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9/30/2008

Murder Capitals of the World

Filed under: General,png,rampage,usa — admin @ 5:20 am

Caracas, Venezuela
Population: 3.2 million
Murder rate: 130 per 100,000 residents (official)
What’s happening: The capital of Chávez country, Caracas has become far more dangerous in recent years than any South American city, even beating out the once notorious Bogotá. What’s worse, the city’s official homicide statistics likely fall short of the mark because they omit prison-related murders as well as deaths that the state never gets around to properly “categorizing.” The numbers also don’t count those who died while “resisting arrest,” suggesting that Caracas’s cops—already known for their brutality against student protesters—might be cooking the books. Many have pointed the finger at El Presidente, whose government has failed to tackle the country’s rising rates of violent crime. In fact, since Chávez took over in 1998, Venezuela’s official homicide rate has climbed 67 percent—mostly due to increased drug and gang violence. Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, who recently resigned as interior minister, claimed in July that homicide has dropped 27 percent since January—but experts say he’s just playing with numbers. As for Caracas, some speculate that its murder rate is closer to 160 per 100,000.

Cape Town, South Africa
Population: 3.5 million
Murder rate: 62 per 100,000 inhabitants
What’s happening: A European bastion in the heart of turbulent South Africa, picturesque Cape Town nonetheless has the country’s highest murder rate. The city’s homicides usually take place in suburban townships rather than in the more upscale urban areas where tourists visit. According to the South African Police Service, most of the Cape Town area’s violent crimes happen between people who know one another, including a horrific case last year in which four males doused a female friend in gasoline and lit her on fire. Occurring just outside city limits, the incident apparently happened after the assailants had taken hard drugs, the use of which has risen along with Cape Town’s violent crime rate. The whopping 12.7 percent rise in the city’s murder rate from 2006 to 2007 certainly has local politicians worried, especially as South Africa prepares to host the 2010 World Cup. The government has hired more police officers to prepare for the tournament, which could help cut crime in soccer-fan hot spots. But until better efforts are made to police Cape Town’s poverty-stricken townships, it’s unlikely that the murder rate—an average of 5.9 per day—will see any major drop.

New Orleans, United States
Population: 220,614 to 312,000 (2007); estimates vary due to displacement of people after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Murder rate: Estimates range from 67 (New Orleans Police Department) to 95 (Federal Bureau of Investigation) per 100,000
What’s happening: With its grinding poverty, an inadequate school system, a prevalence of public housing, and a high incarceration rate, the Big Easy has long been plagued with a high rate of violent crime. Katrina didn’t help. Since the hurricane struck in 2005, drug dealers have been fighting over a smaller group of users, leading to many killings. On just one four-block stretch of Josephine Street, in the city center, four people were murdered in 2007 and 15 people shot, including a double homicide on Christmas day. A precise murder rate is hard to pinpoint because the population is swelling quickly, approaching its pre-Katrina numbers. Whether you use New Orleans’s own figures or the FBI’s, however, the city remains the most deadly in the United States, easily surpassing Detroit and Baltimore with 46 and 45 murders per 100,000 people, respectively.

Moscow, Russia
Population: 10.4 million
Murder rate: 9.6 per 100,000 (estimate)
What’s happening: Moscow’s murder rate is nothing compared with that of Caracas or Cape Town, but the city still ranks way above other major European capitals. London, Paris, Rome, and Madrid, for instance, all had rates below 2 murders per 100,000 in 2006. The Russian capital’s homicide rate is down 15 percent this year from last, but the recent surge in hate crimes—including the deadly beating of a Tajik carpenter by a gang of youths on Valentine’s Day—suggests that the lull might be temporary. Sixty ethnically motivated killings have already happened this year, part of a sixfold increase in hate crimes committed in the city during 2007. Several of the murders have been attributed to ultranationalist skinhead groups like the “Spas,” who killed 11 people in a 2006 bombing of a multiethnic market in northern Moscow. The Russian government has finally stepped up to combat the problem, assisting migrant groups and cracking down on street gangs. Still, the continued rise in extremist attacks is worrisome. And along with migrants, journalists and other high-profile people in Moscow might also want to be a little wary in Russia—62 contract murders took place in the country in 2005, according to official statistics.

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Population: 254,200 (2000 census)
Murder rate: 54 per 100,000 (2004 official figure)
What’s happening: The capital of island country Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby might seem like a surprising addition to this list. But its high violent crime rates, along with high levels of police corruption and gang activity, helped earn the city the dubious title of “worst city” in a 2004 Economist Intelligence Unit survey. With gangs called “raskols” controlling the city centers and unemployment rates hovering around 80 percent, it’s easy to see how Port Moresby beat out the 130 other survey contenders. Port Moresby’s police don’t seem to be helping the crime situation—last November, five officers were charged with offenses ranging from murder to rape. And in August, the city’s police barracks were put on a three-month curfew due to a recent slew of bank heists reportedly planned inside the stations by officers and their co-conspirators. Rising tensions between Chinese migrants and native Papua New Guineans are also cause for alarm, as are reports of increased activity of organized Chinese crime syndicates.

9/24/2008

Finnish gunman planned rampage for six years

Filed under: rampage — admin @ 12:56 pm

The student gunman who shot and killed 10 people at a Finnish college on Tuesday planned such a rampage as far back as 2002, drawing inspiration from such events as the U.S. Columbine massacre, police said.

“There was a note found at his home saying ‘I have always wanted to murder as many people as possible’,” the National Bureau of Investigation’s Jari Neulaniemi told a news conference on Wednesday.

Matti Saari, 22, killed nine fellow students — eight female and one male — and one male staff member at a travel and hospitality college a day after being interviewed by police about online videos of himself at a gun range.

The shooting in the town of Kauhajoki in western Finland was a fresh shock for the Nordic country, still reeling from a similar massacre last November.

Then, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot eight people dead before killing himself — an act that like Saari’s was telegraphed by menacing video clips on YouTube. Like Auvinen, Saari turned his gun on himself and died later in hospital of a head wound.

“He seems to be a young man with two faces — a silent boy at school, but he led another life in his hostel apartment with the laptop,” said Tapio Varmola, principal of Seinajoki University of Applied Sciences which runs the Kauhajoki college where Saari was a student.

Varmola said he did not know Saari personally but was in the building when screams began from the floor below. He said students, staff and family members who met on Wednesday in Kauhajoki were still shaken and depressed.

The students were in a room taking an exam when Saari opened fire with a Walther .22 handgun. He also shot at police and rescue services personnel, but police did not return fire.

All but one victim were so badly burnt in fires set by Saari that police said they would have to rely on DNA testing and dental records for final identification of the bodies.

MOURNING THE DEAD

Flags flew at half staff across Finland on Wednesday as the country asked itself tough questions about the Internet and private gun ownership.

Media focussed on the parallels between Jokela and Kauhajoki, including boastful Internet videos and the same calibre handgun.

Saari listed on the Web two favourite videos about the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in the United States where two students murdered 12 other pupils and a teacher before killing themselves. In one of his Internet clips, he points to the camera, says “You will die next,” and fires four rapid shots.

9/4/2008

Six dead in shooting rampage

Filed under: rampage,usa — admin @ 4:23 am

Police Wednesday held a Washington man with a history of mental problems in a series of shootings that killed six people, including a sheriff’s deputy.

Isaac Zamora, 28, of Alger, Wash., was being held in the Skagit County Jail after surrendering to police following a shooting rampage Tuesday that left two people wounded in addition to the six dead.

Police said the shootings began after 2 p.m. Tuesday near the home of the suspect’s mother. Two bodies, including that of sheriff’s deputy Anne Jackson, 40, were found there. Two construction workers had been shot to death nearby and another body was found a few houses away, police said.

Zamora allegedly drove away and “was just going down the road shooting at people,” Trooper Keith Leary said. One motorist was killed and two others wounded in those shootings.

Police said they chased the suspect at speeds of up at 90 mph on Interstate 90 before he surrendered about two hours after the initial shooting reports.

The suspect’s mother said her son was “extremely mentally ill” and had been living in the woods on and off for years.

6/10/2008

Man 'tired of life' kills 7 in Japan

Filed under: rampage — admin @ 1:53 pm

A man plowed into shoppers with a truck yesterday and then stabbed 17 people within minutes, killing at least seven in a grisly attack that shocked Japan, a country known for its low crime rate.

The lunchtime violence in the Akihabara district, a popular electronics and video game area, sent thousands of people fleeing.

The assault, which occurred on the seventh anniversary of a mass stabbing at a Japanese elementary school, was the latest in a series of knife attacks that have stoked fears of rising violent crime in Japan.

Tomohiro Kato, 25, was arrested with blood on his face.

“The suspect told police he came to Akihabara to kill people,” said Jiro Akaogi, a Tokyo police spokesperson. “He said he was tired of life. He said he was sick of everything.”

The violence began when the man crashed a rented, two-tonne truck into pedestrians. He then jumped out and began stabbing the people he had knocked down with the truck before turning on horrified onlookers, police said.

Police confirmed seven deaths – six men and one woman – but they could not say whether the victims had died of injuries from the truck or were stabbed to death.

Reports said the attacker grunted and roared as he slashed and stabbed at shoppers crowding a street lined with huge stores packed with the latest in computers, electronics, videos and games.

“He was screaming as he was stabbing people at random,” a witness told national broadcaster NHK.

Another witness told NHK the suspect dropped his knife after police threatened to shoot him. Amateur video filmed by cellphone showed police overpowering the bespectacled, bloodied suspect.

The attack paralyzed the district known as Electric Town and sent thousands of shoppers into a panic. Amateur video taken five minutes after the rampage showed shoppers helping victims and a man screaming, “Ambulance, Ambulance!”

At least 17 ambulances rushed to the scene, and rescue workers feverishly tended to victims in the blood-pooled street.

As night fell on Akihabara, several pedestrians stopped by and prayed at the crime scene. A bouquet of flowers, bottles of green tea and incense sticks were placed at the site.

Japan boasts a low crime rate compared to other industrialized countries and Tokyo, with a population of 12.7 million, is considered relatively safe. But stabbings, once rare in the country, have become more frequent in recent years.

A spate of knife attacks also have occurred in schools, the worst on June 8, 2001 when a man with a history of mental illness burst into elementary school near Osaka and killed eight children.

He was executed in 2004.

Man ‘tired of life’ kills 7 in Japan

Filed under: rampage — admin @ 1:53 pm

A man plowed into shoppers with a truck yesterday and then stabbed 17 people within minutes, killing at least seven in a grisly attack that shocked Japan, a country known for its low crime rate.

The lunchtime violence in the Akihabara district, a popular electronics and video game area, sent thousands of people fleeing.

The assault, which occurred on the seventh anniversary of a mass stabbing at a Japanese elementary school, was the latest in a series of knife attacks that have stoked fears of rising violent crime in Japan.

Tomohiro Kato, 25, was arrested with blood on his face.

“The suspect told police he came to Akihabara to kill people,” said Jiro Akaogi, a Tokyo police spokesperson. “He said he was tired of life. He said he was sick of everything.”

The violence began when the man crashed a rented, two-tonne truck into pedestrians. He then jumped out and began stabbing the people he had knocked down with the truck before turning on horrified onlookers, police said.

Police confirmed seven deaths – six men and one woman – but they could not say whether the victims had died of injuries from the truck or were stabbed to death.

Reports said the attacker grunted and roared as he slashed and stabbed at shoppers crowding a street lined with huge stores packed with the latest in computers, electronics, videos and games.

“He was screaming as he was stabbing people at random,” a witness told national broadcaster NHK.

Another witness told NHK the suspect dropped his knife after police threatened to shoot him. Amateur video filmed by cellphone showed police overpowering the bespectacled, bloodied suspect.

The attack paralyzed the district known as Electric Town and sent thousands of shoppers into a panic. Amateur video taken five minutes after the rampage showed shoppers helping victims and a man screaming, “Ambulance, Ambulance!”

At least 17 ambulances rushed to the scene, and rescue workers feverishly tended to victims in the blood-pooled street.

As night fell on Akihabara, several pedestrians stopped by and prayed at the crime scene. A bouquet of flowers, bottles of green tea and incense sticks were placed at the site.

Japan boasts a low crime rate compared to other industrialized countries and Tokyo, with a population of 12.7 million, is considered relatively safe. But stabbings, once rare in the country, have become more frequent in recent years.

A spate of knife attacks also have occurred in schools, the worst on June 8, 2001 when a man with a history of mental illness burst into elementary school near Osaka and killed eight children.

He was executed in 2004.

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