Tag Archives: crimes

Why Do Some Crimes Increase When Airbnbs Come to Town?

Tourists neither commit nor attract crimes. But a study finds that violent offenses rose in neighborhoods where more homes were converted to short-term rentals.

The presence of more Airbnbs in a neighborhood may be linked to more crime—but not in the way you might think.

Researchers from Northeastern University reviewed data in Boston from 2011 to 2018, a period of both sustained growth in Airbnb listings and growing concerns about crime. They found that certain violent crimes—fights, robberies, reports of someone wielding a knife—tended to increase in a neighborhood a year or more after the number of Airbnbs increased—a sign, the researchers said, of a fraying social order.

“You’re essentially eroding a neighborhood’s natural capacity to manage crime,” says Dan O’Brien, one of the authors. The study was published Wednesday in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open-access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science.

Curiously, the researchers found that reports of crime did not increase at the same time that Airbnbs in a neighborhood increased, suggesting that the tourists staying in those rentals were neither committing crimes nor attracting crimes.

“It’s not the visitors themselves that’s the problem, it’s the fact that you took a bunch of units that normally would have functioning, contributing members of a community off of the social network,” O’Brien says.

In addition, the researchers found that other types of crime, including noise complaints, public intoxication, domestic violence, and landlord-tenant disputes, did not increase as more units in a neighborhood were listed on Airbnb.

Airbnb took issue with the study’s methodology and conclusions. In a statement, a spokesperson said the researchers reached “inaccurate conclusions not supported by the evidence.”

The spokesperson questioned whether the researchers controlled for other factors, such as new housing construction and overall economic conditions. The spokesperson raised concerns about generalizing the findings from a single city to a larger nationwide trend.

Additionally, the spokesperson said the researchers’ method of tracking new Airbnb listings was flawed because it relied on when a user “joined” the platform. The spokesperson said someone can sign up for the site as a guest, but not become a host for years, which makes it difficult to track changes in listings over time.

To measure Airbnb’s impact, the researchers looked at the overall number of listings in neighborhoods as the degree to which they were clustered on specific blocks. They divided “crime” into three categories: social disorder, private conflict, and public violence.

Social disorder refers to noise complaints, public intoxication, and a general rowdiness often associated with tourists. O’Brien hypothesized that the minor impact Airbnb has on this definition of crime could be because social disorder often occurs near bars and restaurants, which are generally in the downtown area, not in the more suburban or residential areas where Airbnb listings are concentrated.

Private conflict refers to domestic violence or landlord-tenant disputes, anything that points to disturbances inside the home. This didn’t spike either during the period studied. But the third type of crime, public violence, did. These are fights, robberies, 911 reports of someone wielding a knife, and so on.

The paper builds on existing sociological theories of social organization: the idea that a community of close-knit neighbors who know and trust each other establishes and enforces its own social norms, reducing crime. Essentially, the researchers found that what’s behind the increase in violence is not the presence of tourists or visitors, but the absence of long-term residents who are integrated in the community.

Importantly, this dynamic takes time to appear. If the issue was simply the presence of rowdy tourists, crime would increase simultaneously with a spike in the number of visitors. Instead, the researchers found a lag—violence tended to spike a year or two after an increase in listings.

“Every time we look at the lag further back, it’s actually more impactful,” O’Brien says.

This “erosion” also eventually spreads from public to private: The researchers noted an increase in private violence that appears two years after an increase in listings.

The researchers said they relied on when a user “joined” Airbnb because the platform does not make more specific data available. 

“Airbnb is correct that the data on listings could be stronger,” says Babak Heydari, one of the authors. “The scraped data are not guaranteed to be perfect. But this weakness serves only to highlight their own lack of transparency.”

The researchers hope to replicate their results in other cities and use the results for a constructive conversation on regulation and one which considers how the platform affects social norms. “The current regulations are not designed with this mechanism in mind, O’Brien says.


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Using bullets like fingerprints: How South Carolina is using tech to ID guns used in crimes

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… counties in South Carolina, along with Robeson and Scotland counties in North Carolina. At … sites nationwide, three are in South Carolina.
The technology essentially analyzes the … agent in charge of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s NIBIN …

Author:
Read more here >>> usnews

251 children died from abuse, neglect in Texas last year — crimes on the rise

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two-hundred and fifty-one children in Texas died in 2020 due to abuse and neglect: and these types of incidents are making an unfortunate spike.

The most common causes of these fatalities, a report from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services shows, were drowning, unsafe sleep, and physical/medical neglect. Twenty-eight children died due to vehicle-related incidents, eight of which died after being left inside a hot car.

Child Protective Services were not yet investigating or providing services for the child at the time of death, the department says.

Child neglect/abuse fatalities in Texas year-to-year:

  • 2016 — 222 deaths
  • 2017 — 172 deaths
  • 2018 — 211 deaths
  • 2019 — 235 deaths
  • 2010 — 251 deaths

Over the past 10 years, children ages 3 and younger made up nearly 80% of all confirmed child abuse and neglect fatalities. Last year, however, there was an increase in child deaths in children over the age of 10 — these include youths who died by suicide.

Physical abuse involving blunt force trauma by a father or parent’s boyfriend made up 62% of all confirmed cases. And data shows the abuse rarely comes from outside the home, saying:

In all confirmed cases of abuse and neglect, parents continue to be the most common perpetrators.”

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Male children made up more than half of all these fatalities, the data says. Hispanic children make up the largest percentage of abuse/neglect fatalities, while Black children die from maltreatment at a higher rate than any other ethnicity in Texas, DFPS reports.

Fifty-five percent of children who died from these causes were too young for school and not enrolled in daycare. Six of them were being cared for by illegal daycare operations.

In 2020, Texas DFPS says there were 92 near fatalities related to abuse and neglect.

MORE

DID YOU KNOW? A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential. Anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony.

RESOURCES:

  • To report neglect, abuse or exploitation, visit Texas DFPS online hotline or call (800) 252-5400.
  • If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Author: Russell Falcon
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

ABC13 to host town hall exploring hate crimes against Asian Americans

Author: Miya Shay

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — As concern grows nationally amid rising violence against our Asian American and Pacific Islander community, experts say data from Houston recording these hate crimes could be skewed.

ABC13, Houston’s news leader, is hosting a one-hour town hall Wednesday (7-8 p.m. CDT), highlighting how acts of violence, discrimination and microaggressions against the AAPI community have unfolded across southeast Texas.

Eyewitness News reporter Miya Shay is gathering a panel of law enforcement and community leaders, and getting answers to your questions about this important issue.

Panelists for Wednesday’s town hall include:

  • Bobby Singh, Sikh community activist
  • David Shin, Korean community activist
  • Rogene Calvert, OCA Houston board member and community activist
  • Houston Police Department and FBI representatives

Viewers are urged to submit their questions for Wednesday’s town hall here:
(On mobile? You can open our form by tapping here.)

Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit organization which advocates on behalf of Asian crime victims, reports out of nearly 4,000 hate incidents in the U.S. since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100 happened in Texas.

In the aftermath of the Atlanta spa shooting that killed eight people on March 16, HPD said the department had “not seen an increase in hate crimes toward the Asian community.”

Experts, however, believe Houston and other cities could be underreporting crimes against the AAPI community, where some segments of the population are less likely to report hate incidents, according to AAPI Data, a California-based policy and research nonprofit.

About 5.3% of Texans identify as Asian, while 7% of Houstonians are in the AAPI community, according to the U.S. Census.

The virtual town hall will stream exclusively on ABC13.com and ABC13’s apps for your smartphone, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and Google TV devices. Just search “ABC13 Houston.”

Editor’s note: Video above is from a previously published story.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Ted Cruz changes course and votes to support bill to address hate crimes against Asian Americans

Author Bryan Mena
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Ted Cruz among a small number of Republicans opposing bill to address hate crimes against Asian Americans

Bryan Mena

This article originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Texas Attorney General sues in effort to force Biden administration

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday sued[2] the Biden administration over its new procedures for deporting undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes and asked a federal judge to compel the Department of Homeland Security to take them into custody before they are released by local or state law enforcement.

At issue in the suit filed jointly with the state of Louisiana are detainer requests that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sends to state and local law enforcement agencies. The requests inform the agencies that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement intends to take custody of an undocumented person upon completion of their sentence. The detainer asks local law enforcement personnel to hold the person for up to 48 hours so they can be transferred to ICE’s custody and begin the deportation process.

Law enforcement agencies are not required by the federal government to comply with a detainer, though a 2017 Texas law[3] mandates state and local authorities to honor such requests. Advocates have questioned the constitutionality[4] of detainers, which ask authorities to hold people after they’ve completed their sentences. ICE has also erroneously issued detainers[5] for U.S. citizens.

President Joe Biden’s acting homeland security secretary in January ordered a review[6] of the agency’s immigration enforcement policies and released interim guidance that prioritized the deportation of people who posed a threat to national security, border security and public safety.

A memo released by ICE[7] in February further clarified that guidance. It states that immigration officials should prioritize the deportation of people who have engaged in terrorism, unlawfully entered the U.S. after Nov. 1 or were convicted of an aggravated felony.

The interim guidance “does not require or prohibit the arrest, detention or removal of any noncitizen,” wrote Acting ICE Director Tae D. Johnson. But detainers for people who fall outside priority areas are subject to “advance review.”

That’s a shift from the Trump administration, when anyone in the country illegally was a priority target[8] for deportation. ICE officials said the new guidance is necessary to allocate the agency’s limited resources to the most important cases.

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union urged the Biden administration[9] to end the detainer requests altogether, saying they insert local authorities into immigration enforcement processes, eroding trust between the police and immigrant communities.

In the suit, Paxton alleged that the Biden administration is “refusing to take custody” of immigrants with criminal records and allowing them to “roam free.” In February, the AP reported[10] that ICE had dropped 26 detainer requests in Texas since the new directive took effect. Most people were convicted of drunk driving or drug charges, though ICE had reportedly misapplied the policy when it prepared to drop three requests for people who committed crimes that should’ve been prioritized. None of the three were ultimately released.

Paxton argues in the lawsuit that ICE has “rescinded dozens of detainer requests” that had been issued to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and is failing to issue new ones for some people subject to deportation. He contends that the Biden administration’s guidance narrowly focuses on people convicted of aggravated felonies, such as murder, while neglecting people with drug offenses and those who committed crimes of “moral turpitude.” And he alleges that the changes to immigration enforcement would come at an enormous cost to Texas due to the services the state provides to undocumented immigrants. That argument is rebutted by a 2006 study[11] by then-Texas Comptroller Susan Combs found that undocumented immigrants have a net positive financial impact to the state.

Paxton asks the court to declare the federal government’s guidance unlawful, prevent ICE from implementing the policy, and award Texas and Louisiana “costs of this action and reasonable attorney’s fees.”

A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

The suit is the latest in a series of legal challenges Paxton has brought against the Biden administration since January. Paxton previously sued Biden[12] over a 100-day deportation moratorium, alleging the moratorium is unconstitutional and violates an agreement between DSH and Texas. A federal judge in February effectively blocked the ban on deportations from taking effect.

Paxton has also sued over Biden’s decision to cancel permits for the Keystone XL pipeline[13] and over new restrictions placed on drilling on public lands.

References

  1. ^ Sign up here. (www.texastribune.org)
  2. ^ sued (www.texasattorneygeneral.gov)
  3. ^ a 2017 Texas law (www.texastribune.org)
  4. ^ questioned the constitutionality (thehill.com)
  5. ^ erroneously issued detainers (www.npr.org)
  6. ^ ordered a review (www.dhs.gov)
  7. ^ memo released by ICE (www.ice.gov)
  8. ^ was a priority target (www.tampabay.com)
  9. ^ urged the Biden administration (thehill.com)
  10. ^ the AP reported (apnews.com)
  11. ^ 2006 study (www.texastribune.org)
  12. ^ sued Biden (www.texastribune.org)
  13. ^ Keystone XL pipeline (www.texastribune.org)

Shawn Mulcahy

Violent gun crimes and homicides are on the rise in Austin — why?

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The city of Austin continues to see an upward trend in gun violence and homicides.

The city’s latest shooting death[1] happened early Tuesday morning in Southeast Austin, at an apartment complex off Bluff Springs Drive.

NeNe Walter, who lives in the complex, says she heard the gun shots, then watched as her safe haven became a crime scene.

“I kind of moved over here thinking it was a safe place,” Walter said. “It makes me feel kind of like I have to watch my surroundings all the time.”

Tuesday’s shooting marks the fifth homicide in Austin in just the past two weeks. There have been 21 total homicides so far this year. They’ve been spread across town.

For perspective by April 6, 2020, there had been 14 homicides citywide, and by April 6, 2019, just seven. Austin didn’t reach 21 homicides until the summer in both of those years.

This year, all but three of the homicide deaths have been from gun violence.

APD data from 2015 to 2020 shows violent crimes using firearms more than doubled in the past five years.

APD data from 2015 to 2020 shows violent crimes involving guns more than doubled over the past five years.

On Tuesday, neighbors who live near Chicano Park in East Austin gathered to put a call out to stop the violence. Their gathering followed a shooting and stabbing at the park Sunday[2], as families were gathered there to celebrate Easter.

“Please stop the violence. Don’t do it here in our park,” cried one neighbor, Laura Estrada.

The East Town Lake Citizens Neighborhood Association is asking the Austin Parks and Recreation Department for better lighting in the park and APD for more patrols in the area, especially on weekends when large groups are gathered there.

“We need community policing,” said the association’s president, Bertha Rendon Delgado. “We need APD to be with the community. This is where the conversation starts.”

In an interview with KXAN Tuesday afternoon, Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon told KXAN that he doesn’t have a definitive answer as to why homicides and violent gun crimes are increasing so much in Austin. However, he says population growth and more guns being in the community are both likely contributors.

Chacon says his department has seen a high number of crimes that involve stolen guns, recently.

To get to the bottom of why violent crimes are happening more frequently, Chacon has launched an iniative to study what’s going on in the city and then come up with specific ways to combat it. He’s recently pulled detectives from multiple specialized units to begin analyzing every case involving a gun that APD handles, as well as stolen weapons cases.

APD employees are working on the initiative daily, and once they begin seeing trends in their data, Chacon says they’ll be able to come up with better ways to police preventatively.

References

  1. ^ latest shooting death (www.kxan.com)
  2. ^ shooting and stabbing at the park Sunday (www.kxan.com)

Jacqulyn Powell