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5 Travel Tips for Preventing Crime on Your Budget Backpacking Trip

5 Travel Tips for Preventing Crime on Your Budget Backpacking Trip

Yes. I have been robbed. And let me tell you, it doesn’t feel good. Mine was minor in the grand scheme of things — a thief walked away with my shaving kit at the Christian Youth Hostel in Amsterdam. (I know, there is irony in there somewhere.) But it didn’t make it feel any less serious at the time. I had to break my budget to stock up on necessities. And in a major European city, that’s not usually something you can do on the cheap.

Ever since that incident, I’ve always been on the lookout for ways to keep both me and my gear safe from the greedy paws of thieves while traveling. So I’ve compiled a little list to help you along your way…

5 Things that Make You an Easy Target for Criminals

1.Fanny packs — Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Who still wears these things?” And to you I say, just take a look around. They’re still everywhere. And usually to be found on the socks-with-sandals variety of traveler. It’s like wearing a name tag that says, “Hello, my name is Easy Prey”. So leave the fanny pack at home, and invest in a money belt that goes on the inside of your clothes. Or do what I do — get a neck pouch, put it in your front pocket, and tie it to your belt loop. Yes, you will need baggy pockets, but it has saved me twice so far — once in the walled city of Jerusalem, and once outside the Coliseum in Rome. Pickpockets tried to take it while I wasn’t looking, but were surprised to find out that I was attached to you. You should have seen their faces.

2.Backpacks — Okay, not all backpacks, just the big ones. You know who you are. And you know what they say — the bigger the pack, the smaller the…package? Well, something like that. I’ll leave that last bit up to you to fill in. My point is that huge backpacks (70L or more) make you a target. They give the message that a) I have a lot of stuff, and b) I can’t move very fast. If you must carry a massive backpack, store it at your earliest convenience and day-trip it with a small pack. Your spine will love you for it too.

3.No Locks — Even the smallest, flimsiest lock is better than none at all. Securing your pack is a must. An unlocked bag is inviting crime. The temptation for a thief to slip a hand in at a train station, bus station, or where ever your bag may be out of your site is completely removed. I met a guy from Vegas once who had huge locks on his backpack — the ones that you usually use for your locker at school or the gym. He didn’t realize until he got on the road that there were actually smaller ones designed for travel packs. But at least he did some research.

4.Not Counting Your Change — Seems like an easy one doesn’t it? But a lot of the time we get complacent, and assume the best intentions in everyone. Once in an Egyptian market, a shady stall owner tried to give me piastres instead of pounds. (Google the difference — it can really add it). I had been in the country for a few weeks at that point, so easily noticed the difference. When you first arrive in a country though, lots of the time we’re more concerned about putting our money away than actually counting it, and only notice any shortfall later on.

5.Gizmos — How many of you travel with laptops, smartphones, iPhones, GPS, or other electronic gadgets? We live in a digital age, and we like to stay connected. Sometimes we forget that some of these gizmos cost more than some people make in an entire month. So obviously, they are easy targets. This is definitely one area where the motto “If you got it, flaunt it” does not apply, so try to keep these goodies under wraps whenever possible.…

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Criminal Justice Social Worker Role and Career Choices

Criminal Justice Social Worker Role and Career Choices

Being a social worker is a valuable career in our communities today. They are always trying to help people better their lives and situation. This field has many different specialties and areas of emphasis. There are those who choose to work with abused children and battered spouses. You may also choose to work with those involved in substance abuse or the elderly struggling with adjustments at an assisted living facility. One highly specialized social working career is in criminal justice. This type of work has a high level challenges but can be a great fit for a certain type of individual.

If you are interested in helping people who have been accused of a crime, or are experiencing legal problems, you may want to consider this career choice. You have to have a concern for those who can’t afford legal representation or who don’t really understand their rights as a citizen of this country. Not everyone knows their way around the court system. Also some people have anger issues that get in their way socially and could impede their presence in court or with authorities. A social worker can assist with these issues.

There is a way to also help former inmates assimilate return to society again. You will be helping people who are already incarcerated by assisting them with getting all of their requirements completed for parole. Helping them meet the requirements stipulated by the courts or parole board so that they won’t risk getting arrested again is a task that is very beneficial for them. Another role is to find suitable counseling, rehab programs or employment for those involved in the court system.

To be successful in this extraordinary field, you have to be extremely patient. You can’t become easily frazzled or unhinged when faced with angry personalities. You will need to be firm on what needs to be done and take heart that you are helping others even if you don’t get gratitude in return. If you are serious about making a difference in the legal system or want to be a big part of helping this population you will be an excellent candidate. Research the requirements of this field at any university that offers social work degrees.…

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Why is it That California’s 60 Freeway and I-10 Attract Nut Cases, She Asked

“Why is it That California’s 60 Freeway and I-10 Attract Nut Cases,” She Asked

Perhaps, you have major arteries that run through your state, traveled by millions of people each day? And maybe your state has also found that along these major interstates there is a lot of crime that happens, which is generally in the newspaper the next day. Well, that is the case in Southern California, where we have the 60 Freeway and I-10; where there have been shootings and fires, suspected as arson set blazes, but why?

Well, here is my thinking. There might be a few reasons why. We know that these freeways run through major metropolitan areas, and many cities known for drugs, gangs, and well, rather rough neighborhoods. Now then, with regards to crime and arson, realize that people driving through toss cigarettes out the windows, so some of these arsons, maybe negligence, but, I think it is the same, especially when it’s well over 100 degrees, and people know what they are doing.

Second, many of the areas on the freeway when it’s not too crowded, means someone can sit in a big space between groups of cars, then either pick their targets for a shooting (perhaps gang initiation) or have some type of incendiary device that they chuck out the window, that is sitting on the passenger’s seat.

Many of these areas run along the mountains or hard to get to areas, meaning it is hard to fight fires there, no side roads and no easy access. With regards to the shootings, they can take a shot and the victim runs off the road, then they simply speed ahead to mix in with the next group of cars, then head back the way they came taking a future off ramp and driving on the other side of the freeway.

These criminals like to see their work. They say arsonists do the same thing, that is one way to catch them, video tape everyone that comes to look at the fire, where it started and you may see the same people at different fires in different locations after a while, that’s one way to catch them.

With crimes, and arson is a crime just like a shooting. You need a victim, a location, and a criminal, that’s the basic crime triangle. If they can do their deeds with little risk of getting caught, they will, it’s in their nature. With arson, there is no immediate victim (usually) so that means there could be few witnesses too. Still, all you need is one or two folks that saw something out of place and a couple of clues and you can catch the bad guys.

Interestingly enough, as much as most people do not like the invasion of privacy with everyone having a cell phone that doubles as a video recorder or digital camera, it is in effect a quasi-deterrent. Just don’t be caught being anyone famous or every teeny bopper with a Facebook Page becomes an amateur paparazzi. My gosh this world is getting crazy; suffice it to say, please be careful and pay attention.…

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A Basic Look At What Is Court Transcription

What is court transcription is a common question to those visiting a courtroom for the first time. Basically, it is a very important part of legal proceedings. This is an actual account of every spoken and recorded word that takes place during any legal event in a courtroom. These transcriptions are valuable and required for any legal proceeding. They provide legal proof and document what was said verbatim and are referred to over and over again by all parties in and outside of the courtroom.
A court reporter or court transcriber is the one responsible for transcribing the proceedings. These skilled and trained professionals are responsible for creating an accurate account of every word spoken during court. Their role is critical in legal proceedings. Whatever they record is considered fact and is used by lawyers and judges when going over cases after a trial or hearing has taken place.
Court reporters can transcribe three ways in court: voice writing, electronic reporting, and steno typing. One method, the court reporter uses a special machine to type out what is being said. Another method involves speaking into an instrument to record the proceedings. In addition, then there is the method where the whole proceeding is recorded.
The most common way to transcribe is with the stenographic method. When a court transcriber is using a steno type machine, he is able to press more than one key at a time. This records symbols that represent sounds, phrases, or words. Those symbols are then saved onto computer disks. When the session is over, these symbols are then translated into text and printed out.
When voice writing is used, it involves the court transcriber speaking into a steno mask. This is a hand held mask with a microphone inside. There is a silencer on this so no one can hear what he is saying. He then repeats all testimony and spoken words he hears into the recorder by judges, lawyers, witnesses and anyone else involved. This includes recording gestures and reactions of everyone also.
Electronic reporting uses digital devices to record the whole court proceeding. The court reporter must play an active role using this time of transcribing by identifying the speakers, cross checking recordings and making sure they are high quality and clear. When the court session is over, the reporter must then submit the written transcript made from the recordings.
Accuracy is very important in transcriptions of court proceedings. A single word or phrase incorrectly recorded can determine the innocence, guilt, or mistrial of a case. Transcribing what is said during the legal proceeding is important, but so are instructions to the jury, pretrial depositions, and arbitration sessions and decisions, which may fall under the job of a court reporter.
What is court transcription? Court transcription guarantees that all parties involves have their words recorded accurately for future reference. It also means that all the names of people and places involved are documented correctly. These documents provide a view of what took place inside a courtroom, accurately and truthfully from an unbiased party. Court transcriptions are so important; they can even mean the life or death of someone that has been convicted of a crime.…

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Searcing For UK Criminal Records

Searcing For UK Criminal Records

Criminal Records Bureau – Criminal Records Bureau: Past, Present, and Future

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was formed by the Policy Act of 1997 in March 2002. Established under Part V, it was a direct result of increased concern for children, young people, and vulnerable adults. These are especially susceptible to molestation and other abuses, and there was increasing concern over those hired to work with them. The CRB was established to provide a means by which to research individuals, especially for those hired to work with vulnerable individuals, in an effort to prevent hiring someone that would be likely to take advantage of them. This became necessary as it became apparent that British police forces did not have the necessary manpower to complete the large number of criminal background checks necessary in a timely manner.

This became increasingly important to those hiring individuals to work with vulnerable people as they became more and more concerned about being sued over hiring someone with a criminal history who went on to take advantage of a child, young person, or vulnerable adult in the course of their duties. Thus, the Criminal Records Bureau was created as an Executive Agency of the Home Office. The established purpose is to provide wider access to information included in Criminal records through its disclosure service for England and Wales.

Recently, the Criminal Records Bureau was due to partner with another organization, the Independent Safeguarding Authority, in administering the Vetting and Barring Scheme from 2009. The effort was suspended for review in 2010, and that review was released in February 2011 suggesting that the two agencies combine into one non-departmental agency. This new agency would be responsible for criminal background checks as well as barring. It would not require registration in order to receive information, as the current Criminal Records Bureau does, and it would not retain details on a database.

This new organizational scheme would, however, require all adults who work with children, young people, and vulnerable adults on a frequent basis to register, and there would be criminal offenses for non- compliance. This is estimated to include about 11.3 million people, or approximately one quarter of the adult population. If the new procedures are carried out, it could take some getting used to and some to time to get everyone registered. There would almost definitely be some glitches to work out as far as time limits for registration and enforcement, as well as reducing the number of people who slip through the cracks. With that large number of people, there are sure to be some at first.…

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Criminals Targeting Real Estate Rehabbers

Criminals Targeting Real Estate Rehabbers

As the economy worsens I am seeing more and more violent crimes against real estate rehabbers. These robberies are focused on rehab crews and often take place on Friday afternoons, or just after the workers are paid. These workers, sometimes illegal aliens, are sometimes paid in cash because of their not wanting to report their earnings for income tax purposes, or because they don’t have checking accounts.

Recently a local real estate investor was targeted by two hoodlums who were between 18 and 21 years old. He and his two workers had their money, wallets, cell phones, car keys and the investor’s garage door opener stolen at gunpoint. Besides the obvious threat to their lives, the implications are far reaching –

1. Their wallets contained their driver’s licenses which can be used for identify fraud and their home addresses. If the thieves sell the car keys, garage door openers to other thieves, these guys can come by at night and just drive the car away or open the garage door and come into their homes.

2. The credit cards in their wallets will be used if they aren’t stopped immediately and despite only a $50 risk to the cardholder, it sometimes takes time and effort to get the charges removed and their credit cleared.

3. Their cell phones can be used for long distance calls and most importantly, if the numbers in memory are coded as My Love or Honey these guys have been sending text messages asking for PIN numbers.

Not since the 1980’s have we had to carry what I call a throw-away wallet and my wife carried a cheap purse without anything in it other than some old cancelled store cards and no ID what-so-ever. We usually stuffed the wallet with 20 one dollar bills and would readily give up our fake car keys and wallet and her purse if asked. Of course with all this planning, we never got robbed.

Here are a few simple precautions that will help substantially reduce or eliminate this potential problem:

1. Keep the front door of your property closed and locked when you are inside and lock the door if you go outside.

2. Expect the unexpected in terms of what might happen if someone asks for your wallet or purse.

3. If you are going to carry a concealed weapon, get a license. It is more likely that it will be used against you than your using it against a robber – so be very careful.

4. Be alert to what is going on around you and don’t open your house’s door unless you see the people on the other side of the door (the robbers mentioned above wore skully caps)

5. Either have your cell phone hidden or take a throw-away with you.

6. Have your car keys hidden and do not have your garage door opener in an obvious place.

This article is not meant to scare anyone but only to make you more alert to a potential situation that has already happened to too many investors who never expected it. Don’t let crooks like these rule your life, just be careful and aware of what’s happening around you.…

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Chapter 11 Explained

When a person or a business needs to file for bankruptcy protection, there are several chapters within the United States Bankruptcy Code under which the initial petition can be filed that will govern the subsequent proceedings.  While many people understand the basics for bankruptcy petitions that are more consumer-oriented and usually filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, many see filings under Chapter 11 of the code as extremely complicated and difficult to understand.

While a bankruptcy filing under Chapter 11 is usually a complicated matter, there are some basics that are not difficult to understand.  However, this is not a filing that one should attempt to take on individually.  You will need professional help in order to make sure that all goes as it should, so contact a bankruptcy lawyer today to schedule an initial consultation if you are having trouble meeting your obligations.

Basic Procedure under Chapter 11

Generally, a Chapter 11 filing is done by businesses, and this sort of filing is known as either a ‘reorganization bankruptcy’ or a ‘rehabilitation bankruptcy.’  The reason for these labels is that a Chapter 11 filing basically gives the petitioner time to put together a plan that helps it get out from under the debts it cannot pay at the time of the filing and to one day ’emerge’ from bankruptcy.

Below is a brief look at the procedures involved with a Chapter 11 filing:

Initial filing – When a business files for Chapter 11 protection, the court will order that the creditors cease with collection efforts while the case is pending, much like in a consumer bankruptcy filing.

Disclosure statement – The filing party must also file a disclosure statement that lists all assets and liabilities as well as a plan for reorganization that details how the debts will be paid during the plan’s duration.

Creditors’ committee – When a filing occurs, the largest creditors are usually grouped into a committee that will vote on the reorganization plan.  If the plan is approved, the parties move forward under it.  If it’s not, either the filing party must come up with a new plan, the creditors can come up with their own plan or the filing party can petition the court to ‘cram down’ their plan if it’s reasonable on its face, and the court will rule on it.

Post-plan – When the court ultimately accepts a plan, the debts as constituted prior to the filing are discharged and the petitioner must make the payments proposed in the plan until the time has passed.  If the company does not pay under the plan, it opens up several possibilities for enforcement.…