Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More CPTED for 2012

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design is a rewarding discipline...

Here are some new CPTED resources recommended by crime prevention professionals in a long running LinkedIn thread.  Yes, I have noticed that the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are the thought leaders these days.  This list supplements last summer's.

Counter Terrorism Protective Security Advice for Shopping Centres

Crowded Places: The Planning System and Counter-Terrorism

Crime and Everyday Life by Marcus Felson

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design: Guidelines for Queensland - Part A: Essential features of safer places

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design: Guidelines for Queensland - Part B: Implementation Guide

Building Safe Toilet Design into Shared Urban Space by Carol McCreary

FEMA Security Risk Management Series

FEMA Site and Urban Design for Security
National Guidelines for Crime Prevention through Environmental Design in New Zealand Part 1: Seven Qualities of Safer Places - Published November 2005

National Guidelines for Crime Prevention through Environmental Design in New Zealand Part 2: Implementation Guide - Published November 2005

Peel Regional Police are world renowned leaders in CPTED


Safer Places: The Planning System and Crime Prevention


The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

Toronto Police Services CPTED brochure

If you have more CPTED or other urban crime prevention resources to recommend please leave comments.  Thanks!

Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_design

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Most Workplace Homicides Happen During Robberies

We knew that but not everyone does, so it's nice to see the data being iterated and reiterated...

By way of the ASIS Security Management Daily - January 25, 2012:

Most Workplace Homicides Happen During Robberies
Insurance Journal (01/25/12) Jones, Stephanie K.

"A new report from the National Council on Compensation has found that the number of workplace homicides and assaults that result in injuries have dropped since the 1990s. Just 11 percent of all workplace deaths are the result of homicides, the report found. Meanwhile, the rate of homicides that result from robberies and other crimes has fallen since the late 1990s, due in large part to the decline in the number of violent deaths of cab drivers. The report noted that the murder rate for taxi drivers and chauffeurs dropped from 16.4 per 100,000 private sector workers in 2003 to 6.8 per 100,000 in 2009. However, homicides that are the result of robberies and other crimes still represent 69 percent of all deaths in the workplace. In addition, the number of workplace murders committed by work associates--which includes customers--has increased, due in large part to the growing number of violent acts committed by customers. As for workplace assaults, they represent just 2 percent of all workplace injuries. Workplace assaults typically take place at healthcare facilities like residential and long-term care facilities, the report noted."

The NCCI report is quite good, so good in fact I'm going to quit working on a similar but inferior paper.  If this topic is of interest to you be sure to have a look at it.

Photo credit: http://spdblotter.seattle.gov/2010/02/08/can-you-identify-these-robbers/

Family, Friends, and a Funeral

We buried a childhood friend on Saturday. 

Lee was a younger sister of my best high school chum.  I grew up in their house as much as in my own.  She smoked too much and drank too much, but it was debilitating scoliosis, severe corrective surgeries, chronic pain, a fall, and pneumonia that killed her.  The funeral was well attended by many friends I have not seen in 30 years.  We all regretted we had to become reacquainted under such circumstances, but we were comforted by each others' company.  Lee was but 50 years old.  She will be missed.

We also attended a welcome home reception for our nephew Jarrad who has just returned from a tour with the Air Force in Afghanistan.  Home and dry, he is much the same young man to left us to travel halfway round the world to do his duty.  He is a little leaner, a little wiser, and he cusses with much greater ease.  We are honored by Jarrad's service but we are selfishly grateful he is out of harm's way.

These past few days I have pondered our lives, our friends, our families, what's important, what isn't.  My thoughts lead me nowhere profound, but my emotions are telling me to live today, help today, do the right thing today, be who you want to be today.  We only get one shot at this and the clock is running.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Fine Treat From The Dowling Studio

A staging of Shakespeare's political drama Julius Caesar...

The Dowling Studio at the Guthrie is a spare and simple space, an unadorned canvas upon which actors ply their craft.  Upon it The Acting Company, The Guthrie, and director Rob Melrose present a cleverly wrought and strongly acted production of Shakespeare's tragic Julius Caesar.  The set is spare but clever, dominated by a moveable wall of monitors upon which supporting details are projected.  As with many productions of Shakespeare over the last 4oo years, the scene is the present day - the appearance and demeanor of politicians, soldiers, grieving spouses, and protesters are ripped from headlines, cable news, and social media. 

As with all Shakespeare, the story is timeless.  Duty, honor, and the rule of law obliges a righteous man to do the wrong thing for the right reason.  Greed, venality, and lust for power allow hangers on to do right thing for the wrong reason.  And the mob - a fickle, murderous populace - and the ease with which they are placated, co-opted, and redirected, for good or ill, is a lesson every generation appears doomed to forget and relearn. 

All the acting is solid across the board, but William Sturdivant as Brutus, and Zachary Fine as Mark Antony, give the stand out performances this play demands.  It was a visceral pleasure to watch them work.

I commend this production of Julius Caesar to you.  Act quickly though, the play is half way through its run, which ends February 05, 2012.  As is our practice, we purchased rush seats for only $20 each a half hour before showtime.  As the Dowling offers a general admission, we had our choice of seats.  Cassie and I sat in the front row and experienced this powerful work of art at arm's length.  Try it.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/17/CaesarTusculum.jpg

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I had never read Elie Wiesel's grim memoir before now...

I read the 25th Anniversary Edition 1986 Bantam paperback in the preface to which Robert McAfee Brown wrote: 

"Lean, taut, and sparse in style, employing no tricks, but providing avenues of escape for its readers, it remains today a book we must read and reread if we are to accept responsibility for our past and to learn from that past for the sake of our future."

Can't improve on that.

Read this book.

Friday, January 13, 2012

When We Dared Admit We Had Dreams

And there were men who knew how to deliver a speech...

This Monday  is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  Again I'll read his Letter From Birmingham Jail.  This year I'll add Dr. King's I Have A Dream speech to my annual appreciation of the man and his legacy.  As I do I'll worry that today, nearly 50 years after his speech summoned us to excellence, there are so few men or women on the American scene whose exhortations invite us to come together for the common good rather than encouraging us to break apart into angry clusters of fearful people intent on scraping together what little we can for us and ours alone.  Dare to dream, find something to improve, then get to work.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/March_on_Washington_edit.jpg

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Buck Up, Little Camper!

A blogger I admire needs to turn his frown right upside down...

In Disillusioned, Homeland Security Watch blogger Mark Chubb wonders aloud and eloquently "exactly what it is we suppose we are protecting..."  Quite the admission for someone who cares for his community for a living.  Then it all becomes clear "...especially as the presidential primaries begin." 

Oh, is that all? 

Herewith, my [annotated] reply:

Don’t forget that during the primaries political candidates are playing to their base, the hardcore 10% at the far end of their end of the bell shaped curve. This time around we only have to listen to arch-conservative, jingoistic, reactionary babble from the Republicans. It is unsightly and sounds ugly but these are men who will do whatever it takes to get elected.

Once the parties select their candidates they will then commence to saying and doing whatever it takes to convince the slightest possible majority of the 80% of us who reside between the two extremes that they and their party are the answer to all our problems.  "First, get elected," is every politician's motto.

These politicians don’t speak for us or America, they only aspire to. Do yourself a favor, turn off the TV at home and the radio in the car until November.

I discovered this method only four years ago.  While the left and right did their extra special best to tie the American electorate's emotions into knots we quit cable and I chose podcast lectures over drive time MPR.  The result, calm at the heart of the storm.  I scanned Google news and read selectively from the editorial pages, just enough to who was slinging what poo at who, but not enough to adopt the furrowed brow of my fellow Americans.

Be true to yourself, care for your family, and serve your community. Tell the truth, work hard, do your best and what’s best about America will be just fine.

Each one of us have important work to do, but most of it begins at our dinner table each evening, in the back yard every weekend, and in our community every work day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gimme' An "A"!

Who said Encore never shows any good movies and repeats the bad ones over and over?

Oh wait, that was me.  I know I'm coming in late, but there are all sorts of movies I pass on while they're in the theater.  Easy A was one of them.  The three months of free Encore sign-up special finally paid off.  This 2010 teen rom com is surprisingly engaging.  It has a witty script that plays with themes drawn from, wait for it...Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter...and pays homage to many of the better comedies of its genre.  The ensemble cast is charming.  Even the villains have a credible back story. The star, Emma Stone is not a teenager, neither is most of the cast, and her screen parents are improbably cool, but suspension of one's disbelief is painless and fun.  Don't take my word for it.  Rotten Tomatoes gave is an solid 85% rating.  Even Roger Ebert gave Easy A three and a half stars.  If like me, you managed to miss it so far, I recommend you check it out.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Manifesto of Sorts

In the form of a wonderful sermon...

Former fundamentalist Christian Jeremy Beahan, of the Reasonable Doubts podcast, made this presentation to the All Souls Unitarian Church, December 11, 2011.  It is as concise and cogent an argument for my sort of atheism as I've heard.  You may listen to it here or read it here.  Thanks, Jeremy.

Photo credit: APOD http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap111011.html

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Perihelion Versus Solstice

For some reason I always thought Perihelion would occur the same time as Winter Solstice...

But it doesn't.  Perihelion is the once a year event (0100 GMT 5 January 2011 this time around) when the Earth's passes closest to the sun on our slightly elliptical orbit . Yes, we are five million kilometers closer to the sun in Winter than we are in the Summer.  Winter solstice is when the apparent path of the sun reaches it lowest point in the sky due to our planet's 23-1/2 degree tilt.  The axial tilt results in sunlight hitting the northern hemisphere at an angle, resulting in much less energy absorption, then Winter happens.  Aphelion occurs - also only coincidentally - close to but not on the summer solstice.  If you have the correct instruments and the proper safety filters the sun appears ever so slightly smaller, 1.67% smaller to be precise.  And, the farther we are from the sun the slower we move along our eccentric orbital path, which is why Summer is actually a couple days longer than Winter.  Go figure.  There's a lot going on up there, whether we pause to think about it or not...

Photo credit: APOD http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap111115.html

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Who Would Have Thought...

...A French black and white silent film made in 2011 could be so much fun?

The Artist, coming as it does on the heels of Scorsese's Hugo, feels like an undeserved gift to movie lovers.  It is cleverly scripted, lovingly crafted, and brilliantly acted.  I've been known to enjoy a silent film now and again. The Artist as good as any of the classics and better than most.  Only the irony of a black and white silent film released in 2011 winning the Best Picture Oscar will keep it from being nominated for, or winning, that well-deserved award.  The Artist is well worth your time and your hard-earned money.