Denver, CO where the homeless are the gift that keeps on giving.

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Denver, Colorado

In downtown Denver it seems that the homeless come in never ending waves. Once a sweep is done, another wave shows up eventually. 

Earlier this year the City of Denver conducted a sweep of homeless camps, forcing or so they thought the homeless off of the streets and into shelters and the like.

What really happened was the majority just found a new place to camp, along near the south Platte, some in neighboring residential areas where one resident reported to local media recently that she had, witnessed two homeless individuals having sex right out in the open, in her neighborhood…which by the way is nothing new for those who actually live right off of the mall area and in and around 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th avenues.

The point is, after the sweep earlier this year, the homeless numbers in particular areas dropped off, but they didn’t just stop being homeless or disappear. They camped out elsewhere.

Some blame it on the legalization of cannabis which I am sure brought some to Denver but it did not create the homeless issues that they face. Those very same issues have been plaguing the city for quite some time, for years in fact, prior to the legalization of recreational cannabis.

Now it seems the homeless have flocked right back to familiar territory. Drive down Lawrence by the shelter…you’ll find homeless hanging out, camped out and waiting…

The city has come out and said “we firmly believe people are best served indoors.” To some extent I agree with that idea, the intent is very well meant. But the idea itself is not one that will be successful at this juncture.

So here are the issues currently, residents, the city, business owners, visitors to the city, they all want the homeless out of sight and out of mind so to speak. So they came up with a solution designed to provide them shelter and a place to go, programs that are intended to help them become productive members of society.

But are the well wishers and planners truly understanding the issues that the homeless face?

Do they get it?

What is causing the homeless individuals to become homeless?

For some it is job loss or that the jobs they have simply do not pay enough for them to afford rent along with other housing costs.

Some suffer from mild to severe mental health issues that are under-treated, not treated at all or they are self treating through substance abuse.

Some are addicted to alcohol or drugs

Some suffer from a physical disability

Some have no family or friends that they can rely upon to help them so they all end up living on the streets.

A huge issue that the homeless complain about is the violence, assaults, filth and conditions at the shelters. The vast majority of the homeless will tell you that they would rather sleep on the street than in a shelter because the shelters are filthy, they have bed bugs, some are assaulted at shelters, hurt, and if you have ever walked through a shelter at night, it is pretty dehumanizing to say the least. 

A lot of the programs so as to help them are designed specifically for helping the homeless obtain housing and jobs. Some of the specialized housing for the homeless have rules, the programs are more in line with transitional housing. 

But to qualify certain conditions have to be met or the homeless is denied the housing or kicked out.

They cannot have priors for most of the transitional housing or if they do it cannot be sex assault and or violent priors, then the issue of substance abuse always comes up. While in most if not all of the transitional housing, they cannot drink or do drugs.

Well, that is a huge part of the homeless population. A lot do in fact suffer from some form of substance abuse, some have prior’s and some have priors that are due to mental illnesses that were never treated properly.

You cannot demand that the homeless give up whatever substance they abuse just so that they can have housing. I’ve heard people say, that if the homeless want off the streets bad enough they’ll give up drinking or doing drugs.

That is not a fair expectation to be honest. You don’t just expect a long time heavy drinker or drug user to give up something they are addicted to. It’s not instantaneous or easy and depending on the level of abuse, could potentially be dangerous to just give up cold turkey.

Then you have those that do want off the street but can’t afford housing. It’s easy to tell them to move to a suburb that may be more affordable, which then usually leaves them facing the hard cold reality of lack of transportation.

And some homeless, for them that is all that they know. If you have ever seen Shawshank Redemption, when Red gets out of prison, he struggles to adapt to life on the outside.

Think about a long term homeless individual, perhaps one that wasn’t ever really good at holding down a job, not drinking or using drugs, the family gig…it would not be easy for them.

So what we are left with is this really ugly circle that just doesn’t stop. We can’t force someone to seek help when they are unwilling to seek it out. We cannot force someone to seek a better life if they are content with the life that they have or if a better life is simply out of reach for various reasons and we cannot force someone to seek shelter if they do not want it.

The fact is, we cannot force them to head to any of the resources offered if they do not want them or if it, in the long run is not truly a long term solution.

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The problem that the city faces is, legally just because the homeless aren’t pretty to look at they can’t really stop them from being homeless.

The fantasy, the expectation and desire in this case are simply not in line with the realities of why the homeless are homeless and the solutions are far from long term.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

 

Stockholm Murder suspect drank blood from victim

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The Vampire Murder Case –

Because it’s the day before Halloween…an unsolved murder of the vampire variety seemed very much in order.

32 year old prostitute Lilly Lindeström was found murdered in her apartment in the Atlas area of Stockholm, Sweden, May 4, 1932. Although some reports state that she was discovered on May 7, 1932 making the date she was murdered May 4, 1932.

In either case, she was murdered with a vampire twist.

Not only has her case never been solved, it took an unusual twist when police who were investigating the case made the rather gruesome discovery that her killer actually drained her body of  blood and quite possibly drank her blood, thus dubbing him the Atlas Vampire.

It was determined that Lilly had been dead for a couple of days at least, before police discovered her, the autopsy showed that she had blunt force trauma to her head, the cause of death was ruled repeated blows from a blunt object to Lilly’s head, she was found naked and face down on her bed.

Reports showed that she either willingly or unwillingly had sex prior to being killed because a condom was protruding from her rectum still, her clothes were neatly folded on a chair next to the body.

What was unusual was that officers found a gravy ladle at the crime scene. Through inspection of her corpse they realized that the killer drained her body of  blood and police suspected that the ladle was used so as to drink Lilly’s blood. They also found saliva on her neck and body.

Of course, given her profession a number of her clients were questioned and released. It is a fact that her last client was her killer, the problem is, prostitutes don’t usually keep detailed records of who their clients are…

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To this day, her murder remains unsolved.

It was for sure not the most well thought out murder of all time considering the fact that the crime scene did contain a rather abundant source of bodily fluids, it was however committed long before the use of DNA testing.

Also, given Lilly’s profession, how did the killer know that she hadn’t arranged another client visit after his? Then again, she most likely went out to pick up her clients so…

She was a victim of opportunity and her killer had a taste for blood. He vanished without a trace and may forever be unknown.

May your Halloween be vampire free…

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

FBI Director James Comey – finally takes his stand

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US Federal Bureau of Investigation

Yesterday, FBI Director James Comey sent a three paragraph letter to Congress that said the FBI had uncovered new intel with regards to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal via an investigation into Anthony Weiner.

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Ever since the announcement hit the media, seemingly crawling out of the woodwork and just about every corner are people who claim that James Comey is trying to mess with the election due to the timing of the letter to Congress, others claim that he is trying to save face, few even think that he’s lost it…

Reports hit the wire that he blatantly disregarded the DOJ by announcing the letter, blah, blah, blah.

Then on the other hand, this role reversal happened as well. Now Trump supporters who were once pretty much against the guy are digging him.

Everyone has an opinion, yet no one actually looks at the message that is so clearly sent. It’s absolutely mind boggling.

Director James Comey sent a message yesterday and it wasn’t in the letter that he sent to Congress.

Look, he never technically said that he would reopen the investigation into Clinton in his letter, he said that the FBI has become aware of some new emails, he only implied that he would investigate her, again and we all know that the DOJ pretty much tied his hands during the first investigation.

We all felt that he let his FBI down, he let his agents down, the public and law enforcement as a whole became tainted through his enabling someone other than himself to direct an investigation because they liked the suspect more than they liked the potential outcome of the investigation.

He allowed for himself to get caught up in politics and lost…that is not the James Comey that walked into the FBI.

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So this letter comes as no surprise to me. I guarantee you, hands down without a doubt whatsoever, that his timing has nothing to do with the election.

His motives are simpler than that.

He lost a lot of respect through his investigation into Hillary Clinton and failing to file any charges once details of how the investigation was actually handled started hitting the news. He lost not only respect but I would imagine some of his dignity.

Yesterday may have been more a matter of him telling the powers that be, “do not to tell the Director of the FBI how to do his job, conduct an investigation and let a potential criminal go with no punishment whatsoever.” Which is what happened with the Clinton email scandal investigation in the first place.

He took an oath and I believe that his move was motivated by that, and only that.  

If James Comey did not make this move because of the oath that he took, well then the only other logical reason to have made such a move is to be the guy that falls on the sword.

The martyr…

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How many of you honestly believe either Trump or Clinton would keep James Comey around knowing that they cannot own him or his FBI?

Besides, do you really believe that this man is willing to work for the next administration regardless of who wins the election?

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

Denver, Colorado Police Department – changing use force policy

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Denver, Colorado

In a move that I don’t often make, I am going to praise the efforts of the Denver, Colorado Police Department, in fact, I commend them for taking this very huge step forward.

They announced this week that they plan to rewrite the department’s use of force policy. I’ve said this so many times before, in all reality police departments across the US don’t really need the DOJ to step in and fix everything if a police department is willing and ready for change.

As it turns out, one of the departments that I often praise has paid attention to what has been happening with other police departments across the nation and has taken it upon themselves to change the way they react.

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Instead of telling officers what is legally allowed in terms of using force, they will now be encouraged and allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary.
That translates to not shooting first and asking questions later, which DPD never really had an issue with but why wait until one surfaces?

They will be provided special training and models to help guide them on how to better react to different situations, according to DPD Chief Robert White.  

“I’m of the opinion it’s just not good enough for officers to take legal actions, but they also need to make sure those actions are absolutely necessary that’s where we are going.”

What citizens don’t often see or realize is that some police departments across the country have been watching the violence, the actions of both officers and citizens and they have listened to how citizens feel and they are now taking steps to change different aspects of policing.

That’s pretty important.

The Denver police department has already included a section to its operations manual that requires officers to de-escalate situations when reasonable and of course practical.

They included a section that says that officers now have a duty to render aid after they have shot a suspect or if they used physical force on a suspect if the situation is deemed safe to do so.

Chief White has also vowed to listen to input and idea’s which shows. What’s more is that the department did not take this process lightly. They consulted with something like 14 other departments, some of which were, Seattle, San Diego, Kansas City, Mo, a board of directors.

They even looked at input from from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Police Executive Research Forum.

The Denver Police Department is proving that they can lead by example. They watch, listen and actually choose to hear what is said by citizens, not just in Denver but nationwide and step forward to make the changes that are needed.

I commend them for the dedication they have for the community that they serve.

Success is not about being the best. It’s about always getting better.

Clearly the Denver Police Department gets that.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

US Department of Justice on a witch-hunt

Loretta Lynch

Sorting out the Eric Garner case

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It’s a touchy case with a lot of questions and some are accusing the DOJ of being on what is considered a witch-hunt, while others are praising the efforts of the DOJ to investigate the case of Eric Garner and the chokehold.

Officially, the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office attributed Eric Garner’s death to a combination of a chokehold, compression of his chest, and poor health.

What shocked the world was the fact that he was left lying on the ground in front of officers for about 7 minutes while they waited for an ambulance to arrive. After Eric lost consciousness, officers turned him onto his side to ease his breathing.

What’s more is that no one gave him CPR because they “believed” that he was breathing. He was pronounced dead at the hospital about an hour later.

An hour later, not a couple of minutes but an hour. What makes the case so bad however is that he plead with officers and yelled out, at least 11 times “I can’t breathe,” before passing out.

Three simple words, that were ignored, three simple words that made the world stop and gasp for air collectively.

The ME found that Eric died as a result of “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” And so, his death was ruled a homicide.

At this juncture it makes no difference whether or not he was breaking the law and/or resisted arrest.

The chokehold maneuver was against NYPD policy at the time and still is, so ultimately, who is responsible for the man’s death?

The officers, Eric or the EMT’s?

The facts are in black and white, they come around the time of the chokehold which is why I look at the DOJ’s involvement into the case as being crucial.

Did any of the officers go into this arrest with malicious intent to harm or kill?

I am going to go out on a limb here and say no, they did not.

They acted too aggressively and failed to follow policy because of the use of the chokehold.

Which leaves the questions, if NYPD is dealing with a suspect and the situation becomes a medical emergency are they trained to perform CPR/first aid and when calling for an ambulance what priority are suspects given?

Are NYPD officers inadequately trained when it comes to medical emergencies? Putting someone in a chokehold until they pass-out is actually quite dangerous.

Yes, police hear all of the time that someone can’t breathe, they are hurting them etc.

The question then becomes, are they so used to hearing it that they sort of ignore it when a suspect says that he/she cannot breathe?

If the question is answered honestly, then it confirms what most of society suspects with regards to Eric Garner.

I’ve seen police deal with suspects who say that they cannot breathe and the attitude is more or less “the guy is faking it” so they put them in cuffs, turn around and wait for another car or an ambulance or just chat with other officers, you know for a little bonding time, while ignoring the suspect and his or her medical needs.

So can the officers be charged with any criminal charges because of the use of the chokehold and the fact that he was left for 7 long minutes on a sidewalk dying?

For all we know, he may have been already dying at the point at which he was passed out and rolled onto his side.

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The issue that the DOJ faces however which is just as crucial, many are wondering if they can conduct a fair and impartial investigation? Is this a witch-hunt or is it is a fair investigation?

The DOJ changed the team of agents and lawyers investigating the Eric Garner case in the hopes that it would jump start it back into action, which can be viewed as a way to lead a horse to water so to speak.

Switching out a team leaves the impression that someone is not getting the answers that they want so they will bring in someone who will provide the answers they want to hear.

It also carries the subtle hint that someone on that team may have had an agenda that the rest of the team didn’t agree with…it just does not sit really well with the public.

The DOJ does not have the full trust of the public after the Hillary Clinton email scandal investigation so…changing out the team really does have some of society feeling that the DOJ is in fact, not capable of conducting a fair and impartial investigation.

In the end the DOJ needs to determine at what point did the arrest of Eric Garner go from a simple arrest to being a homicide, one that they can legally charge officers for?

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

Security – is the Internet of Things ready for the next big one?

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IoT

The big question this week is whether or not the world can secure its Internet of Things devices in time for the next attack, after last Friday’s attack, which left many in the tech industry reeling.

I know a lot of talk has gone around about who might have been responsible for it as well but that is truly the wrong question at this point because it is the least important right now.

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The attack that disabled websites across much of the continental US and Europe last week was what is known as a DDoS attack.

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Dyn, who happens to be a very a major provider of internet infrastructure, was swarmed by data requests from a network of hijacked devices. Normally it’s machines but, in this case it turned out to be connected devices.

It has been reported that last Friday’s attack appears to have been caused by hijacked DVRs and web-enabled cameras. As it turned out many of the DVR’s and web-enabled cameras contained circuit boards and software manufactured by the Chinese tech firm Hangzhou Xiongmai.

The firm is well known for selling completely insecure cameras and DVR’s, not to mention as we now know, many have been hacked and placed into botnets such as the Mirai botnet where they participate in DDoS attacks.

Many of the used devices are in fact infected by Mirai.

Hangzhou Xiongmia initially shot out that it was the fault of end users who failed to change passwords…Hangzhou Xiongmia did end up recalling something like 4.3 million circuit boards used in cameras.

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Mirai botnet…

By the way, it is rumored that over half a million IoT devices are already infected Mirai IoT malware.

Mirai was built for 2 core purposes:

  1. Locate and compromise IoT devices to further grow the botnet.
  2. Launch DDoS attacks based on instructions received from a remote C&C.

What’s really interesting about Mirai was that it was hardcoded with an avoid list. That’s right, a list of IP’s it is to avoid infecting. The list includes the USPS, the Department of Defense, HP, GE, The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority…

That list is pretty intriguing to say the least. I can see some of the groups to avoid on the list but the USPS? No offense to the USPS, but why?

It’s left some speculating that the code’s author (s) were concerned with being exposed while others have speculated that list indicates the author (s) learned the art of coding from a Wiki page or from popular media which makes some think the author (s) are not pros.

Which is irrelevant at this stage because Mirai is doing it’s job quite nicely.

Mirai also comes equipped with an added bonus which leaves users who are trying to remove it pretty frustrated.

  1. Help Mirai maximize the attack potential of the botnet devices.
  2. Prevent similar removal attempts from other malware.

If you have had a chance to look at any of the code for Mirai you might have noticed that part of the code appears to be in Russian which leads many to believe that the author or some of the authors are in fact Russian hackers or hackers who are originally from Russia.

Still the question at the end of the day is pretty simple:

The real issue we face here is, with so many IoT devices that are already in homes and offices how can we secure them now?

People don’t normally think about securing a coffee maker when they buy it. The expectation is more or less that it is sold already secured, but what if it wasn’t?

The answer is, most don’t know and they don’t know how to begin testing for it.

I like ShieldsUP!

Before doing that I would make sure to Disable all remote (WAN) access to your devices. To verify that your device is not open to remote access.

Then you need to to scan the following ports: SSH (22), Telnet (23) and HTTP/HTTPS (80/443).

https://www.grc.com/x/portprobe=22

https://www.grc.com/x/portprobe=23

You will want to look for a status of “Stealth” which means that your port is secure.

You will also need to test your router which is no easy task for most. You can read information on that at routersecurity.org.

To be honest however, for most average everyday consumers, this can be very overwhelming so moving forward we need to be thinking of answers that fall in line with how consumers think.

They don’t think like tech experts or tech laymen, they think like consumers.

Some are calling for the Government to regulate IoT security, which is a fine idea but in the meantime…

With so many devices already exposed or at risk.

Some thought to the idea or notion that a fix that is pushed out to devices might be in order.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop