Terrorism is described in USC 18 as any attack by an individual, group or organization on the civil population to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping, and, may occur internationally or domestically (Legal Information Institute, n.d.). The US saw a number of domestic terrorist attacks, but the September 9/11 attack on the U.S. marked a turning point for U.S in terms of national security and safeguarding the public from future terrorist attacks as it left citizens questioning the government competency and capability to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil as well as the ability of the entire criminal justice system to safeguard the populace. The attack left an air of uncertainty, consequently, new and more aggressive means had to be implemented and effectuate when investigating terrorism. The whole scope and application of the law when it came to surveillance and what it means for civil liberties changed as the government and people developed public safety concerns. According to reports in the Gallup News Service (n.d.). there is a heighten sense of concern among Americans about terrorism as it invariably fuels anxiety about future attacks as the threats are ubiquitous, which makes it nebulous, ill-defined and difficult to locate.
The suggestions for the USA PATRIOT Act which was denied by congress and was unpopular among many Americans thus became the tool used to obstruct or thwart terrorism in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The USA PATRIOT Act was established in 2001 after the September 11, terrorist attack on the United States to protect the population from terrorism, to intercept and obstruct terrorism and is also the tool used for surveillance purposes (Preserving life and liberty, n.d.). The 9/11 attacks were seemly not the last of a series of terrorist attacks that would be launched on the United States, by different individuals and groups seeking to change public opinion, eliminate minority groups and influence the government in a particular way. Twelve years later, in 2013 the Tsarnaev brothers – notoriously known as the Boston Marathon bombers used a pressure-cooker bomb to carry out an attack on over 30000 participants and countless spectators at the iconic Boston Marathon. The explosive killed 3 spectators, and wounded 260 other people (History, n.d.). Two days later on April 19, 2013 Dzhokhar Tsarnaev following the death of his brother was arrested, and, on march 15, 2015 he was convicted and sentenced. It is still unclear as to the true reasons for the terrorist attack as officials have contended that it was an independent attack void of any influence from radical/extremist groups, however, Russian intelligence security services believed that the boys were followers of radical Islam. This incident left not only the people present at the marathon horrified but it served as another wake up call for Americans on the dangers of domestic terrorism. The implications of these fears on society are significant and numerous, this has resulted in amplified efforts by the criminal justice system to protect the nation from terrorism.
The USA PARIOT Act, allows law enforcement to use surveillance against more crimes of terror, allows federal agents to follow sophisticated terrorists trained to evade detection, and, allows federal agents to ask a court for an order to obtain business records in national security terrorism cases (Preserving life and liberty, n.d.). Additionally, law enforcement as intensified their emergency response plan and have and continue to update plans for chemical, biological or radiological attacks (Siegel, 2006). Their focus is not only on international terrorism but also on deterring terrorism on Americans soil by Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVE). Hate Groups To effectively explain what a hate group is, I will first define the term hate. Hate is defined as extreme disgust, intense dislike, animosity or aversion towards something or someone. Hate groups therefore are promoters of hatred, hostility, and violence towards an entire segment of the society and are usually known for their immutable characteristics (Southern Poverty Law Center, n.d.). Hate groups are not new, history has proven this with the infamous lynching groups and the Ku Klu Klan, however there have been myriads of new hate groups but with the same or similar ideologies- ‘hatred towards another or different group or class in society’. According to Southern Poverty Law Center (n.d.) the United States is experiencing a rise in hate groups with over 954 hate groups operating statewide. Although the Ku Klux Klan groups, declined from 130 groups to 72, the white supremacist movement and neo-Nazi groups grew by 22 percent and the Anti-Muslim groups are steadily rising yearly (Southern Poverty Law Center, n.d.). A number of factors have been highlighted as causes contributing to hate groups such as President Donald Trump’s campaign, the rise in social tensions and technology which have made it possible for individuals with extremist’s ideology to become a part of different groups that express / share similar sentiments. The information gathered from the Southern Poverty Law center website revealed the states that were most affected by hate groups; five of which are Georgia (40), Tennessee (37), Virginia (37) Indiana (30), and, Alabama (23). These hate groups are mostly white nationalism, neo-Nazism, Islamophobia, and the Ku Klux Klan; black supremacy, skinheads and a few neo-confederates. For the purpose of this essay I have researched hate groups within Michigan. The site revealed that Michigan has a total of twenty-nine (29) hate groups. The groups are as follows: anti-immigration, Christian identity, general hate, hate music, holocaust denial, Ku Klu Klan, neo-volkisch and racist skinheads all account for 1 while anti-Muslim (3), white nationalist (5), neo-Nazi (6) and black nationalist with a maximum of seven (7); many of which are concentrated around the Detroit and Mainstee National Forest Region (Southern Poverty Law Center, n.d.). The information presented was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. Hate groups in its mildest form may lead to protest, marches and rallies, against different groups in society, and at its most extreme may insight violence and acts of terrorism. While bigotry is not illegal, the criminal justice system should make a clear distinction between chauvinism and acts /speeches that insight violence on different groups. It is of my opinion that there needs to be a clear distinction in line drawing when it comes to the First Amendment in order to reduce or better yet eliminate these groups. Credit Card Abuse A credit card is a bank issued card by banks and business to individuals to purchase goods on credit, with the agreement that the holder will pay back the principal and the interest occurred on the card. There are four main types of credit cards: rewards, low interest, balance transfer and secured. Credit cards may also vary according to excellent credit and bad credit as well as for persons trying to build their credit.
There are many advantages to owing a credit, the first being able to increase one’s credit score with responsible spending, next, it is good in case of an emergency and may even allow cash advances, it eliminates carrying cash and is usually very convenient. While credit cards may be advantageous, there are also some disadvantages to owning a credit card. It encourages overspending, may occur high interest rates and if stolen may rack up debts without the knowledge of the owner. It is believed that on average Americans own about 3.7 cards. 7% of the cardholders own 7or more cards. Presently I fall in the average group which holds 3-4 credits. Like many others I do not only use these cards for in-store purchases but also on line purchases which makes me quite vulnerable to credit card theft. It is important to protect yourself when shopping online to avoid identity theft/ credit card theft. Users should use secure sites -https connection and valid security certificates, use antivirus software and avoid sending card information over email or via social media or open sites with offers as it may be a phishing attempt. Individuals may further protect themselves from predators by constantly scrutinizing their cards, ensure liability protection, add PIN and/ or used virtual account number. Most people try to protect themselves from credit card fraud/theft but the possibility still exists. Using Tracking by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and CyberScout it was discovered that there were 791 data breaches reported in the U.S. by the end of June 2017, more than physical theft (Steele,2017). It’s easy to say that the country is run on credits, as it is vital to both the institutions and individuals; but has we have seen, credit cards abuse have become a billion-dollar industry in the United States. It was reported by the person finance website WalletHub that the total credit card debt in United States exceeded $1 trillion and that on average, each household owes over $8600 in credit card debts (Pak, 2018). Individuals with credit cards sometimes overspend on goods they are not in need of, or try to balance their budget and keep economically afloat using these cards, which eventually cause delinquent payments on credit cards and credit card debts.
According to WalletHub, the survey done revealed that 13% of people with credit card debt cannot recall their spending. However, records show that mortgages accounts for the largest factor of household debt. Where the delinquency rate continues to rise, banks and other lending institution will have heightened their requirements, interest charges and fees, tighten credit and reduce customer deals. Shoplifting If you shop at Walmart you may notice that the packs of fashion ear-rings are usually missing a couple or more pairs, or if you do some crochet in your spare time you may also notice that the needles are missing from the packs leaving the packs empty of the essentials. Shoplifting is the concealment of merchandise from a place of business, in other words it is a type of larceny, which means taking someone’s property offered for sale without permission with the intent to deprive the owner thereof (FindLaw, 2018). Shoplifting is a serious problem facing business owners as it may cost them thousands of dollars in merchandize. Although many see shoplifting as a minor wrongdoing that needs only to be addressed by business owners and the offender, it is far more severe in terms of losses for owners. Many states punish offenders under their general larceny or theft statutes established to address shoplifting and may include actions to alter price tags, switching goods into cheaper containers or manipulating merchandize to forgo the original payment price. In most states concealing the goods inside or outside is enough, the intent is what is relevant, not space/ location of the offender after the fact.
Business owners need to also play their part in trying to control the rate of shoplifting, and may use the following strategies to help reduce the problem. Firstly, they must gain a comprehensive acknowledge of their location and environment prior to taking proactive and preventative measures. Key to making a plan is avoiding stereotyping, many people believe that shoplifting is common to women, teens and blacks, however, a study on shoplifting from the University of Florida has revealed that men steal more than women and most people who shop lift fall in the middle-aged category and are in fact gainfully employed and that shoplifting occurs more frequently on Wednesdays-Fridays and on weekends when it gets busy as well as during the summer, consequently, all customers must be treated with the same level of respect and a tighter shift run on the days mentioned above (Shopkeep, n.d.). Stores must be kept well organized to improve oversight and managers should build a good relationship with customers, as customers who know that they are known will avoid stealing and may even report suspicious behavior in stores to owners. Loitering is never usually a good sign, so business managers should maintain a loiter free area, this not only to prevent shoplifting but also other types of crime such as robbery, pick pockets and other petty thefts. Getting involved with community police and patrol is also important as they can give advices and information on how to deal with these issues as well as who to keep an eye on; in addition to that adding preventative tactics is a must- electronic article surveillance, CCTV, mirrors, and a combination of advanced anti-theft technological devices are important in preventing shoplifting. Finally, there should be a plan put in place to deal with incidents of shoplifting if it does occur.