Well looky here: The NYPD’s crime data is in question:

Why am I not surprised. Bratton and Giuliani were crooks. I never believed in “broken-windows” theory, despite the fawnings it received in faux-social theory best sellers. Compstat was a pop fad, and the validity of the uniform crime index is a joke. Crime ebbs and flows, and law enforcement can do little to influence or deter it. But that never stopped Bloomberg or his predecessors from taken credit for its decline:

More than a hundred retired New York Police Department captains and higher-ranking officers said in a survey that the intense pressure to produce annual crime reductions led some supervisors and precinct commanders to manipulate crime statistics, according to two criminologists studying the department.

James Estrin/The New York Times

The retired members of the force reported that they were aware over the years of instances of “ethically inappropriate” changes to complaints of crimes in the seven categories measured by the department’s signature CompStat program, according to a summary of the results of the survey and interviews with the researchers who conducted it.

The totals for those seven so-called major index crimes are provided to the F.B.I., whose reports on crime trends have been used by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to favorably compare New York to other cities and to portray it as a profoundly safer place, an assessment that the summary does not contradict.

In interviews with the criminologists, other retired senior officers cited examples of what the researchers believe was a periodic practice among some precinct commanders and supervisors: checking eBay, other Web sites, catalogs or other sources to find prices for items that had been reported stolen that were lower than the value provided by the crime victim. They would then use the lower values to reduce reported grand larcenies — felony thefts valued at more than $1,000, which are recorded as index crimes under CompStat — to misdemeanors, which are not, the researchers said.

Others also said that precinct commanders or aides they dispatched sometimes went to crime scenes to persuade victims not to file complaints or to urge them to change their accounts in ways that could result in the downgrading of offenses to lesser crimes, the researchers said.

“Those people in the CompStat era felt enormous pressure to downgrade index crime, which determines the crime rate, and at the same time they felt less pressure to maintain the integrity of the crime statistics,” said John A. Eterno, one of the researchers and a retired New York City police captain.

His colleague, Eli B. Silverman, added, “As one person said, the system provides an incentive for pushing the envelope.”

The Police Department disputed the survey’s findings, questioned its methodology and pointed to other reviews of the CompStat process that it said supported its position.

The survey, which involved an anonymous questionnaire, was done in coordination with the union representing most of the senior officers in the department. The questionnaires were sent to 1,200 retired captains and more-senior officers; 491 responded, including 323 who retired from the department after 1995, the first full year that the agency, then under William J. Bratton, used CompStat. It is based on the scrupulous tracking of crime complaints and a mix of mapping crime trends, identifying trouble spots and holding precinct commanders directly responsible for attacking those problems.

The survey has its limitations. It is unclear exactly when the retired senior officers left the department, making it impossible to say whether any alleged manipulations came early on or had developed over years and across more than one mayoral administration. The CompStat approach has been widely replicated across the country and has been credited with improving police work in many cities.

Also, the questionnaires did not set out to measure the frequency of any manipulation. None of the respondents were asked to identify specific acts of misconduct, and none admitted to having done it themselves. In addition, it was unclear whether the officials who said they were aware of unethical conduct had firsthand knowledge.

But the survey asked provocative questions and clearly elicited disturbing answers. The retired members of the force were asked whether they were aware of changes to crime reports. Of the 160 who indicated that they were, more than three-quarters said the changes were unethical.

Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, who was provided a copy of the survey’s summary Thursday, said that two other significant, independent and more comprehensive studies had been done in recent years analyzing the integrity of the city’s crime statistics — one in 2006 by a New York University professor and another by the state comptroller’s office — and that he had found them to be reliable and sound.

The report by the N.Y.U. professor, Dennis C. Smith, contained this assessment: “We conclude, as did the state comptroller five years ago, that the city and department officials, and the public can be reasonably assured that the N.Y.P.D. data are accurate, complete and reliable.”

The researchers in the new survey emphasized that the responses — the questionnaires were mailed in September 2008 and returned in early 2009 — showed that most of the senior officers believed that CompStat had been a valuable management innovation. And even few department critics would seriously dispute that the city is much safer than it was in the early 1990s, with murders cut by nearly 80 percent and with neighborhoods, from the notoriously violent to the largely affluent, transformed.

The CompStat system was put in place by Mr. Bratton, Mr. Giuliani’s first of three police commissioners. Versions of the system have been franchised to hundreds of police departments. It was adopted, and in some cases modified, by Mr. Bratton’s successors under Mr. Giuliani, Howard Safir and Bernard B. Kerik, and by Mr. Bloomberg’s commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly.

But as the city annually reported reductions in crime, skepticism emerged in certain quarters — several police unions other than the one that assisted with this survey, elected officials, residents in some neighborhoods — about whether the department’s books were being “cooked.”

Concerns over crime statistics are not unique to New York. Police departments have faced accusations of tampering in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, New Orleans and Washington.

Mr. Kelly, for his part, has said that he instituted a rigorous auditing system to maintain the integrity of the crime reporting operation. And Mr. Browne said Friday that every precinct’s books were audited twice a year, “and where errors are discovered, they are corrected and reflected in revised crime statistics.” He added, “In cases where it is determined that the errors were the result of intentional manipulation, the personnel responsible are disciplined.”

Mr. Browne said that Mr. Kelly had meted out discipline in 11 cases, 4 involving precinct commanders. One of them, he said, was demoted and three others lost their commands. Last week the department confirmed in an article in The Daily News that it was investigating whether the commanding officer in the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn downgraded crimes or refused to take complaints from complainants to artificially reduce serious-crime statistics.

Mr. Browne criticized numerous aspects of the survey, suggesting, for instance, that many of the respondents might simply have been repeating what they had heard or learned from news reports about the “relatively rare instances that gained notoriety.”

“The survey’s biggest flaw is that a hundred respondents may be recalling the same lone incident everyone was talking about when they said they knew of instances when crime reports were manipulated,” he said. “Further, anonymously supplied answers are problematic because it’s hard to assess whether they originate from retirees who felt they were unfairly denied promotion or have some other ax to grind.”

Mr. Browne said that only 37 of the 323 retired senior officers surveyed had served as precinct commanders, arguing that only they would have firsthand CompStat experience. But the researchers said the survey included responses from aides to precinct commanders and higher-ranking officers who oversaw the work of the commanders.

Professor Eterno said the suggestion that 100 former officials might be talking about the same incident was “ludicrous,” and Professor Silverman said the department’s criticism of the use of an anonymous survey indicated a limited understanding of social science methodology.

The seven-page summary of the survey certainly indicates that many of the retired officers believe the system has gone significantly wrong.

Indeed, the researchers said the responses supported longstanding concerns voiced by some critics about the potential problems inherent in CompStat. The former officers indicate that it was the intense pressure brought to bear on the commanders of the city’s 76 precincts in twice-weekly CompStat meetings — where they are grilled, and sometimes humiliated, before their peers and subordinates, and where careers and promotions can be made or lost — that drove some to make “unethical” and “highly unethical” alterations to crime reports.

Mr. Browne said that when Mr. Kelly took over the department in 2002, he barred spectators from CompStat meetings in light of complaints from some commanders that they had been ridiculed in the forum in front of outsiders. He said Mr. Kelly believed that the presence of outsiders “demeaned the process and was unprofessional.”

The two researchers are writing a book scheduled for publication this summer based in part on the survey; it is tentatively titled “Unveiling CompStat: The Naked Truth.” They provided a copy of the summary and the survey questions to The New York Times. They declined, however, to provide a full report until the head of the union with which they worked had shared it with the Police Department.

When Professor Eterno retired as a captain from the Police Department in 2004, he was working in its crime analysis and program planning section. He is now the director of graduate criminal justice studies at Molloy College on Long Island, which financed the study. Professor Silverman wrote a book about CompStat in 1999 before retiring from theJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2003.

Roy T. Richter, president of the Captains Endowment Association, which represents the retired officials, said the challenges that his retired members had faced — and his active members still face — were significant, as crime continues to decline and precinct commanders must continue to beat their previous year’s performance despite a force with thousands fewer officers.

He called the survey results “troubling,” and said that while CompStat can be an effective tool, to the extent that it is “used as a sword to subject a commander to humiliation before his peers, I don’t think it’s an effective management tool.”

More than a year before Professor Smith of N.Y.U. published his study praising CompStat in 2006, a city commission created to monitor the Police Department’s effort to fight corruption sought to examine the integrity of the department’s statistics. But while the department cooperated with the professor, it refused to comply with the commission.

And despite the efforts of its chairman, Mark F. Pomerantz, a respected former federal prosecutor, the commission could not win subpoena power, and it was not able to examine allegations that crime complaints were downgraded.

The department had argued that those allegations did not fall under the panel’s mandate because the matters did not constitute corruption.

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Earl Jones move could spell lights out for RBC

Oh snap.  Bad news for RBC. And I wouldn’t want to have been an employee from Beaconsfield in the last 25 years. One memo from Jones on RBC letterhead c.c.ing some poor banking fool and it’s game over for The Royal:

MONTREAL — Former clients of Earl Jones are seeking the right to sue the Royal Bank of Canada for allegedly allowing the disgraced Montreal financial adviser to blow through their savings.

A statement of claim was filed in Quebec Superior Court late Friday against the financial institution alleging a Montreal-area branch was aware of the irregularities in Jones’ accounts, but did nothing.

Jones pleaded guilty last month to orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme spanning more than 20 years.

The victims are seeking the authorization of a Quebec judge for the class action suit, which claims millions of dollars invested by former clients went through an “in-trust” account that in fact was a personal bank account belonging to Jones.

“The petitioner submits that Earl Jones could not and would not have been able to carry out a Ponzi scheme to the detriment of the members of the Class were it not for the negligence and wilful blindness of the Royal Bank,” the claim reads.

None of the claims against the Royal Bank have been proven in court.

The legal documents allege that Jones enjoyed a privileged status at the bank because of his standing in the community and as such the transactions weren’t properly vetted.

It also alleges that the bank knew as early as 2001 that the account was being used for business purposes and that the “in-trust” status had no meaning.

The civil claim asserts that nothing was done until 2008 when a bank manager again noted certain irregularities in Jones’ account.

“Notes on the account indicate there was prior knowledge in 2001 that the client was operating business through the personal account,” the claim reads, citing an RBC email.

A copy of the email from the bank manager raising questions about Jones’ account is part of the evidence filed Friday.

A judge must still authorize the request for the suit.

The suit seeks the full amount that was deposited in the in-trust account between 1981 and 2008. A spokesman for the Earl Jones Victims Organizing Committee says the amount determined by lawyers is about $40 million.

“They did not act in a prudent, vigilant or reasonable manner in the operation of this in-trust account,” said committee spokesman Joey Davis, in reference to the bank.

“The nature of the operation of this account was for business purposes and could lead to trouble, according to the evidence, and they did nothing about it.”

The claim alleges if the Royal Bank had kept closer tabs, Jones would not have been successful in perpetrating his almost 30-year scheme.

RBC has not filed a statement of defence, but the bank said in a statement that it, too, was a victim of Jones.

“We were deceived by Mr. Jones, just as his clients were,” the bank said in a statement.

“Until 2009, there was nothing to signal that Mr. Jones was anything other than a legitimate and successful businessman. Mr. Jones used his long-standing reputation in the community to take advantage of both clients and companies.”

RBC said in a statement that by using its logos and letterhead, Jones lent legitimacy to his Ponzi scheme, even though no such accounts existed.

“We did not know that Mr. Jones was misrepresenting RBC’s role in his business until Mr. Jones was arrested,” the institution said.

RBC acknowledged that Jones’ in-trust account, opened some 25 years ago, was operated as a personal account. It added in the statement that in-trust accounts don’t have any special status or restrictions.

“Banks do not monitor the transaction activity of an in-trust account differently from any other type of personal or business account,” RBC said.

The bank added: “We are appalled at damage Mr. Jones has inflicted on so many people and are actively assisting the trustee and authorities involved in this matter.”

Until recently, Jones owned homes in luxury locales and lived a lavish life on the backs of his client’s small fortunes over a 27-year period.

Since then, both Jones and his financial-services company have been declared bankrupt and many of his possessions have been auctioned off.

Jones, 67, is to be sentenced on Feb. 15 and is in jail since pleading guilty to two counts of fraud totalling $50 million last month.

His criminal proceedings heard that he never invested a penny of the money and none of it has been recovered.

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Un morceau lâche de l’écriture dans le Devoir au Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu

Un morceau lâche de l’écriture dans le Devoir de Jean-Claude Leclerc… et ma réponse:

M. Leclerc:

Permettez-moi de dire que c’est toi qui est exploiteur en suggérant que M. Boisvenu est «inconsolable» et donc implicitement, a une vendetta de la justice envers le Québec et le Canada. Honte à vous. Si tu savais rien de l’homme, tu saurais que le contraire est vrai. Il n’a pas demandé à être mis dans la position. Et nous – les autres victimes – sont reconnaissants qu’il se vautrent dans la fange des droits des victimes et la politique, si nous savons qu’il est peu probable qu’il soit jamais présenter de retour pour la justice au nom des victimes de la criminalité.

Pendant trente-deux ans, j’ai regardé la réponse inefficace, sanctifier, et stérilisés du justice Quebecois et Canadienne. Si vous avez une meilleure idée pour nous, je vous suggère alors être venir maintenant. Jusqu’à ce moment, rester à l’écart et laisser Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu faire son travail.

Ce n’est pas Pierre-Hugues, qui effectuera des travaux de M. Harper. Bien au contraire, je  t’assure.

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Opposition heats up to Boisvenu appointment

A cowardly piece by  Jean Claude Leclerc in Le Devoir, and my response:

M. Leclerc:

Allow me to say that it is you that is being exploitive by suggesting that M. Boisvenu is “inconsolable” and therefore by implication has a justice vendetta against Quebec and Canada.

Shame on you.

If you knew anything about the man you would know that the opposite is true. He didn’t ask to be put in the position. And we – fellow victims – are grateful that he would wallow in the muck of victims rights and politics, though we know it is doubtful it will ever show any return for justice in the name of crime victims.

For thirty-two years I have watched the ineffectual, hallow, and neutered response of Quebec / Canadian justice. If you have a better idea for us then I suggest you be forthcoming now. Until that time, stand aside and let Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu do his work.

It is not Pierre-Hugues that will be doing Harper’s work. Quite the opposite I assure you.

J Allore

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Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu au Gazette:

“Absolutely…where I feel at ease is with the policies of the present government,” said Boisvenu, who was a regional director for Quebec’s Environment Dept. “I’m not going to the Senate to block things, I’m going to move things forward, to explain things to other senators so that when proposed legislation reaches the Senate, they’ll be able to take a balanced approach.”

That’s him. That’s Pierre. He gets it.

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Pierre Boisvenu: Rock Star

New senator to donate salary to charity

Toronto Sun

Meet one of Canada’s newest senators — Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

OTTAWA — He has just been handed a job he could keep until age 75 but he doesn’t want to stay more than four years, maybe eight.

He’ll be getting $132,300 a year but plans to turn it all over to the charity he founded.

The Sherbrooke, Que., native who went on from the tragic murder of his daughter to become one of Canada’s best known advocates for the rights of victims and their families says he plans to use his new job to fight for victims rights and to crack down on the criminals who prey on them.

“I am looking forward to seizing the extraordinary opportunity that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has offered me to continue to ardently defend the victims of criminal acts,” Boisvenu told reporters during a press conference. “As a senator I can now influence the drafting of government legislation, notably in the area of justice and public safety.”

Boisvenu said he has specific things he wants to achieve in terms of justice and victims rights. At the end of four years he plans to assess his progress and if he has achieved what he came to Ottawa to do, he’ll quit.

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Claude Larouche: Crown releases a bombshell:

New DNA evidence, new lawyer for alleged killer
Fri, 2010-01-29 13:27.
Shuyee Lee

The crown is trying to see if they can link unresolved crimes to a Montreal man suspected of killing a Corrections Canada employee.

Claude Larouche was arrested in connection to the first degree murder of Natasha Cournoyer based on DNA evidence.

And now the crown is trying to see if new DNA evidence can connect the 48-year-old suspect to other cold cases.

Crown prosecutor Éliane Perreault says they handed over the new evidence to Larouche’s new lawyer and they’re waiting on other tests for other cases.

“The new DNA we’re waiting for is for this case but the investigation is wider than that,” Perreault told reporters.

One of the cases they’re looking at: a prostitute who was attacked by a client two weeks after Cournoyer’s death, the woman saying she thought she recognized Larouche.

Perreault says it’s too early to say if they could lay new charges.

The body of the 37-year-old Corrections Canada employee was found by the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Pointe-aux-Trembles in October a few days after she disappeared from her Laval workplace.

The case returns to court in late April.

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Quebec man charged with murder of woman who went missing six years ago

QUEBEC – More than six years after the disappearance of a Quebec woman, a man she’d met over the Internet is now being charged with her murder.

Alain Perreault has long been considered a prime suspect in the disappearance of Lyne Massicotte. He has now appeared in court to face a first-degree murder charge. Massicotte’s body has never been found.

The 43-year-old woman disappeared on July 17, 2003, after travelling to Quebec City from her home south of Montreal.

She’d met Perreault over the Internet.

Police say new evidence in the case allows the Crown to proceed with the charge against Perreault, who is 47.

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While we wait for something newsworthy:

Theresa Allore was a 19-year-old Canadian college student who disappeared on Friday, November 3, 1978 from Champlain College Lennoxville in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Five months later on April 13, 1979 her body was discovered in a small body of water approximately one kilometer from her dormitory residence in Compton, Quebec. Upon her disappearance police initially suggested she was a runaway. When her body was discovered police then suggested she was a possible victim of a drug overdose, perhaps at the assistance of fellow college students. In the Summer of 2002, the family of Theresa Allore enlisted the support of an investigative reporter and friend,Patricia Pearson who produced a series of articles for Canada’s National Post newspaper that gave compelling evidence that Theresa Allore was a victim of murder, and that her death was possibly linked to two other unsolved local cases; the death of 10-year-old Manon Dube in March of 1978, and the murder of Louise Camirand in 1977.[1] The theory was supported by geographic profiler and then FBI consultant, Kim Rossmo, who suggested a serial sexual predator may have been operating in the Quebec region in the late 1970s and advised police to investigate the three deaths as a series. Rossmo gained notoriety in 1998 when he suggested the creation of a serial killer task force to Vancouver police in the cases of missing women from the Vancouver’s downtown EastsideRobert Pickton was eventually arrested and found guilty of six murders, though he is presumed to be responsible for as many as 26 murders of Vancouver missing women.

The deaths of Theresa Allore, Manon Dube, and Louise Camirand remain unsolved cold-cases.

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Theresa Allore Memorial Fund – Please Chip-in!

We are a little short of our goal to raise $10,000 to start a scholarship fund in my sister, Theresa Allore’s name, so I am asking folks to contribute a little more using the following “Chipin” widget:

You kindness and generosity is greatly appreciated in this endeavor.

For more information on the Theresa Allore Memorial Fund click here.

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