason Derek Brown and Joe Luis Saenz are just some of the names on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.
The Associated Press has reported that highway deaths have dropped to lowest levels since the 1950s. The Transportation Department projections show total traffic deaths declined nearly 9 percent in 2009 to 33,963 compared to 2008 with 37,261 people. This is the lowest amount since 1954.
Several reasons for this are more motorists are buckling up, better-drunk driving enforcements and more enforcement of traffic laws. There are more safety improvements in cars, and the economic situation leads to fewer drivers on the road.
The good news is that seat belt use climbed to 84 percent in 2009. Many states allow police to stop a vehicle for a seat belt violation; even if this is the only violation an officer observes. With new cars and trucks with side air bags that protect the head and midsection becoming standard equipment as well as electronic stability control, helps motorists avoid rollover crashes.
States have pushed tougher laws to reduce drunken driving. In addition, more stringent laws against distracted driving including text messaging have been adopted by many states.