New research shows that homicide spreads through a city like infectious disease

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Homicide moves through a city in a process similar to infectious disease, according to a new study that may give police a new tool in tracking and ultimately preventing murders.

Using Newark, N.J., as a pilot case, a team of Michigan State University researchers led by April Zeoli successfully applied public health tracking methods to the city’s 2,366 homicides between 1982 and 2008. They found the killings were not randomly located but instead followed a pattern, evolving from the city’s center and moving southward and westward over time.

Like a flu bug that spreads to susceptible groups such as children and the elderly, homicide clusters in Newark — often fueled by gangs and guns — spread to areas consisting largely of poor and minority residents. Over time, the concentration of homicides effectively disappeared from one area and settled in another.

“By using the principles of infectious disease control, we may be able to predict the spread of homicide and reduce the incidence of this crime,” said Zeoli, public health researcher in MSU’s School of Criminal Justice.

The study is one of the first to use analytic software from the field of medical geography to track long-term homicide trends. Zeoli said the method can be done in real time which would allow police to identify emerging hotspots.

The researchers also identified areas of Newark that had no homicide clusters during the 26-year time frame of the study, despite being surrounded by deadly violence.

“If we could discover why some of those communities are resistant,” Zeoli said, “we could work on increasing the resistance of our communities that are more susceptible to homicide.”

Joining Zeoli on the study were criminal justice researchers Jesenia Pizarro and Christopher Melde and medical geographer Sue Grady.

The study is published in Justice Quarterly, a research journal.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129103541.htm

Anti-computer virus software pioneer John McAfee wanted for murder in Belize

 

Police in Belize want to question U.S. anti-computer virus software pioneer John McAfee in connection with the murder of a neighbor he had been quarrelling with, but they say he remains a person of interest at this time and is not a suspect.

McAfee, who invented the anti-virus software that bears his name, has homes and businesses in Belize, and is believed to have settled in the country sometime around 2010.

“He is a person of interest at this time,” said Marco Vidal, head of Belize’s police Gang Suppression Unit. “It goes a bit beyond that, not just being a neighbor.”

Police officers were looking for the software engineer, said Miguel Segura, the assistant commissioner of police.

Asked if McAfee was a suspect, he said: “At this point, no. Our job … is to get all the evidence beyond reasonable doubt that Mr A is the one that killed Mr B.”

“He (McAfee) … can assist the investigation, so there is no arrest warrant for the fellow,” added Segura, who heads the Criminal Investigation Branch.

McAfee’s neighbor, Gregory Viant Faull, a 52-year-old American, was found on Sunday lying dead in a pool of blood after apparently being shot in the head.

McAfee has been embroiled in controversy in Belize before.

His premises were raided in May after he was accused of holding firearms, though most were found to be licensed. The final outcome of the case is pending.

McAfee also owns a security company in Belize as well as several properties and an ecological enterprise.

Reuters was unable to contact McAfee on Monday.

Segura said McAfee had been at odds with Faull for some time. He accused his neighbor of poisoning his dogs earlier this year and filed an official complaint.

“There was some conflict there between (them) … prior to the death of the gentleman,” Segura said. “But those dogs didn’t have a post mortem to see if the toxicology would confirm what type of poison, if any.”

McAfee previously accused the police Gang Suppression Unit of killing his dogs during the May raid.

McAfee was one of Silicon Valley’s first entrepreneurs to amass a fortune by building a business off the Internet.

The former Lockheed systems consultant started McAfee Associates in 1989, initially distributing its anti-virus software as “shareware” on Internet bulletin boards.

He took the company public in 1992 and left two years later following accusations that he had hyped the arrival of a virus known as Michelango, which turned out to be a dud, to scare computer users into buying his company’s products.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/john-mcafee-belize-murder_n_2119941.html

Thanks to SRW for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

Kuwait Death Penalty for Cursing God

Kuwait’s parliament on Thursday provisionally passed amendments to the Gulf state’s penal code stipulating the death penalty for those who curse God, Islam’s Prophet Mohammed or his wives.

Forty-six MPs, including cabinet ministers, voted for the key amendments that will come into effect only after another round of voting and government approval. The second and final vote will take place in two weeks.

Four Shiite MPs voted against the law, a pro-Shiite Sunni lawmaker abstained, while two MPs refused to vote.

Shiite MPs have demanded that the new amendments also enforce the death penalty for anyone who curses their sect’s 12 revered Imams, but the Sunni- dominated parliament rejected their requests.

The move to stiffen penalties for religious crimes came after authorities last month arrested a Shiite tweeter for allegedly cursing the Prophet Mohammed, his wife and some companions.

The suspect, Hamad al-Naqi, is being detained pending further interrogation and trial.

Sectarian tensions have flared in Kuwait between the Sunni majority and Shiites, who form about a third of the native population of 1.17 million, reflecting rising regional tensions between the two Islamic sects.

http://www.france24.com/en/20120412-kuwait-mps-okay-death-penalty-cursing-god

Human Sacrifice to Santa Muerte In Sonora, Mexico

Authorities in the northern Mexican state of Sonora have arrested eight people accused of killing two boys and one woman as human sacrifices for Santa Muerte — the saint of death — officials said Friday.

The victims, two of whom were age 10, were killed and their blood was offered at an altar to the saint, according to Jose Larrinaga, spokesman for state prosecutors. The accused were asking the saint, who is generally portrayed as a skeleton dressed in a long robe and carrying a scythe, for protection, he said.

Santa Muerte is a favorite among criminals and the country’s drug traffickers. The saint, though not recognized by the Catholic Church, has taken off in popularity in recent years.

Details of the case were laid out in a statement from the Sonora State Investigative Police (PEI), which described the cult as a “Satanic sect.”

The first of the three victims was allegedly killed in 2009; the last this month. Their bodies were found in the small mining community of Nacozari de Garcia, some 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of Hermosillo, the state capital.

Many of the accused belong to the same family and one is just 15 years old, the PEI said. Authorities said they began looking into the case when one of the victim’s families reported him missing.

“Nothing like this has ever happened before in the state of Sonora. And it’s not something we’re going to allow,” said Guillermo Padres Elias, state governor.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/30/world/americas/mexico-human-sacrifice/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Illinois Congressman Forced To Leave the House because of Wearing a Hoodie

 

In a dramatic moment on the House floor this morning, Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) was asked to leave the chamber after taking off his suit jacket and revealing that he was wearing a hoodie during a speech in tribute to Trayvon Martin. 

Rush, who donned the hood and put on sunglasses in support of Martin, the Florida teenager who was gunned down last month in a racially-tinged incident, was escorted out of the House chamber after repeated requests by the presiding officer to leave. Wearing a hood or hat while the House is in session is against House rules.

“Racial profiling has to stop Mr. Speaker,” Rush said while taking off his suit jacket, “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”

 George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch official, admitted to shooting Martin last month. Zimmerman’s representatives have asserted he acted in self-defense, but the incident has become a racial touchstone due to allegations of racial profiling associated with the shooting, and the local police’s handling of the investigation.The Congressional Black Caucus led the charge in calling for a federal investigation into the case; they were eventually joined in that demand by President Obama and a number of top Republicans.

Rush continued his speech while the presiding officer, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), repeatedly banged the gavel and told Rush to leave the chamber. When Rush failed to stop his speech, a representative from the Sergeant at Arms office approached Rush and walked out with the Congressman.

Martin’s parents were on Capitol Hill Tuesday to attend a briefing with Congressional Democrats to discuss hate crimes in America. The two testified briefly, thanking members of Congress for their support and calling for the arrest of Zimmerman.

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/28/10904941-congressman-escorted-from-house-after-wearing-hoodie-in-trayvon-martin-tribute

John Wilkes Booth Bobblehead Dolls

 

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Bobblehead dolls of the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln have been pulled from sale at the Gettysburg National Military Park visitors’ center bookstore.

The dolls of John Wilkes Booth with a handgun were removed from shelves on Saturday, a day after a reporter for Hanover’s The Evening Sun newspaper asked about them, officials said.

“On rare occasions, there’s an item that might cause concern, and obviously the bobbleheads appeared to be doing that,” Gettysburg Foundation spokeswoman Dru Anne Neil said Tuesday.

The Booth dolls, featuring big heads attached to the bodies by springs so they bobble, were available for only about a week before the park superintendent, the foundation president and the bookstore manager decided they shouldn’t be for sale, Neil said.

She declined to state the reason for the decision, and messages left Tuesday for the park and the company that operates the bookstore weren’t immediately returned.

The Booth dolls, which are about 7 inches tall and come in boxes that look like the inside of the theater where Lincoln was killed, sell online for about $20 each. They have proved to be popular, as more than 150 of the original run of 250 have been sold, and more are being made, Kansas City, Mo.-based manufacturer BobbleHead LLC said.

“There’s a market there,” sales manager Matt Powers said. “We like to let the customer decide if it’s a good item or not.”

Confederate sympathizer Booth shot and killed Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington in April 1865, as the Civil War was ending. He fled and was tracked into Virginia, where he was killed.

Gettysburg was the site of a July 1863 Civil War battle in which the Union Army repelled a Confederate invasion of the North under Gen. Robert E. Lee. The battle is often considered the turning point of the war.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/john-wilkes-booth-bobblehead-dolls_n_1343697.html?ref=weird-news