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ShotSpotter Tech, good for Turks & Caicos Crime Fighting?

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 14, 2022 – ShotSpotter, true to its name, is a gunfire locator that uses acoustic detection from sensors mounted on existing infrastructure to capture and report sounds that may be gunfire and the Opposition PDM party has repeatedly called for its use in the Turks and Caicos to help with the heightened shootings and The Bahamas recently signed a contract with the company.

The company website claims with its tech

  • 90 percent of shootings are reported
  • Police can dispatch to crime scenes in under 60 seconds
  • Police can accurately find crime scenes coming within 82 ft of shots fired\
  • Police find 89 percent of Shell Casings in homicide cases and
  • Victim Transport Time is cut down to 6.8 min on average

But the technology has been subject to some controversy.

The same system was purchased and used in Baltimore since 2018,  but last year when a vote came up to renew the system, former FBI Agent Tyrone Powers told WBFF news, “There’s not a lot of evidence it has been extremely effective– whether its effectiveness is related to the fact that police officers don’t completely understand it, in terms of how effective its been we don’t know we don’t have the empirical data —we do know that it has not led to a lot of convictions so far.”

A similar complaint was made of the system after a study in Saint Louis, Missouri by Police Chief Magazine:  “The study was able to identify only 13 arrests uniquely tied to the Acoustic Gunshot Detection System calls. For a city with between 100 to 200 homicides annually, this is not exactly a great catch.”

Despite the complaints Baltimore still renewed its $760,000 thousand sub subscription showing some faith in the system anyway.

Another consideration for the TCI specifically is the sheer number of calls for gunshot like sounds will all have to be fielded by the local 911 operators and investigated by the police, both of whom in this past year have had several complaints against their responsiveness, and response time.

That aside, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force continues to have extreme difficulty catching the perpetrators of gun crimes, with no one yet held accountable for the more than 20 murders since September third including the heinous incident in which a family’s car was sprayed with bullets killing a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, her partner, their three year old son, and injuring her 7 year-old daughter.

Based on the company’s claims the police would be able to get to crime scenes much faster and maybe even be first on the scene.

The accuracy of the system is also tempting, allowing police to pinpoint exactly where a crime scene is.  The need was clearly demonstrated in the case of that family killed on November 1st.

At that time, Trevor Botting, TCI Police Commissioner admitted that they did not find the family for hours because the shooting was outside the immediate range of where residents had reported hearing shots. Before police could arrive, residents found the grisly scene and walked around possibly trampling and touching evidence.

Magnetic Media, has before received a disturbing video of s resident bouncing shell casings in hand; in other incidents – including the slaughter of a young family – there was widely circulated proof that passersby likely contaminated the crime scene.

There are several testimonials listed by ShotSpotter.

James Sarkos of the Atlantic City Police Department said it increased investigators ability to find shooting scenes accurately and Ralph Evangelous, Former Police Chief of Wilmington North Carolina offered: “We’re finding crime scenes within three to six feet.” Several other police chiefs gushed about not only the accuracy of finding scenes but the amount of shots.

Marvin Dames, a former Minister of Security in The Bahamas, under whom the system was instituted there had said “We have completed sufficient research and are satisfied that this technology will assist us in reducing the high numbers of gun related crime in The Bahamas.”

The TCI’s Cabinet has not given any indication that they are considering the ShotSpotter technology.

Caribbean News

Trial date set for case involving former BVI premier

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#BVI, November 25, 2022 – The trial date for Former Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Andrew Fahie, and his co-accused former BVI Ports Authority Managing Director, Oleanvine Maynard and her son Kadeem, is set for January 9, 2023, in Miami, Florida.

The case will be heard within a two-week trial period.

Fahie, senior BVI port official, Oleanvine Maynard and her son, Kadeem Maynard were allegedly involved in money laundering and intent to import more than 5kg (11lb) of cocaine to the US through the BVI. The most recent charge is that of Interstate and Foreign Travel in Aid of Racketeering.

Charges filed in the US said Fahie had agreed a total of $700,000 payment to allow traffickers to use BVI ports with an undercover informant.

The three were all arrested by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials in Florida, who disguised themselves as cocaine traffickers from Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel – the largest supplier of illegal drugs to the US market.

Currently, Fahie is out on bail at US$1 million.

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Crime

Over a Hundred arrested in £48 Million dollar scam in UK

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, November 25, 2022 – More than a hundred people have been arrested in a phone scam that duped more than 70,000 UK citizens out of at least £48 million.

The announcement was made by the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday after its biggest ever fraud operation.  The Met says it took down the website iSpoof which it is describing as  ‘an international one stop spoofing shop’.

Any criminal after paying via bitcoin, could use the website to ‘iSpoof’ or pretend to be someone else to steal data or money.  iSpoof worked by disguising their phone numbers so they seemed trustworthy.  After paying, criminals made millions of calls trying to trick residents into giving away one time bank passcodes or outright sending them money.  Fraudsters logged on and pretended to be representatives of major banks across the United Kingdom including Barclays, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds, Halifax, First Direct, Natwest, Nationwide and tax officers and other official offices.

“Almost 20 people every minute of the day were being contacted by scammers hiding behind false identities using the site,” at one point the Met said.

The site which was created in December 2020 came under investigation in June 2021.

iSpoof had over 59,000 user accounts and fraudsters were logging in  from the UK, The Netherlands, France, Ireland and several other areas.  Police say they are focusing on the UK violators that spent over £100 of Bitcoin to use the site first.

Detective Superintendent Helen Rance, of the Cyber Crime Unit said, “Our message to criminals who have used this website is we have your details and are working hard to locate you, regardless of where you are.”

The suspected organiser of the website has also been caught.

The initial 70,000 victims were to be contacted on Thursday but the police said as many as 200,000 victims were targeted in England alone.  The site was finally busted in an operation that involved the UK’s National Crime Agency, Europol, Eurojust, the Dutch authorities and the FBI.

The Met said losses could be far higher than the initial £48 million figure because fraud is vastly underreported.

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Crime

Police will continue Anti-Gang Operations, Governor says Rahming threatened officers with Lethal Force

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2022 – ‘Anti-Gang Policing Operations will continue’ was the decisive first line in Governor Nigel Dakin’s statement obtained by Magnetic Media on Thursday after the death of “gang leader” Brandon Rahming; answering one of the main questions of islanders who are hoping to see peace restored to the streets of Providenciales.

Dakin, who heads National Security for the Turks and Caicos Islands maintained that the death of suspects is not ever an outcome police seek out, but as law enforcers, he maintained members will not hesitate “If the Police Officer fears for his life, or another’s life.”

The Governor said Rahming threatened the police with lethal force.

“In a pre-planned policing operation, he is reported to have chosen to confront and threaten, with lethal force, the Police and was shot dead. An associate sensibly chose instead to surrender, and is in Police custody.”

He assured residents that the significant policing operations will continue across the islands.

“This is by no means the end to the Policing Operations you have witnessed in the last month Rahming’s death does not mean we can relax. The Police are on the front foot and intend to stay there. Our continued development of the Forces anti-gang capability therefore continues. The Bahamas contingent will remain with us while newly recruited specialist firearms officers are embedded in the RTCIPF.”

Police also expect to be able to give some families closure as the two weapons recovered from the scene will be forensically examined and should help resolve some of the murders for which Rahming may have been responsible.

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