Morning Security Brief: Public Safety Perceptions, Flash Mobs, Chinese Detention, and More
A survey examines public perceptions of safety in the United States. A report from the Center For Immigration Studies offers recommendations to improve watch lists. Lawmakers target flash mobs. And more.
►Billions of dollars in safety initiatives, new programs, and new government agencies, but still only 50 percent of Americans feel safer than they did 10 years ago, according to a survey by Federal Signal Corporation. The company administered a survey to more than 2,000 people across the United States to assess feelings toward public safety and emergencies. "This survey speaks volumes to perceptions about the current state of public safety awareness and emergency preparedness and reminds us solutions must come from year-round, community-wide engagement and action," said Joe Wilson, president of Federal Signal's Safety and Security Systems Group in a press release. The survey also showed that respondents feel safer at home than work (96 percent) and that 40 percent consider their city slightly to completely unprepared in the event of an emergency.
►A new report from the Center For Immigration Studies offers recommendations to U.S. agencies to help stop “legitimate” terrorist travel. More needs to be done to address people who come into the county legally through vulnerabilities that exist in border and aviation systems, the report says. Recommendations include fully incorporating biometrics (facial images and fingerprints, specifically) into watch lists to reduce misidentification of travelers and terrorists, giving DHS the ability to revoke visas and conduct more frequent vetting of visa holders to make more information available to more people.
►Lawmakers in Montgomery County, Maryland, are drafting a bill that would target the growing trend of flash mobs. County council members are in talks with the state delegation on the possibility of introducing legislation to the General Assembly that would target crimes committed by mobs, the Washington Times reports. The proposal comes just weeks after a group of 30 youths walked into a Montgomery County 7-Eleven and stole $450 worth of items in a matter of minutes.
►China has drafted a law giving police power to hold dissidents and suspects of state security crimes in secret locations without telling their families . Already, the Chinese government actively detains dissidents in secret locations with little contact with the outside world, but the law would give the government fewer obstacles when doing so. In normal cases, a suspect's family would be notified in 24 hours, but the law makes it optional to notify families in sensitive cases or if contact would hinder the government’s investigation, News Daily reports. Jiang Tianyong, a lawyer in Beijing, said the new law would mean “more people would face the risk of being disappeared.”
►In other news, a U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston rules it legal to film police in the performance of their public duties in a public space. ♦ Authorities raid two New Mexico gun stores and arrest a family for selling guns to Mexican cartel members . ♦ And in the spirit of collaboration, Boston opens the nation’s first airport-based counterterrorism office .