Posts Tagged Crime

Publications: Sandia Report Draws Lessons Learned From 23 ‘Perfect Heists’

Deception, patience are common ingredients
While methods and implementation of the heists varied greatly, there were common factors. At least one form of deception was used in 21 of the heists, ranging from impersonating law enforcement to use of decoy vehicles to concealing surveillance equipment. Insiders — willing, unwitting and coerced — played a role in the majority of cases. The Antwerp Diamond Center’s building manager even provided blueprints to the heist mastermind, thinking he was just another tenant.
“I learned from this study that these thieves have a lot of patience. Most spent months and even years planning. They were very deliberate in how they defeated security measures and those methods were often very low-tech, like using hair spray to disable infrared sensors,” said Lafleur. “In most of these heists, multiple security measures were defeated.”
Another finding is that weapons aren’t needed to steal a lot of money. Four of the top five heists, in terms of value, were weaponless.

For obvious reasons, this report will have immense value for those out there that are in the business of countering this kind of crime. There is such a thing as the perfect heist, and this is an excellent study of those types of heists.  I was particularly interested in the lessons learned aspect of the report.

In it, they listed 44 items of interest for security professionals. They also described the average successful criminal. Here is a snippet.

Several key lessons are identified in each focus area, and an overview of the commonalities and bounds of criminal team characteristics and capabilities is provided. In brief, the typical criminal is a 30-39 year old man and experienced career criminal who is native to the country whose valuables he is targeting. The typical on-scene criminal team consists of 2-8 accomplices, typically perpetrating the robbery as a single team, although breaking into multiple sub-teams is not uncommon. Use of weapons is typical but in many cases not required for success. Thieves are willing to devote substantial resources to planning, spending in some cases more than two years, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and procuring transportation for thousands of pounds of loot. Thieves are frequently thorough and innovative in their planning, developing security defeat methods that are physically simple but highly targeted toward vulnerabilities the thieves have identified in advance of the heist. In the identification and exploitation of these vulnerabilities, deceptions and insiders almost always play a role. Multiple insiders, unwillingly or willingly colluding, are not uncommon; and while insiders span a variety of origins and roles, by far the most common type is the coerced insider who unwillingly assists in the crime, often upon threat of losing his own life or the lives of his family members.

That is some serious patience and ‘know your enemy, know yourself’ stuff there. The use of insiders, willing or not, is also very interesting.

Now what this report did not include was the vast group of criminals that absolutely need to be studied in Russia, South Asia, East Asia and Australia. It would also be helpful for them to go older than the 1970’s, but at least they have a good smattering of successful modern day heists. Here is a quote.

This expansion might continue to track down details of thefts that commonly make published lists of top heists, or it might take the direction of purposefully widening the scope geographically (e.g., to include heists in Russia, South Asia, East Asia, and Australia) and temporally (e.g., to include heists prior to the 1970s, perhaps as far back as the early 1900s, or farther back to the 1800s or even 1700s) to ensure the representation of a greater diversity of criminal methods and techniques in the data.

Check it out and this thing is filled with the good stuff. –Matt

Read the report here.




Sandia report draws lessons learned from ‘perfect heists’ for national security
August 19, 2014
In 2003, the unthinkable happened at Belgium’s Antwerp Diamond Center. Thieves broke into its reputedly impenetrable vault and made off with hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds, gold, cash and other valuables.
Through years of meticulous planning, they got past police officers less than 200 feet away, access controls into the building, a combination-and-key-lock vault door, a magnetic seal on the vault door and motion, infrared, light and seismic detectors within the vault.
The Antwerp Diamond Center theft and other sophisticated, high-value heists show that motivated criminals can find ways to overcome every obstacle between them and their targets. Can the Energy and Defense departments, responsible for analyzing, designing and implementing complex systems to protect vital national security assets, learn from security failures in the banking, art and jewelry worlds?
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Law Enforcement: As Police Budgets Are Cut, PSC Usage And Volunteer Watch Groups Increase

With the economic slowdown pushing municipal budgets to the brink, police layoffs and rising crime levels have been a common story in the hardest-hit American cities. Survey results from more than 700 police departments, released in April, showed that 21 percent had layoffs in the past two years. Another 56 percent shrank as a result of employee attrition.

This was an excellent article and if you follow the link below, you will see all of the links/sources that supports this thing. The one link that I will add from it, is for that quote up top. That is a lot of unemployed police officers, and like with the Marine story, this industry will see more interest from this group. You will also see these officers starting up companies or joining companies locally to provide services, much like what the article described below. Check it out. –Matt


As Police Budgets are Cut, Citizens Step In
August 7, 2012
Dabney Lawless, 38, took it personally when criminals targeted her neighborhood in east Oakland with a rash of burglaries. It was December 2010, and due to the city’s budget shortfall, Oakland — a city with the California’s highest violent-crime rate — had just laid off more than 10 percent of its cops.
So Lawless started going door to door, recruiting neighbors to revive a dormant neighborhood watch group. The group, of which she’s a block captain, decided to do more than patrol the streets. Last year more than a hundred of them chipped in about $250 each to hire a private security company to cruise through the neighborhood in a patrol car. Lawless says that investment, plus neighbors using the watch group to keep each other informed about suspicious behavior, has already made the neighborhood feel safer, and though she doesn’t have the data to support it, she’s certain the number of burglaries has dropped dramatically.

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Crime: Santa Muerte Or The Saint Of Death, Has A Following Among Criminals

This is a great report on the significance of Santa Muerte to criminals. She is definitely spiritual enemy number one! –Matt


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Crime: Politics And The Drug War In Latin America

In South America, the balloon effect has coincided with another phenomenon: The rise of a generation of populist leaders who view U.S. antidrug efforts as a version of the “Yankee imperialism” they disdain.
Both Venezuela’s Mr. Chavez and Bolivia’s Mr. Morales built support among mostly poor populations as staunchly anti-U.S. leaders. They describe the drug war as a facade for a strategy to control the region’s politics and natural resources, especially oil.
Mr. Chavez and other leaders say they are fighting drug trafficking. But in Venezuela, thwarting U.S. drug efforts appears to be a cause for promotion. In 2008, the U.S. declared Venezuelan Gen. Henry Rangel Silva a drug “kingpin.” This month, Mr. Chavez named Gen. Rangel defense minister.

Imagine this. Several large coca producing countries have leaders that were elected based on their ‘support for coca farming’, and one country elects leaders that were financed and influenced by drug cartels. And then you have multiple countries that dislike the US and try to interpret the drug war to their people as some form of ‘Yankee Imperialism’.  That to me is like the perfect alignment of events to create not just Narco States, but Narco Coalitions. The combining of states that produce the drugs with states that distribute them, all with the intent of pushing those drugs into the US and world and lining the pockets of politicians and cartels. It sounds like a premise in some crazy far out crime/war movie, all wrapped up with ‘world domination’. lol

Except in this case, it is a very plausible scenario and parts of it have already come true. In the articles below, they discuss how vulnerable Mexico’s political process is to cartel influence. The second one talks about how both Peru and Bolivia have seen a huge increase in coca production, all because they have leaders who were elected based on their pro-coca farming views. Ecuador and Venezuela gets a mention because they are all about supporting the drug trade as well. So chalk those countries as lost to the narcos….

As for Mexico, who knows if Calderon can keep his presidency? The cartels are doing all they can to work against him and his party at the local levels, and they are easily using the rules of insurgency to do so. From assassination, to bribes, to kidnapping, to voter intimidation, etc. The cartels are also using media and any other angle to get the public to reject Calderon’s war against the cartels.

Finally, the thing that I am most interested in is how will the US and the rest of the world react to such a Narco Coalition, if Mexico falls? What is the strategy to counter these narco insurgencies, and what does victory or defeat look like in the context of a drug war like this? –Matt


Bolivian President Evo Morales, holding coca leaves in 2009, built a political movement by demonstrating against the drug police. He has named coca growers to law-enforcement posts -- including drug czar.

Mexico’s 2012 vote is vulnerable to narco threat
“We cannot allow organized crime to decide at the ballot box,” said Josefina Vazquez Mota, a leading contender to be the 2012 presidential candidate of the National Action Party (PAN), which ended 71 years of PRI-party rule with Vicente Fox’s election in 2000.
Mexican presidents are limited to one six-year term, and the PAN held on to power in 2006 with Calderon’s narrow win over leftist challenger Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who will top the ticket for the Democratic Revolutionary Party, or PRD, again in 2012.
This time around, analysts expect PAN candidates to be hobbled by public dissatisfaction with Calderon’s military offensive against the drug cartels. At least 50,000 people have been killed since he took office in December 2006, and gangland violence has spread misery to parts of the country that were previously considered safe.
Outdated election laws
Calderon has angered rival lawmakers by suggesting that a presidential victory by PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto would represent a capitulation to the criminals. But many Mexicans seem nostalgic for the relative tranquility of life under the PRI, whose network of patronage and corruption once kept organized crime in check.

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Funny Stuff: Darth Vader Robs A Bank In New York

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Illinois: Crime In Chicago Increases, Lawmakers Call For The National Guard

   Chicago is in a state of emergency. It has been reported that 113 people have been killed in Chicago this year. The same number of U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the same time period. –Huffington Post, Rev. Jesse Jackson


   Man, Chicago has always been bad, but when it gets to the point where folks are asking for some cavalry to come in and put a check on this stuff, I take notice.  This is also a political move to bring more attention to the problem, and it seems to be the latest tactic with lawmakers and governors in a few other states in the US.  But the numbers speak for themselves in this case, as the quote up top has clearly identified. –Matt


Chicago Lawmakers: Call In the National Guard

April 26, 2010

Two lawmakers who believe violence has become so rampant in Chicago that the Illinois National Guard must be called in to help made a public plea to Gov. Pat Quinn to deploy troops.

CHICAGO — Two lawmakers who believe violence has become so rampant in Chicago that the Illinois National Guard must be called in to help made a public plea to Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday to deploy troops.

A recent surge in violent crime, including a night last week that saw seven people killed and 18 wounded — mostly by gunfire — prompted the request from Chicago Democratic Reps. John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford. They were joined by Willie Williams, whose son was shot and killed in 2006.

Chicago has had 113 homicide victims so far this year, Fritchey said.

“As we speak, National Guard members are working side-by-side with our troops to fight a war halfway around the world,” he said during a news conference in downtown Chicago. “The unfortunate reality is that we have another war that is just as deadly that is taking place right in our backyard.”

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