National security wrap

Image courtesy of Flickr user Anita Ritenour

The Beat

Paying would-be criminals to not commit crimes

Can future criminals be bribed to not commit crimes? One American city has been experimenting with that idea. Richmond, California, launched in 2010 a program targeted at young men who are at risk of becoming involved in gun violence. Richmond officials pay ‘fellows’ of the program a stipend for not getting into trouble with the law. ABC Radio has had a look at the program which claims a 75% reduction in firearm related homicides—listen to the 10 minute podcast here. The Brookings Institution has recently published a piece weighing up the pros and cons of the initiative, arguing that financial incentives need to be targeted towards fostering a lifetime of good habits.

Bonus read

This week, PwC released its Global Economic Crime Survey 2016. The survey looks at the current state of economic crime across 115 countries globally. This year’s survey finds that economic crime is changing and that detection and control programs aren’t keeping pace with those changes.

CT Scan

More Australian among leaked Daesh recruitment files

13 Australian residents and 11 Australian citizens have been identified as Daesh recruits in the documents leaked by the terrorist group last month. The figure was published in a report by the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point who analysed over 4,600 ISIS personnel records. The dataset revealed recruits hailed from over 70 countries, with fighters usually educated to a higher level than the mean level in their countries of origin. 10% of the fighters in the files had previous fighting experience in Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan while about 12% signed up to be suicide bombers. One of the Australians identified is 15 year old Abdullah Elmir.

A radical idea to deter radicalisation

Senior EU counterterrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove has proposed using former Daesh fighters to counter the group’s recruitment efforts. De Kerchove argued that former members could be used by governments for ‘counter-narrative purposes’, advocating the blanket prosecution of foreign fighters was unsophisticated given the range of experiences former members had with the terrorist group. De Kerchove proposed rehabilitation for more ‘harmless’ Daesh recruits over imprisonment. The Hague’s International Centre for Counter-Terrorism reported that approximately 4,000 fighters have travelled from EU member states to join militant groups since mid-2012.


Helpline operator

Defence ministers for China and India held talks earlier this week on a potential plan to establish a military hotline for border security. In May last year, leaders from both nations agreed to take the heat out of their longstanding border dispute where a border war in the early 1960s resulted in two decades of diplomatic tensions. China claims 90,000 km² in the eastern Himalayas that’s ruled by India, while New Delhi claims China occupies 38,000 km² in the Aksai Chin plateau. For an in-depth analysis of the Himalayan dispute check out this report (PDF) from the Australian Defence College.

EU wants to talk the border walk

Earlier this month, the European Commission launched a dialogue on a future framework to explore how information systems could enhance its external and internal border security and management. This coincided with a discussion between the EU commission and the EU Parliament and the Council on stronger and smarter EU borders, and what options could be taken to improve existing information systems used for border security.

First Responder

Costs of natural disasters

Natural disasters have caused more than eight million deaths and cost more than US$8 trillion in damage since 1900, according to new research from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. Dr James Daniell evaluated more than 35,000 natural disaster events from 1900 to 2015, in order to build a post-disaster risk model to assist with catastrophe management. The research found one third of overall economic losses were the result of floods, followed by earthquakes (26%), storms (19%) and volcanic eruptions (1%). The 2011 earthquake in Japan caused the biggest economic loss from a single event ($335 billion), while the greatest single loss of life was attributed to the 1931 floods in China (more than 2.5 million deaths).

Citywide resilience for San Francisco

On the 110th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire on 18 April, the city’s mayor has announced a citywide resilience strategy. The ‘Resilient San Francisco – Stronger Today, Stronger Tomorrow’ strategy has been developed in partnership with the public, private, and non-profit sectors, as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities scheme. It will see the establishment of an Office of Resilience, as well as 54 specific initiatives including the construction of a disaster-resilient waterfront and plans to seismically retrofit vulnerable buildings.