The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Publishes International Child Kidnapping Guide for Law Enforcement
The Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention published these guidelines to help law enforcement agencies prevent and respond to cases of international kidnapping of a child by a noncustodial parent.
In 2017, more than 900 cases of international kidnapping of children across 59 countries were reported to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues. Law enforcement agencies play a critical role in the prevention and resolution of international parental kidnapping.
A Law Enforcement Guide on International Parental Kidnapping describes law enforcement agencies’ role as initial responders and investigators of kidnapping crimes; discusses applicable laws and legal remedies for child recovery and reunification; and outlines considerations for criminal prosecution and extradition of offenders.
U.S. Department of Justice Announces $3.4 Billion in Grants to Aid Crime Victims Nationwide
The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced awards totaling more than $3.4 billion to fund thousands of local victim assistance programs across the country and to help compensate victims in every state for crime-related losses. Distributed through two grant programs administered by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), a component of the Department’s Office of Justice Programs, the awards surpass every other single-year grant amount in the program’s 34-year history. The grants are supported by the Crime Victims Fund, a repository of federal criminal fines, fees, and special assessments. The fund includes zero tax dollars.
Most of the funds—more than $3.3 billion—are being awarded to states under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance Formula Grant Program and will support local government and community-based victim services. In 2017, VOCA grants funded more than 6,700 local organizations across the country. Over the last two years, VOCA-funded programs have reached more than 5.2 million victims, providing services ranging from emergency shelter and transportation to crisis counseling, long-term therapy, and civil legal assistance.
Researchers Improve Accuracy by Combining Testing Methods for Emerging Recreational Drugs
Recreational drug use has been transformed in recent years by an extraordinary surge of psychoactive substances. National Institute of Justice (NIJ)-funded researchers from West Chester University of Pennsylvania developed a drug-testing process designed to assist forensic laboratories in more easily and accurately identifying a host of emerging recreational drugs.
The research team, led by forensic chemist Monica Joshi, chose 30 substances from five classes of psychoactive drugs; each was studied using common reagents (substances that cause a chemical reaction), and, based on the reagent analysis, several were then studied with infrared spectroscopy. The combination of standard microcrystal tests, which rely on visual description of the crystals, and the infrared method showed that for forensic labs, "there is greater value in combination of the two techniques . . . than use of either of them alone."
One of the goals of the project was to establish an online reference library of the microcrystals studied for use by forensic investigators.
National Association for Justice Information Systems’ 39th Annual Conference
The National Association for Justice Information Systems (NAJIS) Annual Conference draws a broad cross-section of participants from across the country, including attendees from rural and urban jurisdictions, national associations, and representatives from agencies with large and small operating criminal justice budgets. The conference offers an opportunity for attendees to learn, network, and share emerging trends along with best practices aimed to help improve the efficiency of government through information sharing.
Attendees will learn about a range of topics related to justice information sharing efforts and how criminal justice practitioners and cross-functional partners are accomplishing extraordinary things together.
Policing the Connected World
Law enforcement agencies are increasingly using social network analysis (SNA) to understand the organization and relationships of gangs and other criminal networks and to analyze data that can be used to focus crime-prevention efforts. This report details the implementation of an SNA program developed by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services in partnership with Yale University.
Created as part of a violence–prevention initiative in New Haven, Connecticut, the Project Longevity SNA program emphasizes the value of community collaboration in the gathering of critical information, such as the locations and membership of these types of groups. Noting that transparency and community involvement in data collection encourages community support, the report also describes the benefits of focused deterrence activities that reduce arrests and increase efficiency. In addition to a detailed introduction to SNA and the ways it can be adapted to community and law enforcement needs, this report provides examples of SNA strategies used in other cities and practical guidelines for implementation.