Hide, Lock, Keep: Addressing the Property Crime Problem in Utah Cities

Around two to three years ago, major Utah cities, like Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Provo were notorious for property crimes, ranging from auto theft, larceny, and burglary. In 2016, motor vehicle was a pressing problem in the entire state. This was when 21 cars were reported stolen every single day, amounting to thousands of pilfered vehicles a year.

Property Crime in Utah Cities Before

The abovementioned places made it to some of the international lists for the most dangerous cities for property crimes. In 2016, Provo ranked fourth in FBI’s top cities for increased property crime. This was mainly due to burglary, which made up 56 percent of the total crimes. Vehicle theft follows at 35 percent and larceny at 30 percent.

Salt Lake City topped that same list just last year. For a population of 193, 918, it had 75.4 property crime cases per 1,000 people. This is an alarmingly high ratio for a town the size of Salt Lake City.

Property Crime in Utah Cities Today

Ogden

In general, crime rates in different Utah cities dropped, but to varying degrees. In Ogden, property and violent crimes decreased by 20 percent from 2017 to 2018. These offenses include robbery, burglary, larceny, theft, arson, rape, homicide, and aggravated assault. Ogden’s climb toward being a safer town is due to several factors.

Ogden Chief of Police Randy Watt said it may be a result of the police department’s decision to review and change some of its protocols after seeing an 11 percent increase in said crimes from 2015 to 2016. The department reorganized the divisions and bureaus to align with the same set of goals.

Another contributing factor is Ogden’s participation in Project Safe Neighborhood. This program is a collaboration between the national and local law enforcement agencies aimed at determining which cases that can be prosecuted on the federal level. The goal is to identify repeat offenders in Ogden and give them longer sentences out of state.

Provo

Automotive security in Provo, Utah is now a prime concern, according to the Provo police department. The department introduced Hide, Lock, Keep, a program that will help protect the community from criminals. Police officer Brooke Fox explained that students from the Brigham Young University (BYU) leave their valuables in their cars with the doors unlocked. They also don’t lock the front doors of their dormitories since they have roommates going in and out.

Office Fox explained that this habit makes people an easy target for criminals. They can easily peek through car windows, open the door, and steal the valuable item inside. Provo’s community policing unit printed cards that say “Hide, Lock, Keep” to remind residents to secure their cars, homes, and valuables.

Salt Lake City

theft opening the car's window

Although Salt Lake City is still struggling to reduce its property crime rates, it has dropped to number 2 in the most dangerous city for property crimes. It’s a significant reduction, from 75.4 crimes in 2017, to 70.82 in 2018, but still an alarmingly high rate.

Salt Lake City police reports that last May, 51 cars were stolen in just 14 days. Police say they are working on identifying the suspects. But it’s difficult since the incidents occurred in different areas in the city, so they can’t link it to just one suspect.

The United Police Department of Greater Salt Lake has the Community Watch program. This strategy involves the efforts of citizens in different areas who are trained to notice and report suspicious activities near their homes. The goal is to teach residents how to protect themselves and their families and work together to prevent crime.

Utah still has a long way to go in reducing property crimes. But the initiatives from each city is a step toward keeping its people safer and improving its law enforcement.

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What Is the Essential 8 Maturity Model?

Any company that needs network security management will find it easier if they follow the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) Essential Eight Maturity Model, especially if your business is part of the healthcare sector.

According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the private health service industry accounted for 45 data breaches out of 245 recorded cases between July and September 2018. The finance industry ranked behind with 35 cases, followed by 34 data breaches in the legal, accounting and management services sector. Private education providers and personal services companies reported 16 and 13 data breaches, respectively.

What Are the Eight Models?

The following comprise the eight models under the ACSC’s guidelines:

• Application Whitelisting

• Patch Applications

• Configure Microsoft Office Macro Settings

• User Application Hardening

• Restrict Administrative Privileges

• Patch Operating Systems

• Multi-factor Authentication

• Daily Backups

You can determine the maturity of using these mitigation techniques based on Levels One to Three, which corresponds to “partial, mostly and fully aligned” maturity. Each level classifies specific tasks in line with the intended purpose of mitigation methods. However, the ACSC suggests fully aligned maturity for every model.

Level 3 Maturity

There are other ways to determine Level Three Maturity, but the information below provides a good illustration:

Application Whitelists 

• Is used for all servers and workstations to avoid implementing executable files to approve sets

• Prevents the execution of installers, scripts and software libraries, and scripts to approve sets

• Has Microsoft-suggested block rules for stopping hackers to bypass whitelisting applications

Patch Software and Operating Systems

• Fix security issues within 48 hours

• Update or replace vendor applications that are no longer in use

• Has an automated system oversee applications and driver patches among other installations

Configure Microsoft Office Macro Settings

• Users can’t change security settings

• Only allow signed macros to execute files

• Block macros in documents coming from the Internet

• Execute documents only from Trusted Locations

User Program Hardening

• Browsers block or disable Flash content

• Has configurations for blocking advertisements and Java from the Internet

• Use extra configurations for Microsoft Office

Restrict managerial control

• Validate privileged access to systems, applications and information at least once every year

• Restrict access to few, authorized people

• Has technical security controls to prevent users from doing irrelevant tasks (e.g. reading emails)

Complex Verification

data protection

• Confirm the identity of all remote users

• Authenticate requests for remote privileged network access

• Validate requests for accessing confidential information

• Has at least two ways of authentication (e.g. one-time tokens, biometrics)

Daily Backups

• Back up all valuable data, software and configuration settings at least every day

• Store back-up files offline or online using non-rewritable and non-erasable methods

• Keep back-ups for at least three months

• Test full restoration ability of all back-up files at least once

• Repeat tests for full restoration when there are changes to IT infrastructure

Find a reliable IT service provider for network security management and ask for advice about the ACSC’s models. You should also conduct an independent audit that includes network testing to learn more about the vulnerability of your system architecture.

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Must-Have Tech Tools for Every Law Firm

It may be due to how most law firms in movies and television are depicted as offices with desks filled with paper and using a decade-old computer with a CRT screen, but the legal practice has the unfair reputation of being low-tech or even technologically lagging. Unfortunately, some law firms do tend to use technology sparingly, and mostly only for record keeping, drafting letters, sending emails. In order to streamline and improve office operations, as well as increasing your law firm’s productivity and competitiveness, you have adapted and made use of technology. As such, we’ll be taking a look at essential tech tools you’d want to adapt to make your law firm more efficient and effective:

Law Practice Management Software

This would be the best place to start when adapting technology into your law firm. Law practice management software is one of the best tools for your paralegals or legal secretaries to properly manage all aspects of your law practice including scheduling, contacts, deadlines, billing and invoicing, time tracking, and even payroll management. Some of these software are even cloud-based, allowing you and other authorized members of the law firm to securely access this information and manage your law firm’s operations anywhere and anytime.

Accounting and Tax Software

Managing your law firm’s finances and taxes are an integral part of your law firm’s operations. Accounting and tax software can aid you in keeping track of your finances and expenses, as well as aid you in properly filing taxes and even avoid overpaying taxes by guiding you with the deductibles.

Client portals

A web-based client portal can provide you and your clients a secure, convenient, and quick way to communicate. If you do decide on having a client portal for your law firm, ensure that it’s encrypted for safety and is designed to be user-friendly for easier usage. Some client portals also include features such as sharing of documents and invoices and even allow clients to pay online, thus improving the billing process.

Video Conferencing Software

Video conferencing allows you to save both time and money instead of commuting to a client’s place. Make sure that you invest in encrypted and secure video conferencing software or application to guarantee privacy and safety when hosting meetings between you and your clients.

Marketing Software

Hiring a legal marketer or law firm marketer can be quite expensive. Alternatively, you can invest in marketing automation software that can help you in effectively promoting your law firm through email and even social media, allowing you to save money and time that you could allocate towards your law firm’s operations.

E-Discovery Software

As you might know by now, e-discovery is becoming more and more on-demand in the legal practice. There are many e-Discovery software out there to help you discover and preserve electronic data or electronically-stored information (ESI). There are even more specialized ones used to capture and preserve websites and webpages (which serve as evidence for crimes such as blackmail, extortion, defamatory libel) that complies with authenticity standards to be admissible in court, and also have features such as saving website history archive.

Conclusion

Gavel on computer

These software and technology can go a long way in improving your law firm’s operations and streamlining operations. So, if you’re ready to take the next step towards bringing your law firm into the modern age, it’s best to consider these tools as well as the many other software and technology out there designed specifically for law firms and legal practice.

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Does Your Medical Condition Really Call for a Trip to the ER?

Emergency room entrance of hospital

Whenever people are injured or feel poorly, there's an almost primal desire to rush to the emergency room. A lot of the times these are valid concerns, such as major injuries and truly debilitating diseases. But sometimes, people go to the emergency room for minor medical concerns that could occupy the time of medical professionals who could be helping someone with worse conditions. There's also the fact that emergency room bills are soaring through the roof, with a woman who only received an ice pack getting a $5,000 bill. But what other options are there for the sick and injured of the United States? Where are they to turn for their sniffles and stitches?

Urgent Attention for Urgent Needs

All over America, urgent medical care franchises are providing people with treatments for their non-life threatening injuries and diseases. There are approximately 9,000 of these facilities throughout the country. Much like an emergency room, there is no need to schedule an appointment to receive aid. Nurse practitioners usually provide the necessary patient care and they can tend to a lot of things that people usually rush to the ER for. In fact, between 13.7 to 27.1 percent of emergency room visits are treatable with the resources available at an urgent care facility. There are multiple benefits for choosing to go to one of these locations instead of the emergency room.

Because the staff of urgent medical care centers only treat conditions that aren't life-threatening, they don't attend to patients by descending order of severity. They, instead, operate on a first-come-first-served basis, massively cutting down the time a patient would otherwise wait to see an emergency medical professional. A patient in an urgent care facility would wait an average of fewer than 30 minutes before receiving treatment. Compare that to the average two-hour waiting time of an emergency room, and the appeal of these centers becomes readily apparent.

What Constitutes an ER-Worthy Condition?

man in a mobile hospital bed

As useful and practical as these facilities can be, people should still be aware of when their condition requires the expertise and treatments only available at emergency rooms.

If someone is finding it very hard to breathe, such as happens during a severe allergic reaction or an impending heart attack, it may be time to call the paramedics or head for the nearest emergency room. Speaking of heart attacks, if a person feels pain on the left side of their chest and has a history of cardiac problems, someone should definitely call the emergency room for help. The same goes for when someone starts displaying the classic signs of a stroke, such as slurred speech and the sagging of one side of the face.

Other symptoms and conditions that warrant a trip to the ER include:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Sudden loss of sensation in any extremity
  • The presence of blood when coughing
  • Wounds that won't stop bleeding
  • Seizures

If someone experiences any of these, the best way to get help is to dial 911 or rush them to an emergency room.

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Hops that You’ve Never Heard of but Are still Worth the Try

You’ve brewed with Citra, Simcoe, and Cascade. You might have even gotten hold of some Galaxy or Nelson Sauvin. Favorite hops have dominated the market and brewing circles, but there are newer and less popular hops that are still worth your attention.

Mandarina Bavaria

Germany has some of the oldest hop varieties, and most of their hop research goes towards making hardier strains with bigger yields. Only in the past decade have they began researching into newer hop varieties, and one of their most successful results is Mandarina Bavaria. This fresh hop comes courtesy of the U.S. Cascade, giving it a little more flavor than the usual German or Noble hop. It evokes tones of strawberry, gooseberry, and black currant while delivering intense flavors of lemon, lime, and tangerine. Since it is grown in Germany, the hop retains a spicy and herbal base similar to those of the noble hop varieties.

Loral

It’s not a shampoo, but it will give your brews a smooth bitterness and make them smell good. Loral is the American answer to the European noble hops. It produces strong floral, herbal, and spicy notes, but it also contains the citrusy notes that your patrons love. Loral is very aromatic, but the herbal and spicy notes are more pronounced in the aroma and less in the actual flavor. As a bittering hop, it makes excellent lagers and its high alpha acid content make it very suitable for IPAs. Loral has been getting some buzz the past two years and is worth giving a shot.

Enigma

Beer testing

Galaxy has made every other Australian hop take the backseat, but one hop you should try is Enigma. Enigma is intensely fruity with subtler floral tones and hints of raspberry. Its flavors are reminiscent of white wine, often garnering comparison with New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin. It produces a bright hop aroma that’s strong on earthiness and floral notes. The wine-like flavors can be a bit sharp and overwhelming for regular beer-drinkers, but you can pair it with a bit of Simcoe to make a more balanced and mature brew. Production isn’t as high as Galaxy — which is pushing 1,000 tons by next year — but you should still have no problems finding Enigma on your local stores or online.

XJA2/436

With its seemingly sci-fi name, XJA2/436 is still in the experimental stage (either that or it’s a great marketing gimmick). The South African hop carries various fruity notes with a bit of lemon, gooseberries, and a strong papaya flavor. It is very aromatic, and its fruity flavors are impressive, but a lot of other fruity hops make more flavorful brews. What XJA2/436 excels at is bittering. It works great on pale ales and IPAs, adding only a hint of berry to your drinks. XJA2/436 is still in the experimental stage so stocks are limited and you might have trouble getting your hands on them.

Don’t always stick with the top hops. Widen your brewing experience by trying newer and lesser-known hops. With a little experimenting, you might create that perfect brew that you’ve always wanted.

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