NYPD can’t count cash they’ve seized because it would crash computers

From Ars Technica:

The New York City Police Department takes in millions of dollars in cash each year as evidence, often keeping the money through a procedure called civil forfeiture. But as New York City lawmakers pressed for greater transparency into how much was being seized and from whom, a department official claimed providing that information would be nearly impossible—because querying the 4-year old computer system that tracks evidence and property for the data would “lead to system crashes.”

Even with the system, however, the NYPD’s Assistant Deputy Commissioner Robert Messner told the New York City Council’s Public Safety Committee that the department had no idea how much money it took in as evidence, nor did it have a way of reporting how much was seized through civil forfeiture proceedings—where property and money is taken from people suspected of involvement in a crime through a civil filing, and the individuals whom it is seized from are put in the position of proving that the property was not involved in the crime of which they were accused.

So NYPD has spend millions on an expensive database that prevents them from conducting accountability queries on seized evidence? That’s an interesting design choice.


CSI and Malaysia 370


See, on TV and in the movies (Enemy of the State, anyone), the government always has whatever technology they need at exactly the right moment they need it to solve a problem. Even more, they have unlimited budgets to pursue every case.

So of course people think Malaysia 370 was under total observation all the time. It’s the only story that “makes sense” given what they all “know.”

The ‘CSI effect’ also causes huge problems at jury trials these days, with jurors often unable to believe that a CSI-style analysis of evidence isn’t possible or hasn’t been done. Equally pernicious, CSI-based evidence is often held in higher regard, now, that previously on the basis that it must be accurate. Because, you know, unless you’re dealing with the master-villian of the series the CSI analyses are likely to have successfully drawn conclusions.

Yay TV and technology?