In Views of U.S. Democracy, Widening Partisan Divides Over Freedom to Peacefully Protest. Pew Research Center. September 2, 2020
Majority of Americans say significant changes are needed in the ‘fundamental design and structure of American government’
In assessing the state of U.S. democracy, Americans continue to give their country negative ratings for living up to several key democratic ideals and principles. And in some cases, these assessments have turned less positive since 2018.
Notably, the share of Americans who say the phrase “people are free to peacefully protest” describes the United States very or somewhat well has fallen from 73% t0 60%, with the decline coming almost entirely among Democrats. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 25 pages].
Programs to Collect Data on Law Enforcement Activities: Overview and Issues. Congressional Research Service. Nathan James, Kristin Finklea. July 6, 2020.
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, while he was in the custody of law enforcement, and several other recent high-profile deaths of African Americans at the hands of police, have generated interest in legislation to reform policing practices. Two major pieces of legislation that contain police reform proposals are before Congress: H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020—passed by the House on June 25, 2020—and S. 3985, the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act.
Each bill would establish programs to collect data on a variety of policing activities, such as the use of force, racial profiling, the use of no-knock warrants, and in-custody deaths. In some cases, state and local law enforcement agencies would report these data directly to the Department of Justice (DOJ). In other instances, states would be required to establish systems for collecting required data and reporting them to DOJ. Both pieces of legislation would provide incentives for state and local governments to report data by attaching conditions to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) or the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs.
[PDF format, 17 pages].
Public Trust and Law Enforcement — A Discussion for Policymakers. Congressional Research Service. Nathan James et al. Updated July 13, 2020
Several high-profile incidents where the police have apparently used excessive force against citizens have generated interest in what role Congress could play in facilitating efforts to build trust between the police and the people they serve. This report provides a brief overview of the federal government’s role in police-community relations.
[PDF format, 35 pages].
Amid Protests, Majorities Across Racial and Ethnic Groups Express Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement. Pew Research Center. Kim Parker, Juliana Menasce Horowitz And Monica Anderson. June 12, 2020
Deep partisan divides over factors underlying George Floyd demonstrations
As demonstrations continue across the country to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man killed while in Minneapolis police custody, Americans see the protests both as a reaction to Floyd’s death and an expression of frustration over longstanding issues. Most adults say tensions between black people and police and concerns about the treatment of black people in the U.S. – in addition to anger over Floyd’s death – have contributed a great deal to the protests, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 24 pages].
Tracking and Disrupting the Illicit Antiquities Trade with Open Source Data. RAND Corporation. Matthew Sargent et al. May 12, 2020.
The illicit antiquities market has become an area of concern for policymakers. It is fueled by a well-documented rise in looting at archaeological sites and a fear that the proceeds of such looting may be financing terrorism or rogue states. Efforts to craft effective policy responses are hindered by the lack of data and evidence on two fronts: the size of the market and the network structure of participants. In lieu of reliable evidence on these two fronts, the conversation has been dominated by speculation and hypotheses and has generated some widely accepted theories of how the illicit antiquities market operates.
In this report, the authors compile evidence from numerous open sources to outline the major policy-relevant characteristics of that market and to propose the way forward for developing policies intended to disrupt illicit networks. The approach uses multiple methods and data sources, with the understanding that no single piece of evidence can provide a complete picture of the market and that only by cross-referencing and triangulating among various sources can salient market characteristics be illuminated. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 166 pages].
Catalyzing Policing Reform with Data: Policing Typology for Los Angeles Neighborhoods. Urban Institute. Ashlin Oglesby-Neal, Alena Stern, Kathryn L.S. Pettit. May 12, 2020
Strong community-police relationships are essential to public safety, and these relationships influence how communities engage with the police. The authors created a typology based on multiple aspects of policing that reveals a relationship between resident-initiated and police-initiated activity, and explores how that relationship varies across neighborhoods. They found that resident calls for service and police stops and arrests generally increase together, and neighborhoods with high amounts of activity tend to have a greater proportion of violent crime and serious calls for service. The neighborhoods with high activity also tend to have wider racial disparities in stops and arrests, and more economic hardship. This neighborhood-policing typology can inform conversations about police reform in Los Angeles and also serve as an example of how open data can be a powerful tool for local movements for a more equitable criminal justice system in other cities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 34 pages].
Countering Drug-Impaired Driving: Addressing the Complexities of Gathering and Presenting Evidence in Drug-Impaired Driving Cases. RAND Corporation. Camille Gourdet et al. May 7, 2020.
Although alcohol-related impaired driving continues to be the primary cause of fatal automobile accidents in the United States, drug-impaired driving has emerged as a growing threat to public safety. Identifying and prosecuting cases of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) requires the engagement of three important actors within the criminal justice system: law enforcement, forensic toxicologists, and prosecutors. Each of these actors plays a crucial role in gathering, interpreting, or presenting evidence of drug-impaired driving to build a successful case. Meticulous observational and chemical evidence collection and skilled, simple interpretation of this evidence is particularly important in a DUID case because such cases can be more complex and difficult to prove than alcohol-related impaired driving cases. Although blood alcohol concentration levels have been established and accepted as reliable and valid evidence of alcohol-impaired driving, no equivalent technique yet exists that correlates an amount of a drug in the body with the degree of drug-related impairment. To examine this issue, RTI International and the RAND Corporation convened a two-day workshop. The participants discussed the challenges, opportunities, and complexities faced by law enforcement, forensic toxicologists, and prosecutors in their roles collecting, interpreting, and presenting evidence in cases of driving under the influence of drugs. Using these discussions, the panel members identified and ranked needs for law enforcement, forensic toxicologists, and prosecutors to successfully identify and prosecute DUID cases. This report provides the prioritized list of needs and accompanying context from the discussion that resulted from this effort. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 24 pages].
Face Recognition Technologies: Designing Systems that Protect Privacy and Prevent Bias. RAND Corporation. Douglas Yeung et al. May 14, 2020
The objective of face recognition technologies (FRTs) is to efficiently detect and recognize people captured on camera. Although these technologies have many practical security-related purposes, advocacy groups and individuals have expressed apprehensions about their use. The research reported here was intended to highlight for policymakers the high-level privacy and bias implications of FRT systems. In the report, the authors describe privacy as a person’s ability to control information about them. Undesirable bias consists of the inaccurate representation of a group of people based on characteristics, such as demographic attributes. Informed by a literature review, the authors propose a heuristic with two dimensions: consent status (with or without consent) and comparison type (one-to-one or some-to-many). This heuristic can help determine a proposed FRT’s level of privacy and accuracy. The authors then use more in-depth case studies to identify “red flags” that could indicate privacy and bias concerns: complex FRTs with unexpected or secondary use of personal or identifying information; use cases in which the subject does not consent to image capture; lack of accessible redress when errors occur in image matching; the use of poor training data that can perpetuate human bias; and human interpretation of results that can introduce bias and require additional storage of full-face images or video. This report is based on an exploratory project and is not intended to comprehensively introduce privacy, bias, or FRTs. Future work in this area could include examinations of existing systems, reviews of their accuracy rates, and surveys of people’s expectations of privacy in government use of FRTs. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 88 pages].
Commercial privacy protection and competition law have long been jointly regulated by a single authority – the FTC – in the US. Though managed separately, both types of law have at their heart a desire to protect consumers. Antitrust law tries to ensure that consumers’ ability to choose between products is not restricted by anti-competitive acts. In the US, commercial privacy is protected through consumer protection law, which tries to ensure that consumers’ ability to choose between products is not restricted by misleading information. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 28 pages].
Real-Time Crime Centers in Chicago: Evaluation of the Chicago Police Department’s Strategic Decision Support Centers. RAND Corporation. John S. Hollywood et al. December 4, 2019.
Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs) are the Chicago Police Department’s district-level real-time crime centers, launched in January 2017 and expanded in 2018. They serve as command and control centers for staff to gain awareness of what is happening in their districts and decide on responses. SDSCs support daily and weekly planning meetings and provide near–real-time support for detecting, responding, and investigating crimes as they occur. Their objectives are to improve districts’ abilities to reduce crime, hold offenders accountable, improve officer safety, and reduce service times.
In this report, the authors evaluate the processes, organizational structures, and technologies employed in the SDSCs. They also assess the extent to which the introduction of SDSCs was associated with reductions in crime levels in the districts. They find that SDSCs are a promising tool for supporting crime reduction. According to the authors’ models, a district that adds an SDSC can expect to see reductions in at least some of the ten types of major crimes modeled, including shootings, robbery, burglary, and criminal sexual assault.
More broadly, the authors see SDSCs as a promising model for improving law enforcement agencies’ awareness of their communities, improving their decisionmaking, and carrying out more effective and more efficient operations that lead to crime reductions and other policing benefits. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 98 pages].