Introduction to Buying Website Traffic

From the moment the Internet appeared, lots of users used it to seek ideas, solutions or entertainment. So the important question is: how can you bring these people to your site? There are lots of manners for you to do this: promote your website, optimize it for search engine ranking, advertise on it, link to other sites or purchase traffic.

But is purchasing traffic a good idea?

This question can be answered with both yes and no. You will want and need to purchase real traffic to your website, but at the same time you should know that purchasing traffic for your website can be quite risky. When you are purchasing targeted traffic in order to increase your exposure or generate sales, you do not have a guarantee that will actually obtain sales from the traffic you’ve bought. But you still can hope to change the traffic into sales if your site has what the potential buyer is looking for.

Cheap

Purchasing untargeted traffic is a very cheap source of traffic, but it is extremely unpredictable. You can’t expect a lot of conversion out of it. Thus, this is a great solution to increase the potential rank of your website, but at the same time it can lead to massive loss. Make sure you don’t purchase fake traffic. This can be obtained through spam or bots. The last thing you need is to purchase traffic that was forced. For instance, the pop ups can drive a person crazy every time he or she opens a site. Those who open a site that contains a pop up usually choose to leave because they get distracted and annoyed by this. This is a sure way to drive people away.
What traffic is good for you?

There are various manners in which one can obtain paid traffic. But all the methods revolve around the quality traffic. Of course, the organic traffic would be more than welcomed, but we all know that it might take too long to get it. In fact, playing with SEO techniques is not the easiest thing in the world. That is if you want to make money fast. However, if you purchase site traffic, you will get it instantly and you will not have to pray to the Google god in order to make your site matter. This is the main reason why purchasing site traffic is extremely popular.

Let’s not examine the popular methods of buying traffic just yet. Before getting into that, it is vital to keep in mind the following phrase: return on investment (or ROI). Purchasing traffic is definitely risky. Any type of advertising has its risks. You will be paying to get traffic, so you will have to get a profit. The paid traffic is extremely expensive and cannot be used for branding (internet marketers or business owners know what I am saying). But we will get to that soon.

For now, let’s talk about the primary ways to get traffic (the paid type).

Media Buys

For this you will have to know who your target audience is and where to reach them. Lots of people use this method in order to purchase banner space for their sites.

It is true that the AdWords program allows you to buy banners on the network, but there are lots of options when it comes to this topic: ad and social networks, co-registration offers, or direct buys. The last option can bring you high traffic sites in your niche and can help you select the ones that fit your advertising needs.

PPC Advertising

This is the most influential traffic because it comes from accurate searches. Lots of persons are interested in what you have to offer. Facebook, Google AdWords or Yahoo Search are just 3 of the PPC programs which permit buying a space for ads, depending on a clear list of keywords. This way you can control the delivered traffic and tweak the existent campaigns in order to increase the ROI. Remember that there are a few advertisers that place the name of their company in the title of the text dedicated for branding. However, if you want to make the best out of your ROI, concentrate on keywords related to product names.

CPV Traffic

The cost per view method is quite cheap, but at the same time it is a very complicated paid traffic source that doesn’t bring back an important return. You don’t have a lot of options in this case and you have to pay per every impression. Which is not the case for the cost per thousand method. In this case, traffic is delivered under the form of page ads (full pop unders or overs) to those who have previously agreed to receive it. They do this by adding different software with or without their knowledge. However, keep in mind that this type of traffic is still new and it has little competition. So it doesn’t hurt to look.

Mobile advertising

And last but not least, the mobile marketing technique has become quite popular, since lots of people browse the Internet from the phone. If you want to try this method, check AdMob Network from Google. This has started small and it is now an important source. So if you handle an offline business, verify the text message marketing and you will see that the response rate will be higher.

There are lots of options when it comes to purchasing web traffic. Only you can decide which one is more suited for you. Keep in mind the important elements: the ROI and the conversions. Try new stuff and go with the options that work!

Claiming Compensation For Personal Injury – Myth V Reality

Myth 1

We live in a compensation culture where people sue at the drop of a hat for even the most trivial injuries.

Reality 1

In order to make a successful claim for personal injury compensation you have to prove that you have been hurt or injured. Unless the evidence supports the claim the case has no chance of success, ever, period. Spurious damages claims may grab the headlines but they will never see the light of day in court. Anyone can claim compensation but it’s the follow-through that counts and the papers never report on the half-baked claims that never succeed.

We are only concerned here about real people who have suffered real injuries.

The fact is that many people still don’t realise that they have a right to claim compensation if they have been hurt or injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault.

We know from research carried out by the Citizens Advice Bureau that over 60% of people entitled to make a claim for compensation fail to do so. From our own experience, we find that many people who go on to become clients of the firm are unsure about making a claim for a variety of reasons. It’s our job to help accident victims and their families understand their rights and guide them through the legal process.

We understand that some people are affected by the myth of a ‘compensation culture’ and may be concerned about what family and friends will think if they make a claim. Passengers injured in a car driven by a family member or a friend can become distressed by the very thought of seeking damages and workers can be unwilling to claim against their employers.

Myth 2

People who claim compensation for personal injury are just looking for a source of extra money

Reality 2

The key issue for the injured person and their family is whether they can afford not to seek damages, particularly if they are unable to continue working or have to change jobs as a result of their accident.

In any event, the amount of money awarded is far from being a ‘lottery’ win. In the UK damages in personal injury cases are based on very precise calculations, refined over many years, which reflect the extent of the injury and the earning capacity of the victim. The process is designed with one aim in mind – to put the injured party back to where they were before the accident. Thus a twisted ankle claim will not attract a multi-million pound sum, whereas a brain-injured survivor of a road traffic accident might well receive a very large sum of money to pay for a lifetime of medical care.

Myth 3

The insurance company will look after my interests – they have already offered me a cheque.

Reality 3

Insurance companies are not registered charities. They have a statutory duty to their shareholders to maintain and enhance their levels of profitability and that means they will fight to totally repudiate or reduce the value of your claim.

It is not uncommon for accident victims to receive an offer direct from an insurance company in the immediate aftermath of their injury and before the full extent of any physical damage has been assessed ‘in full and final settlement’ of their claim. The motivation behind this offer is to reduce the insurance company’s costs by enticing accident victims with a tempting sum of money which is designed to prevent any future claim. Once this money has been accepted that’s it – claim over, regardless of any medical complications yet to be diagnosed.

Myth 4

Claiming compensation is costly and difficult.

Reality 4

Like any legal process, making a claim for compensation requires a certain level of expertise and experience. That’s what specialist personal injury lawyers are trained to do. The best lawyers will review your case totally free of charge, take on all the work and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies and their representatives. If they lose the case you pay nothing, if they win your case you will normally pay a pre-arranged percentage of your award.

Although the vast majority of claims settle out of court, it is vital that your case is thoroughly prepared and ready to go to court if required. Make no mistake, you need an experienced personal injury solicitor on your side who will push the insurance company’s legal team to settle your case in your favour, not someone who will sit meekly by and accept whatever is on offer. Going to court can be a bit daunting but your solicitor will be with you every step of the way to give you all the help and support you need.

Myth 5

A 100% compensation deal is better than ‘no win no fee’ if my lawyer takes a success fee.

Reality 5

Anybody can say yes to an insurance company’s initial offer. If you are on a 100% compensation deal you will get 100% of that sum, no problem, or is it? You should consider the value you place on your lawyer’s expertise and track record – check them out. The best lawyers know how to win the big awards and they are well resourced to take on the insurance industry and after all, 80% of £10,000 is considerably more than 100% of £5,000.

If you do decide to make a claim you have a bewildering choice of compensation claims ‘specialists’ lining up to help, so what do you need to consider before you lift the phone?

1. Can I claim?

If you have been hurt or injured in an accident within the last 3 years that wasn’t your fault, or if you have been diagnosed with an industrial illness or disease within the last 7 years, you are entitled to make a claim. There are special time limits applying to claims made on behalf of children.

The key phrase is: ‘entitled to make a claim’. Whether or not your claim is successful is dependent upon the strength of the evidence and the skill, experience and commitment of a specialist personal injury solicitor who will help you decide if your claim is worth pursuing in the first place.

It is vitally important to let a qualified solicitor advise on the merits of your claim. Over the years we have been able to secure substantial awards for people who thought that their actions, or lack of action (e.g. not wearing a seat belt) would drastically reduce the value of their damages or even cause their claim to be thrown out altogether. So, if you don’t want to get injured twice, get proper legal advice.

2. Who should I talk to?

There is no substitute for experience. If your injury is serious and your claim is undervalued you run a real risk of compromising your family’s financial future. Even relatively minor claims in the wrong hands can cost the accident victim several thousand pounds in ‘lost’ damages.

3. Solicitor or claims company?

It’s not quite that simple.

Many solicitors in general practice will take on personal injury cases but you have to ask yourself if they have the expertise to handle your claim. A solicitor who deals with house sales and family law matters in the morning is perhaps not the best person to be handling your personal injury claim in the afternoon.

Some specialist personal injury firms who work on behalf of accident victims (i.e. the pursuers) also work for the very insurance companies (i.e. the defenders) who are being sued by accident victims. It would be in your interest to know if the firm you are thinking about contacting is totally committed to fighting for the rights of injured people.

Despite appearances, claims companies are not firms of solicitors and they cannot pursue your claim in the Scottish courts. Claims companies operate under different guises, but they share one common characteristic – they are basically middlemen who match your claim with a solicitor from a panel. All you have done by not directly contacting a solicitor of your own choosing is added an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and cost between you and the successful resolution of your claim.

4. Regulation

Scottish solicitors are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland. Unlike in England & Wales, there is no regulation of claims companies in Scotland.

Andy Thorogood is the Practice Development Manager at Bonnar & Company Solicitors, a leading firm of personal injury solicitors and accident compensation claim specialists with offices across Scotland.

Bonnar & Company has over 30 years’ experience of personal injury claims in Scotland and only ever works on behalf of accident victims and their families.

Top Ten Characteristics Most Often Found in Great Family Businesses

“Good is the enemy of great,” proclaims Jim Collins in his landmark bestselling book “Good to GREAT.” To achieve greatness in business, Collins’ research shows, among other things, that leaders must:
– Face the brutal facts
– Get the right people on the bus, in the right seats
– Become the best in the world at something (The Hedgehog Concept)
– Know what you are deeply passionate about
– Know what drives your company’s economic engine

And how does Collins’ research team measure the transition from good to great? The primary metric used was financial performance as reflected in the stock values of these businesses. The 11 companies selected had to have “experienced 15-year cumulative stock returns that were at or below the general stock market, punctuated by a transition point, then cumulative returns at least three times the market over the next fifteen years.”

These companies are:
Abbott
Circuit City
Gillette
Fannie Mae
Kroger
Philip Morris
Kimberly-Clark
Wells Fargo
Walgreens
Nucor
Pitney Bowes

As you can see from this list, achieving greatness does not guarantee staying great. One company is bankrupt; others have declined, leading to Collins’ latest book: “How the Mighty Fall.” However in both of these books, like so much of business research, the companies studied are publicly traded in large part because these companies generate objective data that are accessible and can be analyzed and compared.

Since most family businesses are privately-held and many keep numbers confidential, it is much more difficult to access quantitative data, making them more difficult to study. We do not possess the body of knowledge about when family businesses may have transitioned from an average or good company to a great company. So, what makes a family business great? In fact, there is no single definition or metric for a good family enterprise or a great family enterprise. Financial performance is just one important indicator of a successful company. For family businesses, we find that greatness goes beyond an ROI (return on investment) or EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) number. In fact, over the years of working with family businesses, certain attributes have emerged that can arguably be tied to greatness. The following are 10 distinguishing characteristics most often found in great family businesses.

1. Living Shared Values: Great family enterprises consist of families that understand their values and guiding principles and truly live them in their business decisions and actions. The Mogi family (producers of Kikoman Soy Sauce and now in its 17th generation) created a family constitution in the late 1800s that includes 16 guiding principles. As an example, number 15 describes the trait of humility “…never think highly of yourself.” In great family businesses, values are the bedrock. In fact, John Ward (one of the founders of FBCG) has stated, “values pervade every aspect of family business. Values are the independent variable shaping every dimension of family business management.” Great enterprising families use their values to help guide key decisions regarding strategy, structure, diversification, culture, employee recruitment, governance and very importantly-succession.

2. Strong Financial Performance AND More! Just as Collins points out for public companies, family-owned businesses must also demonstrate continuous strong financial results. In fact, as a collective group, family businesses have shown strong long term financial performance. A McKinsey study shows that over time family-owned businesses financially out-perform other businesses by 7 to 8 percent but a great family company is not ONLY measured by profitability. Many family businesses have helped develop the more encompassing concept of the Triple Bottom Line: economic, environmental and community. Great family enterprises, while economically strong, are also stewards of the environment and often lead in the development of eco-friendly products and practices. In addition, communities around the world benefit significantly from the philanthropy displayed by great family companies.

3. Evolving Governance: As a family and a family business grow and become more complex, the need to govern beyond an owner/operator approach is vital. Those family enterprises with carefully blended key elements of governance have positioned themselves for much greater success. An active board of directors that includes independent outside directors sets the oversight tone in the business. On the family side, a family council can capture the voice of the family and effectively communicate the needs and concerns of the family to the board. This entity can help develop guiding documents, such as a Family Constitution, which includes policies or guidelines (e.g., family member employment policy or
compensation guidelines) that clarify the “rules of the road” where family and business intersect. In addition, an ownership council may be appropriate if the shareholder pool has become fairly large. This oversight structure for ownership provides the correct forum for discussing issues around ownership priorities. Great family enterprises evolve a governance structure which often leads to both greater business performance AND greater family unity.

4. Family Involvement: The degree to which family members actively participate in the family enterprise is also indicative of greatness. Participation can be as a business leader, shareholder, board member, employee or even simply a proud owner. Great family businesses demonstrate a high level of family member involvement be it in the business, on the board, or simply as active and committed owners. Owners of great family businesses do not simply hold a share certificate and expect dividends; they are aware of the responsibilities that come with ownership and feel a certain amount of “psychological ownership” of this asset-it is NOT just another investment holding.

5. Conservative Money Management: Long-lasting family enterprises demonstrate a remarkably low level of debt to operate and grow the business. Once a family business gets past its start-up phase, great family-owned companies are very careful of how leveraged they become. Most plow funds generated from the business back into the business, opting for building the business over excessive distributions.
In addition, great family enterprises are patient with their capital, willing to wait and be more deliberate in achieving a return.

6. Effective Paradox Management: Family enterprises are full of paradoxes or polarities that need to be managed, such as merit-base pay versus family member perks or acceptance of family members versus need to challenge family members. According to Greg Page, President and CEO of giant family firm Cargill: “In this world full of paradoxes, companies that manage paradoxes well out-perform companies that don’t.” Great enterprising families are able to walk along the precipice and effectively balance the dual forces of “Family First” and “Business First”, never sacrificing one for the other.

7. Planning (strategic & succession): Less than a third of family businesses have a written strategic business plan. Studies show that a business with a written strategic business plan outperforms those without one. In a family enterprise, a key component of comprehensive strategic planning is a succession plan for both leadership and ownership. Family businesses that develop a strategic business plan and a succession plan think through these processes, engage others and end up with a more robust direction for the business and family. The planning process helps to incorporate calculated risk taking and balances the senior generation’s need for more wealth preservation with the younger generation’s desire for more wealth creation. In addition, a transparent process that involves as many stakeholders as possible builds trust and consensus around these complex choices that will affect both the business and the family.

8. Diversification & Growth: Great family enterprises build on their core strengths, competitive advantages and relevant opportunities. In some respects, this is managing the paradox of sticking to your knitting while broadening your offering. There is also a strong paradox in a family enterprise of respecting what got us here (work processes, traditions and innovations of the senior generations) while staying current with the marketplace and giving a voice to ideas from the younger folks involved in the system. Diversifying into other offerings often leads to greater career opportunities for the next generation, which can be very important as the family grows. Many family-owned businesses came into being because they created some kind of innovative product or service. Great family-owned businesses continuously look at ways to innovate in many areas: products, processes, services, business models, promotion, distribution and governance.

9. Blending Family and Non-Family: A family enterprise cannot become great alone. It takes an effective combination of family members and non-family members, who often feel like a part of the family, to generate the power needed to move to a higher level. Those family businesses who appreciate this fact, and have chosen the best person for the position, regardless of family connection, usually attain greater heights.

10. Multi-generational Endurance: The survival statistics of family-owned businesses are regularly cited. Only about one third of these companies survive through the second generation; 12-15 percent through the third generation; and then less than 4 percent for following generations. It’s just plain difficult to get into the fourth generation. Therefore, by shear endurance, those family enterprises that have made it to the third generation and beyond have already achieved at least one meaningful measure of greatness.

Today, a combined score of these 10 attributes does not exist. As with so many elements of family business, a greatness score would include a combination of some hard facts, like operating profit, and many softer, tougher-to-measure elements, like family unity and contributions to the community.

White Collar Criminality and Upper Class Rationality

The pervasive existence of upscale criminal behavior throughout U.S. society reaches from the boardroom to the courtroom. Such perversity does not stop at the steps to the state capital just because a hallowed quotation hangs over the portico. In addition, regardless of an “infotainment” culture’s fixation on street crimes, the devastating impact of “white collar” corruption deteriorates the very core of the American political and economic system. While violent crimes are serious, the institutional destructiveness in corruptive collusions remains callously counterproductive in extraordinary ways. It threatens the demise of the republic and hastens human regression toward eventual extinction.

With an amative sense of entitlement for what they “deserve”, the criminality is one of easy rationalization, for the sake of self-gratification. For the public, as in mainstream media, the fascination with news reports of horrific crimes, such as murder, rape and robbery, distracts from the necessity of attentive mindfulness for the serious nature of corporate and political criminality. Arrogance in selfishness for personal pleasure in the satiation of advantage over others is not a new phenomenon. American history is filled with myriad examples of the salaciousness by which some people use their socio-economic position to exploit, oppress and manipulate others.

Upper class, upper world or upscale criminal behaviors, whatever descriptor you choose, reflect premeditated intentional purposes to perpetrate “antisocial” unlawful behaviors on the majority. As in all criminal behavior, the criminal thinking processes are the result of freely chosen actions that bring harm to others for personal gain. By private desire, individual proclivity, targets of opportunity and skilled ability, higher social realms of criminality inflict grievous harms upon society.

Where a small disproportionate number of powerful, socially well-established and influential people control a majority of earthly resources, there are plenty of opportunities for illegality. Such is an age-old saga of humankind upon the planet. As one percent controls over half the earth’s resources, with access to trillions of dollars of wealth, one might quickly query the nature of economic disparity. For all the religious ideologies proselytizing sharing, caring, giving and receiving, you might ponder the debauchery of the dogmatic hypocrisy. For the scales of justice, where is the slant?

In terms of societal costs, data is frequently difficult to summarize relative to non-street level criminality. For the corporate and political criminal, the amount of social damage they inflict is a cultural cost figure that is not an exact measurement. Some thirty years ago, one calculation by a national business organization put the cost factors in the range of $40 to $50 billion annually. Dollar losses to the American taxpayer by comparison to street crimes, today “white collar” crime is likely a 100 times greater. Major offences include crimes such as bribery, fraud, kickbacks, and securities violations and assorted other related criminalities, with the costs that are much higher.

Currently some research sources suggest the estimated costs to be in excess of $400 billion to nearly $1.5 to $2 trillion. Those are probabilities based a range of criminal incidents. These include techno crimes, corporate spying, employee theft, counterfeiting of all kinds, telecom fraud, credit card fraud, money laundering, insurance swindles, and various illicit marketing schemes. However, that information may not account for the total damage and losses instigated via the internet, identity theft, computer hacking, etc. Fraudulent consumer schemes are the tip of the proverbial human “iceberg” of criminal perpetration. In endless ways, people exploit each other by horrific means.

By similar frame of reference, the aforementioned crimes illustrate some of examples of the corporate and institutional aspects of non-traditional criminalities. Such are by no means the limits to which greedy, arrogant and self-righteous criminals go to ensure their own personal gains. Of course, there are further incident types that can be more invasive and deadly. Unsafe products for instance, recalls, injuries and deaths, could potentially add several billions in costs to the losses inflicted upon others. In addition, there is still more in terms of organized crime, terroristic and cultic collusions, human trafficking, religious frauds and schemes. Do not forget environmental crimes as well.

By ruthless and predatory practices, purposeful and deceptively premeditated, con artists inflict their illicit schemes across a diverse opportunistic spectrum. From the misfortunes of climatic catastrophe, to war profiteering, criminals exploit every opportunity throughout the social culture. Herein, let us use “white collar” crime as a catchall term for the illicit activities of individuals and organizations. Some might suggest a distinction between what constitutes “corporate crime” versus “white collar” criminality, but for purposes here, we will blur any such variations.

Illegalities directed against others, whether by one or more persons, in or by a particular organization, or institution, by malevolent means of position, power and influence, etc., gain is maximized regardless of harm, constitutes so-called “white collar” crimes. These cunningly premeditated malicious actions are not within the usual conception of traditional crimes, like murder, rape and robbery. Regardless though, the effects on other people are just as dangerous and socially regressive.

Whether upscale or lower scale, the criminal’s purposes remain the same. Criminal causality surfaces from the deepest realms of selfishness within the individual. On a prurient level of self-gratification, it is about them, getting what they want, and taking shortcuts to get it. Crimes perpetrated are for the material and mental benefit of the lawless person or persons. Collectively, his or her conspiratorial aims may involve collaborators in a larger scheme to defraud community processes.

There are no excuses, fabricated alibis or scapegoating mitigations, for the illicit degradations committed that harm other people. As mentioned at the outset, “upscale” means political, social and economic placement at a higher level than the “average” person in society has access. It is used here to refer to those who have an unequal advantage over others by political “inheritance”, patronage, economic ascendency, or social class status. Some use descriptive terms as an “oligarchy of the wealthy”, the American “political nobility”, or the “new elites”, which encourages a sense of entitlement. Of which, some will use to their greater enrichment.

With an accepted sense of socio-political “inheritance”, or favored economic advantage, the divide between rich and poor devolves into greater divisiveness. Within the particular position of advantage, the criminal makes his or her choices as to the malevolent proclivities he or she will inflict. Suffice it to say, non-traditional criminality has enormous costs associated with the commission of each violation. In similar ways to traditional street crimes, white-collar crime can be viewed as potentially violent. Some have characterized this to “delayed violence” in varying degrees.

Postponed inflictions of deadly results upon others might come in the form of environmental pollution, or contaminated food products, as well as unsafe consumer products. Hazardous materials dumped in waterways, or drugs with dangerous side effects are but a few of the possible consequences inflected for personal gain.

Bogus, counterfeit and deceptive practices, prognoses and predictions quicken the pace by which a culture eventually destroys itself. Yet, one might ask or perhaps investigate the query, as to the nature of widespread ignorance in the acceptance of anything less than honorably good intentioned interactions. Nonetheless, vast arrays of excuses conspire continuously to foolishly explain away the destructiveness of pernicious self-indulgence, corruption and sordid exploitations.

Again, and exceptionally pervasive, according to one source at the federal level, white criminals cost us losses in the trillion dollar range. At yet, our fixation focuses primarily on street, as opposed to the executive suite. From mass media deceptions and outright fraudulent reporting, to congregational manipulation of “faith healing” swindlers, the diversity of corruption wears many faces. While backgrounds may differ among “white collar” criminals and their street level counterpart, they are thugs applying purposeful skills in different settings. They share a “seduction” in the excitement of violating something that belongs to someone for selfish satiation.

In amative self-indulgence for the excitation for the primal thrill, the criminal, at any level of social strata, relishes in the whole experience of his or her chosen criminality. They know exactly what they are doing, what they want, whom they are going to do it to, and how they are going to get it. Education, background, experience and selection of criminality interact within the particularity of the individual’s skill set. Feeling entitled, unique, special and above the law, they freely choose their courses of action. Arrogant and self-assured, one criminal uses a gun, the other a computer.

For the enrichment of their position, power, control and gross sense of materialism, the criminal overcomes any concern about the consequences the harm they cause. He or she is all about self-interests, immediate gratifications and the foolishness of simplistic thinking. With that though, it should be pointed out that anyone is capable of the most heinous kinds of behaviors. Horrible degradations and murderous oppression have and continue to be carried out against other human beings.

From cultic exclusivity and corporate complicity, to organized crime tyranny and terroristic religiosity, beliefs systems are rationalized to excuse horrible debaucheries of human civilization. Deceptions abound in myriad fallacies of inferential perpetration for hasty generalizations that scheme an illicit gambit of social deterioration.

Nevertheless, for the heroic few, those who endeavor to change themselves over time, without fixation on the materiality of primal satiation, are those who more clearly see the illusions of the malevolence. By the virtue of wise ethical precepts in liberated individuality, with insistence upon enlightened transformation, purposeful from inner depths of maturation and willful selfless perseverance, become more evolved than the rest. Some see the folly of the gluttonous self-indulgence in selfish gratification.

Regardless, along the vast reaches of the social spectrum, among various levels of elitism, there are the devolving perpetrators of societal degradation. Competition colludes in varying degrees, whereby the accumulation of fame, fortune and fiction, transgresses against the good intentions of others. Within those regressive ranks of exploitation of deceitful opportunists, the oligarchs of wealth will use any means to tyrannize others for continued enrichment. In the upper tiers, who is punished for their crimes?

So-called “white collar” criminality spans many areas of communal interactions, as well as societal institutions, and encompasses a range of unethical and unlawful behaviors. The looting of the taxpayer at all levels of government, to ensure non-failure of corporate criminals, absent sure and swift prosecution, aids and abets the devolution of the human species. Never mind what some politicians pontificate about “work harder”, “get better educated”, to encourage success and consume more.

Consider that living among us, the best educated, most successful, richest, powerful and very influential, perpetrate the most heinous financial crimes imaginable. Not unlike the affinity for illicit hedonistic proclivities of their street level counterparts, the upper class criminal remains just as arrogant, self-indulgent and ruthlessly selfish. Egoistic in every calculating and deceptive way, the “chair-borne” criminal sees easy rationalization in over-simplifying his or her crimes. Abuse of others is amatively exciting.

At the same time, they enjoy the enrichment, the psychological gain, and naturally the profit from the suffering others. However, for the vast majority of people, wishful thinking pursues the illusion that everyone is “basically good”, and there’s always an “excuse” for the intentional victimization of others. Regardless, debasing poverty pervades a world civilization that should have ascended ages ago. Factions, states and religions war as they always have centuries long past. Exploitation and waste of the earth’s natural resources continues as though it’s business as usual.

At the expense of the majority of planetary inhabitants, the elite few are facilitate a “culture” of entitled exceptionality. By corporate and government collusions, maintained by collaborative socio-political and economic connections, a handful of the most affluent people control a majority of the planet’s wealth. In so doing, some of them contrive adversely to render others exploitable, consumable and expendable. Over time, as though a kind of “wealthy aristocracy”, they ensure their insulation, aloof status and protected elite status. Such corrupt potentialities exist in every aspect of society.

Large or small, climbing or already at the top of their particular sphere, the criminal will persist in debasing the infrastructure of society to every extent possible. They will use every ruse anyone chooses to believe, with ready accomplices everywhere. One such successful mega sphere of adverse influence, and accessory to untenable excuses, to aid and abet the criminal, is the vast interwoven collaborations of the “psycho-medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex”. From psychologist to psychiatrist, to medical “treatment” and psychotropic cure-all medication, any excuse for a price can be easily conjured. Alibis for criminality come in all kinds of prevarications.

With little or no regard for others, the cultic conspirator, the gangland mobster, the terroristic ideologue, the self-help guru, as well as the upper class monopolist, all fit within the willful deviance of hedonistic gain. They share kinship with their street level criminal counterparts. Controlling and otherwise diminishing any semblance of empathy for others, for the satiation of egoistic centeredness, and to facilitate primal urges, the con artist smugly revels in his or her “dog eat dog” purposefulness.

Make no mistake contrary to popular depiction the so-called “psychopath” is not that different from the neighbor next door. Deception is the game and personal gain is their fame. Everyone develops some capacity for deceiving another person. We all do it in different ways given particular circumstances, based on personal belief systems, and contingent on goal orientation. For one who chooses to cross the line of civility, he or she is selfish and expects to get his or her way no matter what it takes.

The criminal will endeavor find a shortcut around responsibility and subsequent accountability. To think otherwise, not only deceives oneself in willful naiveté, but also gives the criminal an escape mechanism to avoid sanctions. Typically, excuses usually come in the form of explaining away criminality by blaming others or the environment.

Criminality is at the very core of selfish thinking on the part of everyone. Each person is a variation on theme of deception, dishonesty and devolution, as all perpetrate their biases and prejudicial behaviors in one fashion or another. In cross-cultural mix of conflict and consensus, gain seeks the advantage over another. While various actions of one sort or another may not be explicitly illegal, ethical issues arise to the morality of an array of interactions. Small-scale deceit on the part of some may by contrast become a large-scale economic meltdown on the part of others.

A particular statute, or set of rule requirements, guidelines etc., might not detail specific violations. Nevertheless, at the end of day what are the behavioral indications where one chooses to do certain acts that could bring harm to others? As suggested earlier, the permeation infiltrates every aspect of society. Yet, certain schools of thought have become so easily believed in American society, that we explain away everything. In the “psycho-medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex”, (aka “P+M+P = pimp”), we can quickly render a “diagnosis”, come up with an excuse, and rationalize simplistic justification. The infotainment industry is good at finding “alibis”.

Meanwhile, the cost of so-called “white collar” criminality is astronomical in comparison to “street crimes”. Where does communal consensus focus the most? Or, where do the halls of academia assert the outcry of a “redress of grievances”? Typically, we move along the linear superficiality of easy conjecture. What is trending? What are politicians regurgitating? What is the latest poll say about what people generally know little about in the first place? We fixate on misperceptions about the greater evil.

Corruption at all levels, including grotesquely incessant advertising for exploitive consumption and specious unscientific speculations about nearly everything reflect a devolving society. Stupidity ponders its ignorance and scoffs at disbelief in the smug arrogance of disingenuous over-simplifications and erroneous rationalizations.

On the campaign trail, political candidates, backed by an array of corporate sponsors and special interests, assert meaningless slogans, feel good hollowness and empty platitudes. Frequently, their unsubstantiated claims and shallow actions pass without retribution. In the resonance of power, status and collusive influence, legality tends to favor the few. Absent the clamor of demand for forthright accountability, we excuse white-collar criminality in the subterfuge of upper class rationality.

Navigating the Health Claim Maze

The second half of getting sick is fussing with the health insurance claims process. I have some tips to pass-on from my own health claims experiences that might help you navigate this maze. Since I also sell health insurance, my understanding of the process and structure gives me an added perspective. This is not a rant on health insurance business or healthcare – just some techniques that can be helpful.

I am way too experienced in running the Health Claim Maze. Unfortunately, I lost my older brother to cancer last year and as his friend, and later executor, had the task of helping on the insurance issues.

First the Good News

I have always gotten the right answer eventually from every health insurance company on every health claim I have dealt with. Each and every insurance company honored their insurance policy and correctly paid what was due (or had a valid reason to decline a claim). Most claims were handled correctly and timely without any intervention.

This included the Kansas Health Insurance Association (the Kansas health insurance risk pool) which paid over $500,000 for my brother’s lymphoma treatments over his two year illness. It gave him access to any treatments that were appropriate. The final cost to him, in addition to his monthly premium, was his deductible and cost sharing of $3000 for each of the two years ($6000 total).

The core value of any health insurance plan is offsetting the huge financial risk of a major illness or injury and getting you access to the treatment you need.

Choosing the Right Insurance Company

Claims service matters. Unfortunately, most folks select insurance companies based on price and not value. An important value to consider is the ease of getting help if you have a claim.

Look for an insurance company that has kept their claims call center in the United States. Nothing will make the claims process more frustrating than trying to get help on a complex health claim over a bad phone connection with someone who is talking a different version of English. Avoid any insurance company that has chosen the cheap off-shore claims helpline strategy.

Second, ask around about the claims service reputation of an insurance company. This is a good question for your insurance agent. Some insurance companies focus on making the claims process easier while others only offer only adequate service. It is worth paying more and getting the quality service.

Organization Matters

Setup a filing system to keep all claim benefit paperwork. Since the annual insurance deductible follows the calendar year, it is helpful to sort any claims “Explanation of Benefits” by the year the healthcare service was rendered. At the very least, have a box or file to toss any health insurance paperwork – keep it all. You will need this paper trail if a major health claim problem erupts.

If you are dealing with a major illness with a high volume of claims documents you will need a more advanced filing concept. For my brother, I had three files for each year: 1. Paid Claims; 2. Claims in Process; 3. Claims being appealed. I also stapled any unpaid healthcare provider invoice or appeal letter with the claims documents. Within these files, all claims paperwork was sorted by date of service. With pounds of claim’s documents generated by my brother’s illness, organization of the paperwork was very important.

The Contract / Sales Booklet

Always keep in your file the actual health insurance contract and the detailed sales booklet. The sales booklet is much more accessible and a good starting point to understanding your benefits. I purposely send the detailed booklet to each of my clients when they apply for insurance. The contract is what the health insurance company is obligated to do in exchange for your premiums and is the final word on any dispute.

Troubleshooting the Maze

Most health insurance claims are automatically (particularly if you are “in network” with your healthcare providers) and correctly handled. With any organization, even if well intended and well run (I count most health insurance companies in this category), balls are still going to get dropped and mistakes will happen. Always treat the claims representatives politely (my wife’s very wise advice) and enlist them as allies.

Here are three primary claims problems with troubleshooting techniques that I have used:

Problem #1: Claim Denied

Health claims are often denied for minor technical reasons. Don’t panic. You have work to do.

First Action: Call the Insurance Company’s claims office and ask for an explanation. Why was the claim not paid? Often it is a simple problem that can be quickly corrected.

For example: a client that had a hospitalization ($45,000 three day hospital visit due to a heart rhythm problem), but had the claim initially declined by the insurance company. A phone call to the insurance company revealed they needed a detailed bill to process the claim but the hospital had only sent a summary bill. This was quickly resolved with a second call to the hospital. A payment for the claim (less policy deductible) was quickly sent.

Second Action: Appeal the Claim. You will see on any “Explanation of Benefits” a procedure to appeal any claim that has been denied. Follow this path (normally a mailed letter). Keep a copy of everything. You need to appeal within a limited time period. I made it a policy with my brother’s claims to appeal the same day I received any Explanation of Benefits that did not pay the claim. Always send an appeal by certified mail to establish the date the appeal was made and who it was sent to. An appeal forces a higher level of assessment and typically shifts the claim to a special claims appeal review department.

Third Action: Follow up the appeal with a phone call. Normally, you will get an appeal response by mail within a specific time frame outlined in the appeals process. If you don’t receive a timely response or a response that you don’t understand, call the claims appeal office and ask for help. Request a supervisor if you don’t get an adequate answer.

Fourth Action: Ask for a copy of the contract clause that impacts the claims outcome and reread it. Have the claims representative or the supervisor explain the contract language and why the claim is ineligible for payment. You will eventually get the right answer (I always have). If the right answer is a denial, you are owned an explanation you understand.

Problem #2: Past Due Notice from Health care Provider.

This is a warning flag – something has gone astray in the claims communication or processing and you need to figure it out. Intervention will be needed.

First Action: Confirm with the healthcare provider that the claim was properly filed. Several times, I have found that the provider never got the policy information and was unable to file a claim.

Example: Both times that my brother was taken to the hospital, the ambulance service was never given any insurance policy information. The late notices alerted me to call them and provide what they need to file the claim.

Second Action: Call the insurance claims call center and confirm that they received the claim. Ask for an explanation on why claim payment has been delayed. Discuss when the claim payment will be handled.

Third Action: Repeat if necessary. If not resolved after calling the provider and health insurance claim office a second time, request the insurance company to contact the healthcare provider and resolve the communication issue directly. If this is refused, see: “Fourth Action.”

Fourth Action: The “Poor Man’s Conference Call” – my favorite technique to deal with communication barriers between healthcare providers and claims processors. Get access to two difference phone lines (I normal use a land line and my cell phone) and call both of them at the same time with a phone at each ear. Force them to dialogue with you as the conduit until the problem is resolved or until they accept your request to discuss the problem directly without you.

The “Poor Man’s Conference Call” has worked both times I had to use it. Reserve it for your stubborn communication problems when you need a “nuclear option” to force direct contact to resolve a claim problem. Because of HIPAA rules and legal risks, it is normal for healthcare providers and insurance claims processors to be reluctant to discuss any claims issues directly. Health care is a crazy world with privacy, legal barriers, office procedures and multiple layers of processors that limit cooperation and foster communication impediments.

Problem #3: Out-of-Network

The best way to avoid claims paid at the much lower “Out-of-Network” rate is to make an honest attempt to use “In-Network” vendors. If you choose to use providers that are not on the preferred list, you will pay more out-of-pocket and often have to meet a higher deductible.

Below are situations in which you are forced to use providers outside of the prefer ranks:

First Situation: Emergency Treatment. The health insurance contracts that I am familiar with and sell make an exception for any network issues if you are unable to choose a preferred provider due to bonified medical emergency. Your claim will likely be processed initially based on the “Out-of-Network” rates and then you will need to appeal for claim payment based on the emergency treatment exception and request adjustment to an “In-Network” settlement.

Second Situation: No Ability to Select an In-Network Provider. I have appealed and been successful based on the argument that there was no opportunity to select a preferred provider.

Example: My brother was transported by an ambulance service that was summoned by calling 9-1-1. He had no control over which ambulance was dispatched. The ambulance service was not a preferred provider and the initial claim was figured based on “Out-of-Network” rates which left a substantial balance. After an appeal, this balance was paid by the insurance company.

Another example: You select an “In-network” facility but are assigned an “out-of-network” doctor or provider. My brother’s pathology sample was sent to a lab that was not a preferred provider. He had no control of the transaction and no ability to select who got his lab work. I again was successful on appeal.

Third Situation: No network provider available. Any health insurance contract that I am familiar with has an exception for any network issues if no preferred provider is reasonably available. You may have a basis to appeal if you can show that no provider on the network will take you or that none of the preferred providers are within a reasonable travel range.

Example: My brother’s doctor that specialized in infections was not a preferred provider. All of the claims from this provider were initially process as “Out-of-Network.” I was able to prove that no “Infections Doctor” that was on the preferred provider list was available to treat my brother within 30 miles. An appeal, based on network provider availability, was then successful and the claim adjusted.

Summary

While most health insurance claims are processed correctly, you still need to be prepared for the few that aren’t. Always follow-up with phone calls, ask for help and appeal an unfavorable outcome, if necessary. Be polite and enlist the claims representatives to be your allies. Remember, you deserve explanations that you can understand and help resolving any claims processing problems. I hope my organizational and troubleshooting tips are helpful.

4 Key Questions You Should Ask Before Bringing Your Road Traffic Accident Claim

Being involved in a road traffic accident is likely to be a traumatic experience, even if you walk away relatively unscathed physically the shock of such an event can leave you with psychological wounds that require treatment to heal properly.

Suffering an injury, either physical, physiological or both, can have a devastating effect on your life. Your injury could prevent you from working, either short term or long term, it could make hobbies you once enjoyed impossible, and it could have a negative effect on your relationships with friends and loved ones causing them to either become damaged or break down completely.

There is no way to estimate to effects that a road traffic accident can have on you, and while bringing a claim won’t change the fact that the accident has happened and you are living with the consequences, it can make those consequences easier to manage. Bringing a claim can help you support yourself financially while you get back on your feet, it can bring you closure on a traumatic part of your life, and it can help you find (and afford) treatment options that you were previously unaware of.

However, a claim is not something that should be started lightly; you should carefully consider the pros and cons of bringing a claim, as well as your likelihood of success.

If you are confident you would like to bring a claim then it can be difficult to know where to start, how do you get the ball rolling? Should you go it alone or get a solicitor? What should you be considering before starting a claim?

This article demonstrates four of the key questions you should be asking before you begin your claim to help you make the right decision for you.

Number one: Who was at fault for your accident?

To successfully bring a claim, you must prove three elements. That the Defendant ( the person you want to claim against) owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty, and that their breach caused you an injury.

If the Defendant was another road user, e.g. a driver or cyclist then they will owe you a duty of care, you will not need to establish this as it is accepted under the law that all road users owe each other a duty of care.

You must next prove that the Defendant breached that duty of care. This means you must prove that it was the Defendant’s fault the accident happened. The easiest way to do this is either by collecting the police accident report (if the police attended the accident they would have produced a report which establishes who they believe was at fault), through dash cam footage, through CCTV footage if it is available or through witness statements.

If the accident was not the Defendants fault, then you will not be able to claim against them. Despite what a lot of adverts say having an accident is not enough to bring a claim, it must be someone else’s fault. It cannot be a genuine accident where no one was at fault, and it cannot have been your fault for you to successfully claim against a Defendant the accident must have been caused by them, at least in part. If there is more than one person at fault, e.g., both you and the Defendant are partly to blame, then you can still bring a claim but any compensation received will be diminished based on the percentage you are found to be at fault.

e.g., if the accident is 80% the Defendants fault and 20% your fault and the case settles for £10,000.00, then you will only receive 80% of £10,00000 as you were partly (20%) to blame.

Number Two: Do you want to bring a claim yourself or go through a solicitor?

If you bring your claim via a solicitor, then you will gain the advantage of having a seasoned legal professional or a team of legal professionals on your side who will run your claim from start to finish. A lot of solicitors will take a road traffic accident claim on a No Win No Fee basis; this means if you are unsuccessful you will not have to pay legal costs. Although you could still be liable for disbursements, disbursements being anything the firm has had to buy to move your case forward, e.g. copies of your medical records, and a medical report. If you win, you will have to use a percentage of your compensation to pay your solicitors. The legal costs in cases like this will be limited to usually 25% of your compensation.

If you bring the claim yourself, then you will have to do all the work yourself, and you will likely be going up against the Defendant’s insurers legal team which can be daunting. You will also have to pay any disbursements out of your pocket as and when they arise and then possibly be reimbursed for them later if you win.

However, if you are successful, you will keep 100% of your compensation.

Number Three: Do you use your insurer’s solicitors or find one yourself?

If you have car insurance, then you may be covered for legal claims and your insurer may run the claim for you using their own in house legal team. This can reduce stress for you as it means everything is taken care of for you and you do not usually have to worry about paying any disbursements if your claim is unsuccessful. However, you will never meet your legal team unless you go to court. All contact is likely to be done by email and over the telephone; you may not have a single claim handler but a team which could mean you talk to a different person each time you phone, although this depends on the company.

If you choose your solicitors, you can pick a firm local to you so you can physically go in and see someone. You can build a relationship with that person and deal with them throughout the process. You can physically drop in when you have questions and or documents you wish to provide.

Neither of these options is more qualified than the other, and it is your decision based on your preferences on how you wish to proceed.

Number Four: What funding options are available?

Most claims involving Road Traffic Accidents can be dealt with by a No Win No Fee Agreement, where should your case be unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any legal fees, but if you are successful, a portion of your compensation will go to the solicitor in legal fees.

You may be able to bring your claim using an existing insurance policy. Your Certificate of Insurance or Policy Schedule will usually state if your car insurance includes a legal expenses policy.

Using your existing insurance policy to bring your claim has an obvious financial advantage, being that it removes the risk from you regarding the need to pay for disbursements. The insurance company will cover your legal fees for your claim if you lose your case. Some insurers will not charge you the 25% if you are successful, but some will, make sure you clarify this with them before agreeing to let them run your claim.

If you are a member of the Trade Union or other similar organisation, they may cover the cost of your claim and may have their solicitors whom they can instruct on your behalf.

Lastly, you can self-fund a claim either by paying a solicitor privately or by running the claim yourself. If you decide to pay a solicitor privately, they then will submit monthly invoices to you, which you will then have to pay. It is likely they will also ask for a sum on account of work and disbursements.

If you decide to run your claim yourself, you will be required to pay the costs of the case as it progresses. This means paying the solicitor fees and disbursements that arise when they arise. You should discuss hourly rates and how many hours worth of work your case will involve with your solicitor. Keep in mind this is the most expensive way to run this type of case, and it will not be cheap. You could end up paying out more in legal fees than you receive in compensation.

BONUS QUESTION!

Was a friend with you in the car? Can you claim together?

While it won’t necessarily help or hinder your claim, having a friend to claim with can provide you with a unique support network. It will also give you someone to discuss matters with to help you recall events and give a voice to your concerns and thoughts.

In conclusion, deciding to bring a claim is never an easy decision or one that should be made lightly. It should be given much thought, and you should consider whether or not you have a valid legal claim, how you will fund your claim, and how you will progress your claim. If you are unsure about any of these elements a lot of solicitors offer a free advice session. Many firms will use a free advice session to assess whether or not you have a claim.

Bringing a claim yourself? Check out the below link for a step by step guide to bringing you own Road Traffic Accident claim.

5 Law School Tips For Entering Students

If you’re thinking about going to law school and you’re looking for some tips on ways to improve your chances of doing well, consider the 5 tips below. These are tips I’ve put together from my personal experiences in law school and the experiences of some of my law school peers.

Just because these tips have worked for us doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for you. Nonetheless, these are still pretty straightforward tips that will never hurt! Ultimately, you’ll decide what works best for you. Until then, consider the following.

1) Read The Assignments!
I know, it sounds really obvious, but it can’t be stressed enough. Read the assignments in their entirety!

You probably will not be surprised to learn that most law school reading assignments aren’t all that exciting. In fact, the reading materials for some classes are just downright awful. Nonetheless, you should read all of it. You will be surprised by how many of your peers don’t read or only read certain parts of the assignments. This gives the student who reads the entire assignment an automatic advantage. Plus, it’ll help you when it comes time for the professor’s Socratic method.

2) Don’t Fall Behind On Assignments
Piggybacking off #1, do not fall behind on your reading assignments. You’ll quickly find that it becomes nearly impossible to catch up after missing just one assignment. Page ranges for each class’ readings are anywhere from 35-70 (sometimes more and sometimes less) pages. Needless to say, the pages pile up fast.

Chances are pretty good that if you miss an assignment you’ll put off reading the skipped material until the very end of the semester, if you read it at all. You should avoid this! Also, if you skip an assignment, you’ll find it harder to follow along in class. You’ll essentially be relying on your professor to learn complicated new material while he/she teaches it to the class. Problem is, not all law school material is comprehendible on the first try (unless you’re extra smart), and not all professors teach the material clearly enough for a student without some background information to understand.

Best bet = don’t fall behind on your reading assignments!

3) Don’t Surf The Net (at least try not to!)
I can just hear some of my best friend’s saying it’s inevitable sometimes. Honestly, I’m not immune to it either. There are a myriad of reasons students surf the net during class. Not all reasons revolve around the professor. Sometimes you’ll be checking your e-mail, looking up sport scores, reading a news article, etc. The important thing to remember here is that you will not be able to pay full attention to both. Your class notes will suffer while you’re surfing the net. I guarantee it.

If you must check your e-mail, check it quickly. If you want a sports score, try waiting until the class is over or until your professor gives a class break. If you’re looking for news articles to read, just hold off. There’s usually nothing positive in the news anyway!

4) Make Your Own Outlines
You’ll hear the word “outlines” over and over again your first semester or two. Many students (myself included) will not even know how to start their first outline. Luckily, my school offered an Advanced Skills Program course that walked us through making outlines. If your school offers a similar course, you should consider taking it.

At some point, you’ll probably come across someone else’s outline. These are usually good to use as cross-references, but do not entirely rely on someone else’s outline (regardless of whether the author is first in his/her class!). No two courses are ever taught the same way. Different professors teach differently and sometimes use different casebooks. The same professor who taught the course last semester may decide to switch books or switch assignments in the next semester. Also, caselaw changes over time. There might have been some cases taught last semester that are no longer good law. If you rely entirely on the old outline, you’ll either get confused or you’ll remember the wrong material.

Another point to keep in mind is that by creating your own outlines you’re forcing yourself to study the material. Outlines take a very long time to complete. The good news is that you will inevitably start remembering a lot of the material you’re putting into the outline.

In addition, you’ll also find that certain concepts are clarified once you start working on your outline. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve floated through a class or two not understanding the material and feeling like the only student who wasn’t following along. Nearly every time, however, the material will become clear as day once I start putting it into my outline. Essentially, it’s a way of forcing yourself to write the course’s information into your own words. Such a practice will help you comprehend the material even better.

Try it out.

5) Don’t Cram!
Law school is different from any type of schooling you’ve done before. I have friends with MBAs and PhDs who say their respective programs weren’t as intense. It’s scary, I know. But, no worries-it’s still doable.

Let me just say that some of my best friends in law school are “crammers” and they have good GPAs (I personally don’t understand how, but it works for them). Thus, some people can still cram and do well. It’s also worth noting that one of my crammer best friends gets incredibly stressed out prior to final exams. On the other hand, non-crammers tend to be (at least it seems) much more at ease during finals. There’s a trade-off. You’ll learn where you fall after your first semester, but I still think your best bet will be not to cram.

Cramming in law school also tends to result in not being able to cover everything you’ve learned throughout the semester. Instead, you’re focusing on the major concepts and major cases. For the most part, that’s still good enough to pass a course. But, professors will tell you that sometimes the secondary concepts and cases will prove the difference between one grade and the other. Why not prepare in advance to increase the chances of earning the better grade?

Closing
These are just 5 law school tips that I’ve handpicked. I’m sure there are a bunch of other tips floating around on the web (it wouldn’t hurt you to read those too). As noted above, you’ll ultimately decide what works best for you on your own. Either way, make sure you work hard and then a little bit harder after that and remain focused on your studies. Law school isn’t easy.

City’s Traffic Light Camera Appeal Denied

Finally, a small victory for the little guy! It comes as no surprise to anyone that red light traffic cameras are an increasing annoyance to everyone except the municipalities who use them and the private companies that make a fortune off of installing and then maintaining them. Like many other traffic laws in Florida, traffic cameras serve one purpose and one purpose only – to continue to line the pockets of local politicians. Yes, we all know that proponents of red light traffic cameras espouse that their purpose is to advance public safety. Well, I am not buying it. As a traffic ticket attorney, I have seen too many instances where drivers have gotten traffic tickets when they weren’t even moving. Additionally, the knowledge that these cameras are the livelihood of private companies who have a major financial interest in advocating their use bolsters my skepticism.

Although the constitutionality of using these red light traffic cameras has been challenged in the court systems ever since their inception, recent news gives drivers, and traffic ticket attorneys, hope that they may be on their way out. On October 15, a three-judge panel for the Fourth District Court of Appeals denied the appeal of the City of Hollywood to have an earlier decision overturned. The previous matter supported Eric Arem’s claim that the issuance of citations by a private company is not permissible under Florida state law, which was then supported by the appeals panel reinforcing that state law does not permit private companies to issue traffic citations. Yet individual municipalities hire private companies, one Arizona-based company in particular, to install and maintain red light traffic ticket cameras. This results in a fiscally symbiotic relationship for both parties.

Drivers are surely elated at this development, but it does pave the way for many unanswered questions. Surely, one question that is in the forefront of most drivers’ minds is whether or not traffic tickets will still be issued in South Florida as a result of red light traffic cameras. It is not an easy question to answer because, although some towns have done away with traffic cameras, this most recent ruling pertaining to Hollywood is not yet carved in stone. According to Hollywood spokesperson, Raelin Storey, there is still a possibility that there may be a rehearing or it can be appealed before the Florida Supreme Court.

“This case has the potential to impact a number of cities that contract with (… the Arizona company),” Storey said. “If the administration of the program has to change dramatically, we would, of course, have to evaluate whether we can continue to afford to operate it.”

The determination made by the appellate court ruling states, “Such outsourcing to a third-party… for red light camera violations is contrary to the plain wording of the Florida statutes.” This “plain wording” provision prevents cities and municipalities from applying their own interpretation of law, thereby ensuring uniformity throughout the state in the application of traffic laws and the fines and penalties that arise from traffic violations.

This is far from the first time that the use of red light traffic cameras has been a matter of controversy. Back in June, a court ruled that several other Florida towns side-stepped Florida state law by the use of traffic light cameras prior to July 1, 2010 when the State Legislature approved the use of these cameras. The continued push to repeal or restrict the use of these cameras has met with resistance by those who support them and by safety studies being impeded in the State Legislature.

This recent ruling may have been aimed at Hollywood, but other towns such as Hallendale Beach and Hialeah have already done away with the unpopular red light traffic cameras. In light of all of this controversy, it’s not surprising to learn that many other cities are actively trying to circumvent similar issues from occurring. Additionally, the list of South Florida towns that are suspending the use of red light traffic cameras pending further action by the courts continues to grow.

“We have to be prudent,” Palm Beach County Attorney Denise Nieman said regarding that county’s decision to temporarily suspend their traffic camera program.

Unfortunately for drivers, each city still gets to choose whether or not to use these traffic cameras. Although the argument for doing so is that they reduce accidents, the fine for committing a red light camera violation is $158. With over 900 traffic cameras installed in Florida, most of which are in South Florida, this practice has generated over 750,000 traffic tickets and more than $119 million in fines.

A large portion of that revenue goes to the company that installs the cameras and generates the traffic tickets. This makes it obvious that this is more about being a profit-generating business than about any genuine interest in reducing accidents. After all, what better way to cover budgetary shortfalls than under the guise of concern for the public welfare? Of course, the private company’s website also touts how they are improving safety for the public’s own good, but you will be hard pressed to see anything posted there as to how lucrative this business has become for them.

In what would appear to be a frantic effort, the Arizona company that provides these traffic cameras to Hollywood claims that it can change the way they issue the traffic tickets. Why wouldn’t they scramble to come up with an alternative? In 2013 and 2014 alone, this particular company has gleaned a large percentage of roughly $28,000,000 that the State of Florida has paid to the traffic camera vendors.

Even though the debate regarding the legality and efficacy of traffic cameras continues to rage, no other precedent exists so this recent is ruling is now case law, at least for the time being. As such, it will hopefully pave the way for more municipalities to consider the legal ramifications of having the cameras installed and maintained. As long as they continue to be profitable, it’s likely that local governments will try to justify their existence. Eliminating the profit margin by doing away with third-party issued traffic tickets and fighting these erroneous traffic tickets in court are the best way to ensure a fairer playing field when red light traffic tickets are issued. In many cases, it is possible that refunds are due to motorists who have received red light traffic camera citations.

If you feel that you are one of those many drivers who have received an unjust red light traffic ticket, give us a call for a free consultation. We will be happy to review your traffic ticket with you and continue to work to protect your right and the rights of other drivers.

Cultural Rationality in Criminal Choice

The Criminal Statistics, England and Wales indicate that the majority of offenders are male and juvenile. Main-stream criminology has focused on male crime and has marginalised the existence of a ‘gender offender ratio’. To understand this phenomenon, the rationality of criminal decision making in female and male school children was examined at the peak age of female offending. The research programme involved examining the Criminal Statistics, England and Wales (1995); a self completion questionnaire survey and a semi-structured interview conducted in schools within a London Borough. Their criminal choices have been studied to see if they include consideration of a victim or the harm caused by an offence. The research has been grounded in Rational Choice Theory of Clarke (1987) which puts forward a vision of the criminal act in terms of its bounded rationality, ease and profit. This research will adopt the legal presumption that everyone understands the meaning of offences within the Theft Act 1968 and the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

Applicable Theory

Situational crime prevention best fits the choices made by the economic offender but would the inclusion of consideration of harm to a person who is the victim of the intended offence explain the difference in female and male offending? Given that current research indicates that potential offenders may be exercising choices, what theory could be used to investigate these phenomena? The Rational Choice Theory of Clarke (1987:118) argues that however hasty or ill-considered, crime is the outcome of an offenders’ choices. It would be interesting to put questions to both male and females to examine their decision making proximate to offending and compare the responses they gave to the different criteria. The research would hope to explain the disparity in female and male offending by consideration of the Rational Choice Theory of Clarke (1987). This theory seems best equipped to explain property crime but not assaults. The potential offender may be making choices on the basis of a bounded rationality that is a combination of the prospect of being caught and the situations’ economics. It may be possible to explain the gender offending ratio by including the element of harm caused by the intended offence or indeed through introducing cultural constraints.

Matza and Sykes (1957) thought factors like kinship, friendship, ethnic group, social class, age and sex appeared to restrict the number of victims that could be targeted. They proposed that the juvenile acquires techniques that neutralise the violations and make them acceptable within the delinquent subculture without replacing the values of the dominant normative system. The techniques of neutralisation begin with ‘The denial of responsibility’ where the juvenile affirms, ‘I did not mean it’. Another technique is ‘The denial of injury’ when the juvenile will state, ‘I didn’t really hurt anybody’. In the third technique ‘The denial of a victim’, the existence of a victim is denied by the juvenile stating, ‘They had it coming to them’. This technique may be especially effective in property crime where no owner is present. The fourth technique is ‘The condemnation of the condemners’. The juvenile calls the condemners hypocrites by alleging favouritism or vindictiveness when it is stated, ‘Everybody’s picking on me’. Lastly, the fifth technique is ‘The appeal to higher loyalties’ where the juvenile declares loyalty to gang, sibling or friends by stating, ‘I didn’t do it for myself’. Sykes and Matza counseled more research into the differential distribution of the techniques by thought, age, sex, social group and ethnic origin. One possible explanation of the lower rates of female offending might be that the techniques ‘The denial of injury and The denial of a victim’ are not strong enough in females to neutralise the moral bind to dominant normative values.

The Rational Choice Theory of Clarke (1987:118) argues offenders choices determine crime even if those choices are hasty or ill-considered. Questions could be put to both males and females to examine decision making and compare their responses to the different criteria. There is an argument that females are more likely to commit offences if a victim cannot be identified and they are less likely to do so if a victim can be identified. It may be that women have a stronger perception of harm being caused to the victim and this empathy prevents the commission of predatory offences. Understanding whether choices to commit property crime or violence against the person by the potential male and female offender are influenced by the strength of the image of harm and a person as a victim at the time may suggest crime prevention measures. Any factors that were found to be effective could be employed at a potential crime scene or in educational programmes.

Is the moral bind that is described in Matza and Sykes (1957) being applied differentially between the gender? The responses of the male and female to these factors could be compared. The Theory of Cultural Complexity of Thompson, Ellis and Wildavsky (1990) set out four ways of life which are the result of the relative strength of a group’s pattern of social relations and a definitive set of shared values, practices and beliefs. These ways of life are termed individualist, fatalist, egalitarian and heirarchist. A member of each way of life will have a predetermined perception of risk that will determine whether it is accepted or avoided. Male and female offending might be re-interpreted as a consequence of the cultural rationality and justification of the risks of offending by the actors and not merely the situations economics or moral prohibition.

The hypotheses to be tested

Considering the above a number of hypotheses relating to juveniles can be formulated, in the case of the property crime and violence against the person:

1) Females cannot easily justify making the decision to commit an offence when harm is caused by that offence?

2) Females cannot easily justify making the decision to commit an offence when that offence involves the presence of a person who can be identified as a victim.

3) Female decision making takes more account of the risks of committing an offence than their male counterparts.

4) Female and male criminal decision making is influenced by a cultural rationality that is based on the risks of offending communicated to them by various sources.

A further consideration was the peak rate of offending for females was 14 to 15 years of age according to the Criminal Statistics (1995). This is a formative age when juveniles are crucially about to enter the final year of compulsory education before they leave school and make decisions about their future. Juvenile offending accounts for a significant proportion of all crime committed and any findings with crime prevention potential might achieve significant crime reduction.

The Study

Permission was obtained from London Borough Council to carry out the survey within three schools in the Borough. Each had the merit of representing a different type of educational establishment; a Grant Maintained school; a State funded school and a Technology College. The research programme consisted of a self completion questionnaire survey and a semi-structured interview conducted in schools within a London Borough.

The summary of the findings

For the findings to be valid each different method should ideally demonstrate consistency and reliability with the other. Respondents were told orally to omit answers to any questions if they felt they could not be accurate. The fact that this happened may be supported by periods of silence in the group interviews and by no response to large numbers of questions on the questionnaire by some respondents. The different methods revealed about sixteen points of similarity where findings were found to reliable and consistent. It would not be unreasonable to infer that the study is valid. The study was not disadvantaged by the fact that not all the results could be explained.

Qualifying features

The Criminal Statistics (1995) are based on recorded crime generated by the Criminal Justice System and the figures may be challenged because of the levels of unreported crime. This limited the corroboration possible between the two documents. The results of this study must be tempered by the fact that only a small sample of juveniles were surveyed.

The gender offender ratio

The secondary analysis in chapter five of the Criminal Statistics, England and Wales (1995) makes out a strong overall case for the existence of a ‘gender offender ratio’. The statistics show that female offending is generally three to four times lower than corresponding male offending. The statistical data also demonstrates the case for bias in the Criminal Justice System is weak. This research also supports the existence of a ‘gender offender ratio’ by virtue of the low number of females that stated they had committed crime in comparison to the male respondents. The females did not disclose that they had committed any of the predatory offences of burglary and robbery. Apart from the lower than expected levels of female juvenile convictions recorded in the Criminal Statistics, England and Wales 1995, these relative levels of offending cannot be explained away by the potential processing bias of a police officer’s discretion; police station cautioning or convictions in the Criminal Justice System. The females reticence to admit to committing crime and the males forthrightness about the same issues does indicate a gender role.

Female juvenile offending

In the survey, female juveniles were encouraged to offend by the desire for goods displayed in shops. Fashion is a value of female sexuality. Stealing clothes from shops may be more acceptable to females because it conforms with their idea of femininity. Television chat shows and news programs were said by them to motivate offending because they portrayed people that had successfully committed crime. The females watched a television presenter called Oprah Winfrey who regularly appraises social issues in her program. The sole case where females stated they would be violent was when they would take revenge on someone who hurt them. The female has a well defined sexual role in society and this violent reaction to hurtful behaviour might have its origins in the strong emotions arising from the unfaithfullness of a sexual partner. Additionally, the females believed that the state of being homeless and destitute might also give rise to criminality. They could be sympathetic with social reasons for offending. The females also seemed to think more about the social use of an article rather than whether it was at risk of being stolen. Females were strongly demotivated from offending by thinking about the police who are symbolic of the social values of law and order. To achieve the maternal goals of a mothers reassurance and protection at home, females would have a need to participate in an orderly society. They would be naturally more receptive to the messages of conformity represented by the symbols of society’s security.

When the actual crime was about to be committed females said that if the victim of the intended crime was a corporation they were encouraged to complete the offence. This might be because no person would be harmed and females had already stated that a victim of theft loses nothing if they are insured. The females said that alcohol and drugs weakened their sense of right and wrong resulting in a loss of self control that encouraged offending. Furthermore, a female stated that if she did not realise that her behaviour was criminally wrong she would not think that behaviour was risky. It appears that the immorality of what she was doing had not been effectively communicated to her. The females indicated quite strongly that once they knew something was wrong their moral values would stop them offending. This strong sense of moral value might have origins in the females sexual role where they raise children. To do this successfully, the female would have to instill the value of right and wrong in her children.

A large range of factors discouraged females from offending. The females said they would stop offending if they were watched by a stranger when they were stealing because they would feel guilty. Apparently, being thought of as a criminal could not be reconciled with their self image. The females affirmed that they could empathise with a person who is an intended victim of a crime. The ability to feel hurt and upset would stop them offending and is indicative of feminine gentleness. Moreover, females were again sensitive to the crime prevention symbolism of the police; court penalties; security guards; close circuit television and anti-theft alarms. These symbols increase the risks to a point that they would be deterred from offending. Furthermore, females said that cultural factors were important in lowering offending levels. In particular, family culture was stated to decrease the risks of offending. The females maternal instincts may require the adherence to family values.

A big factor in preventing females from re-offending was the distress and guilt that they imagined their mother would experience when they found out that their daughter was a criminal. A mother’s hurt and upset was stated to be a significant risk of offending again. The disclosure of criminality does not sit easily with family values or the image of being ladylike. The distress caused to the female’s mother also does not live up to the feminine value of caring for others. The females additionally said their friends would not approve of computer chip theft; burglary or robbery. These predatory crimes are not compatible with the females gentle and caring image. Their friends would try to dissuade them from this type of crime but might encourage stealing from shops. This last crime best fits the gender role. The female’s friends might even have a leader who could help to ensure that major crime was not committed by the group. Friends would appoint a leader if they were skillful at stealing goods for the group.

The females were capable of using a number of different excuses to justify petty offending to a friend. The justification of crime actually encourages its commission. Offending could be represented by females as an accident without any sense of responsibility. Females would also excuse an offence by stating that everybody did it. In other words, why victimise them for behaviour that is common place. Furthermore, the females could deny that there was a victim of an offence and believe that no real harm had been done by them. This last excuse would most readily fit in with feminine values. The females displayed two conflicting approaches to risky criminal situations. They would be both optimistic and uncertain about the level of risk in a crime situation. This might reveal that females are not single minded but flexible about the interpretation of the risk in the situation.

Male juvenile offending

In contrast to the females, the male juveniles were motivated by thrill seeking. This was stated with regard to beating people up but it was also mentioned in connection with a feeling of boredom. This thrill seeking is indicative of the masculine values of boldness and aggression. The juvenile males might be experiencing the frustration at not being able to demonstrate male bravery and competitiveness within normative society. To find a way of expressing these urges, males might be redirecting them into offending. This competitive nature; the resolution to succeed and disregard for most victims of crime, may be the reason that males were prepared to commit the more serious offences like burglary and sell the spoils to raise money. The males said they learned the detail of committing crime and its risks by watching television police programs like ‘The Bill’. The males said that seeing something on the screen made them want to copy it and this was apparent when one stated that violent films made him feel it was justified to use violence to escape capture. The media appeared to motivate the males, especially when males were portrayed as following the gender role of being bold; brave; powerful and aggressive. The male is biologically built more powerfully than the female and is better protected against the damage that might be sustained in the hunt for prey (Morris 1978). This might make them less aware of the physical risks in a criminal situation and explain why males wanted more information about the risks of offending.

Apart from the chance of being caught the single factor that would discourage the males from committing an offence was if the intended victim was an elderly lady. This scenario caused threats and protestations from the males towards any friend that might transgress against the value of male protection that an elderly lady should receive. Some said they would consider handing an offender over to the police. The fact that they were prepared to break an unwritten code and inform on someone to the police indicates how powerful the gender role can be. Moreover, the males said they would use violence to avoid being caught committing an offence. This also follows a gender role of being resolute and competitive. Covert cameras appeared to worry the males because they believed that even after offending they were still not safe from being caught. To confirm this fear of being secretly observed the males said that store detectives were a strong deterrent to them committing crime.

One male stated that he was under duress to continue to commit crime from adult criminals who run his housing estate. This was a situation that was unique to the males. He stated that he would be beaten up if he did not steal to order. His predicament is also indicative of the masculine value of dominating people. The probability of receiving a custodial sentence for an offence would stop the males from committing that offence again. They said that this would not preclude committing another offence because they appeared to believe that only committing the same offence again would count towards a custodial sentence. The reason the males feared its implementation might possibly be that the loss of liberty might curtail them from demonstrating their masculinity. The males said that a big risk of offending was the worry about their mother’s anger as a reaction to their offending. The males said this might stop them re-offending. They seemed to have to transfer the masculine value of anger to their mother to be better able to understand the situation. Perhaps, they might have reasoned that their mother had the power to prematurely exclude them from the protection of the home environment.

The males could only feel guilt about committing crime with some difficulty but if they did, it would stop them committing the type of crime they felt guilty about. It appeared that once males had decided to commit an offence, there were few limits on how far they will go. The moral values of the males appeared to be was subordinate to their masculinity. Males affirmed that they would point out the risks of committing crime to a friend but then the friend would be left to accept responsibility for what they had decided. The males did not use any form of justification that was unique to their gender.

Juvenile offending generally

Both genders were motivated by the desire to have money to buy goods. The females wanted clothes while the males said they needed trainers. The juveniles stated that they learned about the risks and rewards of offending from their friends. This was by gossiping with them or listening to them relate accounts of how others had been dealt with by the Criminal Justice System. Moreover, because very few had been caught offending, they had no first hand experience of the Criminal Justice System. They would have to be rely upon their friends information as being accurate. The genders both felt a pressure to be accepted; popular and admired by their friends. Another source of information for them was television and films. All gave evidence of the media influencing them. The method of committing crime would be watched by the juveniles to see if it was unsuccessful and then improvements figured out to improve the chances of success. Films with violence and drugs made at least one male believe violence was acceptable. However, when the juveniles were asked to state its effect on themselves, they said it had no affect. The significance of this fact is that apparently, they did not realise the influence that the media had on them.

All would physically help and support each other to facilitate offending. The females and males might be displaying a form of altruistic behaviour where they take a risk themselves to steal something that will give their friends what they want. In all three stages of committing crime both genders agreed that the biggest risk of offending was the likelihood of being caught. This risk discouraged the capacity to offend; the act of offending and re-offending. Imprisonment was stated to be a deterrent by females and males although the males seemed to have to believe it was more immediate than the females. Both genders also said that they were subject to peer pressure through all the stages of offending. The females and males said that a sense of right and wrong was necessary to discourage offending. In the females these moral value appeared heightened and complimentary to their idea of being feminine while males appeared to be able to overlay their masculinity on top of any moral values. All juveniles were discouraged from offending by a number of crime prevention symbols. These were police patrols; newspapers; books; magazines; sport; guard dogs; park keepers; high fence; shutters; locks; alarms and close circuit television. Both genders stated that the culture in their neighbourhood and community could discourage offending.

Females and males could justify offending by stating that they were loyal to their friends and denying that there was any victim of the offence. Both genders said they were in control but accepted they could do nothing about the risk of being caught. The males were definite about their perception of risk in the criminal situation which was very much in line with their masculine values. The females seemed to display more feminine reticence and adopted all four cultural perceptions of risk.

Both genders appeared to display the same rationality about committing crime. The females calculated the ease, opportunity, risk and reward in travelling on the train compared with the bus before deciding that the train fare was the better one to avoid paying. The calculation was not carried out with any precision but the likelihood of being caught did feature prominently in the reasoning. Similarly, the reasoning about being caught was extended to choice of the places to do graffiti. The males showed the same short cut appraisal of the criminal situation in committing thefts and burglaries and the risk of being caught was again a significant component of the calculation. The females and males could both analyse the method of committing crime portrayed in the media and suggest improvements. Both genders agreed that they had the choice to offend. Only the females were prepared to accept that others might find homelessness and destitution a good reason to offend. Although it could be argued that they could still choose to accept social security benefits. Even the male who was under duress to offend did have the choice to report the matter to the police. All appeared to employ the same type of heuristic to decide whether to commit crime or not. The major difference appeared to be what type of crime best fitted into masculine or feminine culture.

Conclusion

It is probably better that the first two hypotheses are considered together because of their similarity. These are that females cannot easily justify making the decision to commit an offence when harm is caused by that offence or a person who is the intended victim is present. The females in this survey stated they to have to employ all of the techniques of neutralisation of Matza and Sykes (1957) to enable them to commit petty offences: ‘The denial of responsibility, injury and victim; the condemnation of the condemners and the appeal to higher loyalties’. In contrast the males stated they used ‘The denial of injury and the appeal to higher loyalties’. There is evidence female juveniles find it more acceptable to offend where no human harm is caused to a person. They will approve of stealing from a corporations rather than a person and very few will commit predatory crime like robbery. The explanation for the differential application of the techniques of neutralisation is problematic and could be the subject of further research.

The third hypothesis is that female decision making takes more account of the risks of committing an offence than their male counterparts. In the survey there is evidence that shows female juveniles are more deterred by the symbols of society’s security in comparison to male juveniles. However, the apparent sensitivity of female juveniles to this symbolism is not necessarily due to them focusing on personal risk and the situation’s economics but their gender role.

Lastly, the hypothesis that female and male criminal decision making is influenced by a cultural rationality based on the risks of offending communicated to them by various sources has some foundation. The communication of the risks of offending, although they might reinforce the value system, have an impact that appears to be subordinate to the cultural values of femininity and masculinity.

Cultural risk rationality

It is suggested that a cultural risk rationality is operating in juvenile criminal choice. Morris (1978: 230) argues that Society imposes gender signals on females and males long before they reach puberty. In this presexual period Morris (1978) believes that children are given strongly defined sexual roles because boys will be given different clothes, hairstyles, toys, ornaments, pastimes and sports to girls. He argues that this process gives girls and boys strong gender identity of being socially feminine and masculine respectively.

This study has produced evidence of male and female juvenile offenders apparently having two different value systems. Both genders seem to use the same limited rationality but from within a different ‘world view’ of criminality that is reinforced by Society and their friends.The different values seem to be grounded in femininity and masculinity. The feminine values are of submissiveness, reticence; gentleness; sexuality; fashionability and ladylikeness. In comparison, masculine values are those of dominance; bravado; aggressiveness; competitiveness; bravery; powerfulness and resolution. The two different sets of values and beliefs are bound together by the altruistic practices that may be found in peer pressure.

The reason that females commit a far lesser proportion of overall crime and much lower levels of predatory offences than males is that in general, crime does not conform with their feminine self image. When a predatory offence like robbery or burglary is contemplated the females are simply saying ‘We don’t do that’. The male juveniles masculine values do not limit the choice of crime in the same way. Once they were motivated there would be few constraints. Juveniles might simply be severing the links with the culture of their peers as they grow into adulthood rather than re-establishing the normative values. It is proposed that to add cultural rationality to Rational Choice Theory (1987) would explain the different levels of offending and seriousness of offending between the female and male juveniles.

Crime prevention measures

Both genders seemed to obtain information about offending from the media and their friends. More control over the representation of criminal behaviour might deter crime. State intervention in juvenile culture through a life science course taught in the schools might bring more objectivity and morality into a juvenile’s decision making. Limiting juvenile’s access to alcohol by may help them to maintain self control.

Only a small number of offenders had been caught indicates a need for more surveillance. More security and police patrols could be deployed but juvenile offenders seemed particularly worried by covert surveillance cameras. Mobile covert cameras could be deployed at crime ‘hot spots’ to arrest criminals and strengthen the deterrent effect of these devices.

Males could be could be confronted with their guilt by facilitating offender and victim encounters in the Criminal Justice System. Police cautioning in its present form was found in this study to be ineffective. The males said that they would reoffend after a caution but would be displaced to a different crime. The males believed they were more at risk of a custodial sentence if they repeated the same offence after a caution. Moreover, this study demonstrated the small deterrent value of cautioning because of the numbers of undetected juveniles who persistently offend. All the juveniles were worried about their mother’s reaction if they were caught. Cautioning might become effective if the juveniles knew that their mother would also be held accountable by having to pay a fixed penalty for each caution they received.

Criminal Records – Investigating the Process of Running a Criminal Check

How often do you flip the news on, hoping to catch the weather report, only to hear about another story on “real life crime?” It seems that everywhere we look nowadays, from the television to the newspaper to the radio; we are subjected to these tales of horror. Except, unlike an engrossing book we can’t put down, these stories are happening all around us. From world headlines on down to our very own community, we are being victimized by criminals in every way imaginable.

We’ve all been made very aware that we’re living in dangerous times. To suspect the worst out of people until we know better is the norm in our world. Unfortunately, even the most cautious of sorts can be led to being swindled by a scam artist, trusting an unfit nanny to take care of their kids, or even to hiring a dishonest employee. One of the measures that are used to help protect against these types of crimes is a seemingly simple background search focusing on the criminal history of an individual.

There are many reasons why someone would want to run a criminal history on another person; however, they all center around one universal theme – safety. Protecting ourselves, our families, our businesses, and our finances, are our utmost concerns. Whether your company has regularly performed a criminal records search or is just starting this process – whether you’ve personally ever performed such a search before or not; there is specific information you need to know.

So, what is a criminal record and what, exactly, does it contain? In general, a criminal record contains identifying information, history of arrest, history of conviction, incarceration information, and any other possible criminal facts about the individual in question. Anything from minor misdemeanors on up could be found; however, there are a few things to clarify in the explanation of crime records. The breakdown is as follows:

Arrest Records include various law enforcement records of arrests. Even this has a wide meaning – some will only report arrests that led to convictions while others will report any and all arrests.

Criminal Court Records include criminal records from local, state, and federal courts.

Corrections Records include prison records that detail periods of incarceration.

State Criminal Repository Records include statewide records that are a compilation of arrest records, criminal court records, and correction records.

The largest misconception, and many people hold on to this belief, is that the United States has one national database that is a compilation of all criminal records everywhere – from the local level up to the federal level. This, simply, is not true.

The closest thing the U.S. has to a nationwide criminal database is the Interstate Identification Index, or the “Triple-I.”

This compilation is managed through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the FBI). The Triple-I will include criminal events such as: open arrest warrants, arrests, stolen property, missing persons, and dispositions regarding felonies and serious misdemeanors (which are defined as any crime that could result in one year or more of jail time). There are two things to understand about this database, however.

Only law enforcement personnel and agencies can access the Triple-I database. There is no nationwide criminal database available for the normal layperson.

If a county, city, or state does not report a crime to be entered into this database, it will not be found there. This means that many crimes that did not result in an incarceration in a federal prison will not be found in the Triple-I.

Law enforcement uses the Triple-I for a variety of reasons – from collecting a list of suspects for an unsolved crime to the prosecution of a charged individual. That’s great for them, but where does this leave the average American who needs to conduct a criminal history search? There are a few options – none of them are perfect on their own, but combined can, and will, give a fairly accurate picture of the person you’re investigating – if done properly. So how, or rather where, do you start?

Compile identifying information on the person you’re investigating. You’ll need, at a minimum, their full name, any prior surnames they may have had, and their date of birth. Be 100% positive you have their name spelled correctly. If you only have their name, you’ll have to do a little investigative work to get at least their birth date. Otherwise, you could end up with inaccurate criminal records that may not actually belong to the individual in question.

Ideas for locating additional information:

Talk to neighbors, coworkers, family members, or even past employers of the person in question.

Search online telephone directories as they often have the middle name, or at least the middle initial, noted with the address and phone data.

Utilize other online sources to try to gather identifying information such as their birth date and other names possibly used.

If possible, simply ask the person in question!

Obtain residential information on the person you’re investigating. You’ll need to know where they lived for the prior seven years. The cities and states at the very least, but again, the more complete data you have, the better.

Ideas for locating past addresses:

o Search one of the many free online services, often they’ll pop up every instance of the name that shows up in their database. This means if the person in question has moved around, each address associated with their name is likely to be in the database.

o If you do know the prior cities and states of their residences; you can search through past telephone directories, criss-cross directories (also called city directories and household directories) at the appropriate local libraries – and in some cases – online, for complete addresses of when the individual lived in that area.

o And again, if possible, you can always ask the individual you’re investigating.

Utilize free online sources to locate criminal records. Once you know the identifying information and the jurisdiction of the person you’re investigating, you can find the appropriate county, city, and state sites to access their public records. Realize that each state determines what is considered a “public” record, so you’ll have to brush up on the laws for the locales you’re investigating.

Also, it’s important to realize that a mere 25% to 35% of criminal data is available online, and this includes public data. So, while it’s a great place to start, it cannot be the basis of a complete investigation into your person’s criminal history. Realize, too, that many of the records will be missing key identifying information – such as date of birth, middle names, and/or social security numbers.

Pay for a criminal check to be done by an online investigation company. Most, if not all, online investigative organizations utilize the National Criminal File (NCF) as the database they search. This file is also the database most commonly researched for pre-employment background checks.

As you know by now, this file isn’t actually national; however, most states in the U.S. are included. Realize, however, that nearly all of the information that makes up the NCF comes from correction records only. Therefore, there are lots of possible holes for missing criminal activity – from county criminal records to state repositories. Anything considered a misdemeanor (an offense less serious than a felony) also will likely not be included. This means you could receive a clean report on an individual who, does indeed, have a criminal history.

Another drawback to the National Criminal File is the consistent lack of identifying information, just as with the online public records mentioned above. It is rare to find social security numbers or dates of birth to verify you definitely have the correct criminal history for your individual. The more common the name, the more unlikely it is that you’ll receive data that won’t have to be confirmed.

There are very few names in our country unique enough for this to not be an issue. Remember this, as you will have to dig deeper once you’ve received the report the NCF generated or the data you personally retrieved in your search of public criminal records.

Deeper how? Go to the source of the report. Meaning, you’ll have to consult the original data source the compilation came from. You can request a manual search from a fee-based investigation company, or you can do it yourself. However, it is the only sure way of verifying the information you have is correct. This means you’ll have to search civil records in the correct jurisdictions, and while you can do some of this online – as mentioned above; you may have to request the records in writing or go to the actual county that stores the data.

This is where you’ll be able to use the identifying information you collected. You can compare the date of birth, the social security number, full name, and the complete addresses of the person at this point. By doing this, you can rule out the inherent error probability with a common name.

One last thing to mention. If you uncover information that leads you to not hire the individual in question, you will have to abide by the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). The FCRA mandates that when you pass someone over due to a criminal history report, it is their right by law to view the report you based your decision on. Make sure you follow this law or it could come back to haunt you in the form of a lawsuit.

Criminal history checks are an important facet in determining if an individual has a history in criminal activities. As with anything, gaining an accurate criminal report is largely dependent on what you put into it. With tenacity in acquiring complete identifying information, performing a fair and legal search, confirming whatever criminal data you do find; you will have an informative and accurate report at the end.

After all, the bottom line is determining that those you are seeking to protect – yourself, your family, your business, are safe from the criminal element.

Henry Lovett writes informational articles about people search, criminal records, background checks and other similar topics. To learn more about criminal records visit [http://www.criminalcheckreviews.com]

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