News Stories

News Stories relating to "crime"

Minority Report: Is Pre-Crime Now a Legal Reality?

Can criminals really be convicted of crimes that they 'might' commit, but haven't actually perpetrated? This sounds like a scenario snatched straight from science-fiction; certainly when Philip K. Dick wrote "The Minority Report" back in 1956 the concept seemed fanciful, but advances in technology and data analysis are turning this...
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Catching Criminals BEFORE they Strike Again

A researcher gave 96 male prisoners fMRI brain scans just before their release (he could have given them a spit test). Their brains were scanned during computer tasks during which they had to make quick decisions and control their impulses.

Four years later, Kent Kiehl found that...
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The Real Cost of Jail

It's sometimes hard to determine the REAL cost of things.

The United States has the world's highest rate of jail incarceration, perhaps because the private the private prisons springing up across the country provide local jobs. But if the prison population shrank...
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Want to Reduce Crime? Plant Trees!

After the recent Colorado massacre, we ALL want to reduce violence, but we're divided about how to do it. Sociologists think that "greening" vacant lots may be associated with reductions in certain gun crimes (and it's certainly easier...
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Should We Be Nicer to Criminals?

Justice is different in different countries. In Mexico, they don't feed you in prison--if your family doesn't bring you food, you'll starve. US prison conditions vary, but our sentences are long compared to prison sentences in Europe or Scandinavia. We may not be...
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The Problem with Police Line Ups

On TV cop shows, victims almost always identify the perpetrators correctly, but real life doesn't work that way: DNA testing has revealed that witnesses often pick out the wrong person, while detectives, in the background, keep telling the person to "take your time." But new studies show that these witnesses should go with their...
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New Law Means More Gun Crimes Than Ever

Congress is passing more laws than ever, and some of them are downright dangerous. For instance, a new study finds that the number of guns that were subsequently linked to crime sold by a single store--a Milwaukee-area gun shop called Badger Guns &...
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Bird Songs Reduce Crime

Police have discovered a way to cut crime: Play bird songs.

Crime has gone down in Lancaster, California ever since the mayor started playing nature sounds--bird chirps, the sound of running water--in the streets. Mayor R. Rex Parris...
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Detecting Crimes BEFORE They Happen

If we could do this, we would be faced with the necessity of arresting and incarcerating technically "innocent" people, which would upend our entire constitution and body of laws, in the same way that torturing suspects at Guantanamo has.

This may be a possibility...
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Crime: Some People are BORN For It!

When solving crimes, forensic scientists rely on fingerprints (the disappearance of which were a major part of the "Cooper Curse") because no two prints are alike. But what if...
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The Mystery of the Cooper Curse

A major criminal (NOTE: subscribers can still listen to this show) has been hunted by the FBI for 40 years. He is "D.B. Cooper," who, in November of 1971, boarded a plane in Portland that was...
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Are Criminals Born or Made?

Forensic scientists are discovering that DNA and "genetic markers" can predict who will--or will--turn to a life of crime. If this is true, it portends a frightening future where we give infants DNA swabs, then decide whether to watch them (or even incarcerate them) for the rest of their lives. Since more black men are jailed in the US...
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Are Criminals Born, Not Made?

The latest neuroscience research is shows evidence that the brains of certain kinds of criminals are different from those of the rest of us. This raises the main moral question of our future: If we discover someone with a "criminal brain," should we incarcerate...
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What are They (Still) Hiding?

Scotland Yard is fighting the release of 123-year-old secret files which experts believe could finally provide the identity of Jack the Ripper. These four thick notebooks, containing 36,000 entries compiled by Special Branch officers over 100 years ago, have been kept under lock and key since the "Jack the Ripper" murders in 1888. If...
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Criminals: We Can Spot 'Em

Scientists have moved from promoting concrete, provable facts to researching instincts--and they think we should always pay attention to them. Instances this happen all the time: A woman walking down a street sees a stranger and feels an instant aversion to him. The next day,...
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Predicting Crimes

BEFORE they occur - In the 2002 film "Minority Report," Tom Cruise plays a detective in the future who is able to solve crimes BEFORE they occurred. As scientists learn about the personality types of sociopaths, psychopaths, and other people who commit crimes, we may face a future where we have the touch choice of deciding...

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Murder: More Reasons Why

The recent fatal shootings of four Washington state police officers again brings up the recurring problem of mass murder in the United States. What motivates these men to go on a shooting rampage?

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The REAL Reason Why US Murder Rate is So High

This is a truth that's hidden in plain sight: It's not poverty, drugs, lack of gun control or even downright meanness. The reason there is so much homicide in America has to do with politics!

When Americans begin routinely complaining about how they hate their government and don't trust their leaders, it may be time to look warily at the...

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Fighting Crime with Radio Waves

Can we fight crime with radio waves? (They work against mosquitoes). They're safer than guns. What would be really effective would be to read criminals' text messages so cops can catch them planning their next heist (as long the police don't keep their phone in the wrong pocket!)

A wireless network of radio transmitters can track...

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Why Some Death Row Inmates are Executed

...and others are not - Many inmates spend decades on death row?how are the ones who are finally actually executed chosen? For instance, only around 50 of the over 3,200 inmates on death row were executed in 2006. A statistical analysis reveals the common traits of those who were given the needle?and they're not what you...

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Who's Behind All That Crime?

During a political season like this one, some candidates claim that immigration leads to high crime rates, but a new study shows that immigrant neighborhoods actually experience LESS violence.

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Adults Scared of Teen Criminals

A new study shows that giving city squares a makeover could offer a surprising benefit: reduced crime rates. A significant proportion of crimes are committed by adolescents, so don't we do more to stop juvenile crime? It turns out we're too intimidated by them to intervene when we see a crime being committed or to even report their offenses.

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Crime is Unhealthy

Prison is often a death sentence?and not for the reasons you might think. Prisoners who have been recently released from jail have a much high death rate, especially in the first two weeks after release.

Researchers Ingrid Binswanger and Marc Stern analyzed data from over 30,000 inmates released from prison between 1999 and 2003 in...

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Staring Down Crime

We've already learned that eyes can keep you honest?even when they don't belong to a real person! Holding eye contact, or "gaze," with hysterical citizens is one of the most effective methods police officers can use to calm them down.

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If We Prevent Crime, We Can Build Fewer Prisons

It's not just police who are trying to figure out how to stop crime--scientists struggle with this problem as well. Now accountants are getting into the act, because one of the big questions today is whether or not it will cost less in the long run to try to prevent crimes before they happen, even if it means creating costly social programs in...
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Will Getting Rid of Guns Help Prevent Crime?

Firearms are used to kill two out of every three homicide victims in America.. Researchers have found that homicide rates among children, and among women and men of all ages, are higher in states where more households have guns. And in Australia, a big gun "buyback" lowered homicide?and suicide?rates considerably.

Researchers Matthew...

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The Future of Crime

If we can ever identify the genetic and psychological traits that make people criminals?especially killers?we may be able to lock them away BEFORE they kill. This theme was explored several years ago in the film Minority Report. Now it's becoming reality.

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Doctors Want to Ban Kitchen Knives

Newswise - ?Not in airplanes, but in the kitchen! Physicians say that long pointed kitchen knives should be banned to reduce deaths from stabbing. This will make certain kitchen chores harder for those of us who want to use the knives for cutting, not crime, but British doctors say that kitchen knives are used in half the...

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More Cops, Less Crime? Yes!

We're constantly hearing that hiring more policemen reducescrime, but is this really true? Law professor JonathanKlick says it is, and not by just a little bit either. Hefound a 15% reduction in crime in the police district wherethe White House and National Mall are located whenadditional officers were put on duty during high terroralert days....
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