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California DOJ Approves Pilot of TMA’s Automated Secure Alarm Protocol

January 18, 2023, McLean, VAThe Monitoring Association (TMA) welcomed its 119th Emergency Communications Center (ECC) in the United States and its first agency in the state of California to implement the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). The state of California became the 22nd state in the United States to participate in the ASAP program. Launched in 2011 as a public-private partnership, TMA’s ASAP service is designed to increase the accuracy and efficiency of calls for service from alarm companies to Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs).

The City of Riverside PD went live with: Affiliated Monitoring, Rapid Response Monitoring, Vector Security, United Central Control, Guardian Protection, Securitas, Security Central, Stanley Security, Tyco (Johnson Controls), Vivint, Brinks Home Security, Protection One, and National Monitoring Center. ADT will go-live with Riverside during a second implementation phase in January 2023.

Learn more about TMA’s ASAP service online at www.tma.us/asap/.

The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

'Improving Federal Investigations of Organized Retail Crime Act'
Bipartisan legislation targets organized retail crimes

A group of lawmakers recently introduced a bill that seeks to aid in addressing organized retail crimes.

U.S. Reps. Young Kim (R-CA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Maria Salazar (R-FL), and Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) recently detailed the Improving Federal Investigations of Organized Retail Crime Act (H.R. 316). The measure incorporates the efforts of the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Postal Service, among others.

“In my district, we see businesses victimized by organized retail crime nearly every week,” Kim said. “This cannot become our new normal. I am proud to lead the Improving Federal Investigations of Organized Retail Crime Act to boost information sharing between the federal government, state and local law enforcement, and entities to address organized retail crime and hold these criminal networks accountable.

The legislation seeks to increase collaboration with retailers, organized retail crime associations, and state-run retail crime task forces while aiding state and local authorities in compiling evidence for organized retail crime prosecution.

“Protecting our residents and businesses is key to Orange County’s economic success, and organized retail crime is a threat to that stability,” said Orange County Business Council President and CEO Jeff Ball. “Orange County Business Council is proud to support Rep. Kim’s continued focus on finding common sense solutions at the federal level that will make an impact to retailers locally.”

South Orange County Economic Coalition Executive Director Victoria Hernandez said organized retail crime threatens the safety and the economy of South County communities.

“The South Orange County Economic Coalition is proud to support Rep. Kim’s dedicated work to improve the federal response to these criminal acts so Orange County’s entrepreneurs can operate securely and confidently,” Hernandez said. financialregnews.com  foxnews.com

   Read Rep. Young Kim's press release here

The Great Debate Over America's 'National Shoplifting Crisis'
Stores say shoplifting is a national crisis. Do the numbers back it up?
Companies say these incidents have led to a spike in merchandise losses, known as shrink. The metric incorporates inventory losses caused by external theft, including organized retail crime, employee theft, human errors, vendor fraud, damaged or mismarked items and other losses.

But the retail industry’s own figures on shrink cast doubt on their claim that the problem is ballooning. Researchers say retailers may be blaming theft for losses when they don’t actually know the cause.

Shrink is an “issue where you’ve got a problem, but there’s no way to know exactly where the losses are coming from,” said Richard Hollinger, a retired professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Florida, who studies retail losses and launched the retail industry’s first annual security survey in the early 1990s.

The average shrink rate as a percentage of sales dropped to 1.4% in 2021 from 1.6% in 2020, according to the latest NRF survey. That number has hovered around 1.4% for more than a decade.

Whatever the numbers say, though, retailers maintain that organized retail crime has gotten worse.

Retailers, on average, saw a 26.5% increase in organized retail crime incidents nationally in 2021 from the prior year, according to the NRF survey. Organized retail crime typically refers to large-scale retail theft and fraud by groups of professional shoplifters who conspire to steal and resell stolen merchandise.

Companies and law enforcement experts say the growth of online shopping has allowed criminals to quickly find ways resell stolen merchandise on online marketplaces like Amazon. Retailers have pushed legislation during the pandemic that would crack down on websites reselling stolen goods.

Organized retail crime is just one component of retailers’ inventory losses. It’s not the largest and is a lower percentage of overall shrink than it was five years ago, according to the NRF surveys.

The NRF estimates that organized retail crime costs companies an average of just 7 cents for every $100 in sales. cnn.com

More Big City Crime Closures
Nike closing downtown Seattle store amid crime wave

Seattle saw a 23% increase in fatal shootings in 2022

A downtown Nike store is shuttering its doors, marking an end to the storefront’s decades-long presence in Seattle amid a sharp spike in violent crime and a homelessness crisis. "We look forward to serving you at Nike.com," according to a sign posted in the Sixth Avenue and Pike Street Nike store window reads.

The store has been a downtown staple since it opened in 1996, but after the pandemic and rising crime, the shoe giant has switched gears announcing that they will be closing their doors along with other Seattle stores, like Starbucks, Seattle Credit Union, and a host of local small businesses.

Seattle has been dealing with a violent crime spike in recent years, including a 23% increase in fatal shootings in 2022. The city is also contending with issues of homelessness, drug use and cratering foot traffic stemming from the pandemic.

"For several years, retailers have been evaluating changing needs for space and scale. We’ve seen that in urban areas since before the pandemic. We never like to see a downtown retailer choose to close and Niketown has been a great part of our retail mix through the years." Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) said in a statement. "We are excited about several newcomers who have opened their doors in recent months with more on the way. To help foster their success we need to ensure a safe and welcoming environment, something that’s been improving in downtown and is top of mind for our city leaders."

Nike is following several other downtown businesses that have recently closed, including multiple Starbucks locations which also left over increasing crime in the area. Starbucks, which is based out of Seattle, closed at least six Starbucks locations in the city over safety concerns in 2022.

The Seattle Credit Union also shut down branches in the city due to crime and cratering foot traffic. foxbusiness.com

   RELATED: Seattle business owners 'begging for help' from government amid crisis

Chicago's Robbery Surge in the News
Little Village volunteers step up to protect street vendors from robberies
Volunteers are stepping up in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood to watch out for street vendors after an increase in robberies.

"Those are easy targets. They don't have a voice, but they do have us and we are going to make these people know they have people that protects them," said Angel Valdes, Brown Beret volunteer.

Valdes is a machine operator by day and took a vacation Wednesday to patrol 26th Street early this morning as a Brown Beret, an organization he describes as an activist group to serve and protect the community. He is also a Little Village resident.

"We need a lot of volunteers until the city and mayor come up with a plan to do a permanent protection for," he said.

Kristian Armendariz is a community organizer with the Little Village Community Council. He and some other council members have been getting up early to make it safer for the street vendors.

"It's providing a sense of protection, of vigilance, so they can go on with their day to day business and provide food on the table for their families," he said.

The council is looking for more people to help. Council organizers hope more people will volunteer to support the vendors and deter crime. abc7chicago.com

Putting NYC Criminals Back on the Streets
Justice ‘reforms’ forcing prosecutors to toss out 69% of NYC criminal cases, alarming new study finds
A controversial new evidence law has led to big surges in the number of cases that prosecutors are being forced to drop across the Big Apple — fueling crime by putting suspected bad guys back on the streets without ever having to face justice, a new study obtained by The Post reveals.

The rate at which cases were dismissed citywide rose from 44% in 2019 — the year new “discovery” rules were adopted by state lawmakers — to 69% by mid-October 2021, the Manhattan Institute finds in the report, set for release Thursday.

For misdemeanor cases, the increase was even more dramatic, jumping from 49% to 82% during the same period, according to official data cited by the conservative think tank.

“The statute, therefore, has correlated with a devastating rise in crime and a drop in arrests,” author and former NYPD analyst Hannah Meyers wrote.

“In New York City, adult felony arrests fell by 14% between 2019 and 2021, while NYC shootings rose by 102% and murders rose by over 51%.”

The study blamed the alarming situation on the “clerical burden” imposed on prosecutors who must “assemble and redact limitless…documents and videos” for defense lawyers as part of the legal process called “discovery.” nypost.com

Law Enforcement Departments Nationwide Fighting Retail Crime
KCSO: 473 people arrested or cited during 2022 holiday retail crime taskforce
The Knox County Sheriff's Office said that their Organized Retail Crime Holiday Taskforce arrested or cited 473 people from October 2022 to Dec. 31, 2022 — down from the previous year.

They said last year, they arrested or cited 513 people and found $445,113 in merchandise.

This year, they said they recovered or seized around $365,000 in stolen items or funds. They also said the task force found many narcotics, including around 1.08 kilograms of fentanyl and several hundred pressed fentanyl pills. They also said they found 2.63 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Last year, they said they found around 5 lbs. of heroin and 10 lbs. of methamphetamine. They said Organized Retail Crime Unit operates throughout the year. The task force includes that unit, as well as other deputies and detectives. wbir.com

Can we stop mass shootings?
An FBI expert explains how mass shooter warning signs can be missed, and what we can do about it.

Virginia lawmakers consider gun purchase waiting period after Walmart mass shooting

How States Are Using Red Flag Laws to Try to Avert Mass Shootings



COVID Update

666.5M Vaccinations Given

US: 103.6M Cases - 1.1M Dead - 100.6M Recovered
Worldwide: 672.1M Cases - 6.7M Dead - 643.6M Recovered

Private Industry Security Guard Deaths: 362   Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: 828

A Better Covid Winter
Covid hospitalizations have not surged so far this season
Some of the worst days of Covid in the U.S. have come as winters have settled in, and surges led hospitals to overflow and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths.

A comparable surge has yet to materialize on a similar timeline this winter. By now, hospitalizations in particular would have started to sharply rise. Instead, data suggests that more of a Covid bump than a surge has emerged. Recent hospitalization figures are much lower than the past, largest surges.

There is some geographic variation. Covid hospitalizations have risen more quickly in the Northeast and South in recent weeks, potentially driven by a new Omicron subvariant. But even there, hospitalization levels are closer to the summer increase caused by the Delta variant in 2021 than to the following winter surge caused by the Omicron variant. Some Western states are reporting among their lowest hospitalization rates since the pandemic began.

After years of winter surges, the absence of one translates to potentially tens of thousands fewer deaths and is worth celebrating, even if it ends up being a temporary reprieve. Today’s newsletter will look at the lack of a winter surge so far and what that means for Covid’s future. nytimes.com

The Pandemic Gun Sale Surge Has Peaked
Gun companies reckon with declining demand after pandemic surge

Firearm sales, which soared to unprecedented levels in 2020 and 2021, are falling toward pre-pandemic levels.

Gunmakers saw top-line benefits in recent years as Americans experienced feelings of insecurity and instability during the pandemic, protests over police killings of unarmed Black people, and the 2020 presidential election. But the past year has seen gun sales fall precipitously as demand wanes.

“These decreases are attributable to decreased consumer demand for firearms from the unprecedented levels of the surge that began in 2020 and remained for most of 2021,” CEO Christopher Killoy said of Sturm, Ruger’s November financials during an earnings call.

New gun ownership, as measured by the number of background checks for gun purchases, rose to 21 million in 2020, an all-time high for the industry, according to trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation. In 2019, that number had been just 13 million.

In 2021, background checks for gun purchases totaled 18.5 million, the industry’s second-biggest year. In 2022, they totaled 16.4 million. cnbc.com

$213B in Lost Work Hours During COVID
Pandemic Took Heavy Toll on Productivity

IBI’s analysis estimates that the cost associated with the loss of work hours is $213.1 billion for 2020 and 2021.

While debate still continues about the productivity level of employees during the pandemic, when looking strictly at the lost number of hours during this time, the picture becomes more clear.

The Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a nonOK, wprofit research and educational organization focused on workforce health and productivity, analyzed data from the US Current Population Survey to estimate the number of lost hours attributed to the pandemic, and the cost associated with the loss of work hours.

The cost associated with the loss of work hours is $213.1 billion ($167.4 billion in the first year and $45.7 billion in the second year).

And the number of lost hours attributed to the pandemic was 6.6 billion hours (5.2 billion in the first year and 1.4 billion in the second year). ehstoday.com

GOP introduces ‘Pandemic Is Over’ act after Biden’s extension of COVID emergency

Florida governor calls for permanent ban on COVID mask and vaccine mandates

DOJ Pushes FBI Crime Index Participation - Better Stats - Accurate Crime Trends

DOJ AAG Urges Mayors at U.S. Conference to Ensure PD's Are NIBRS Compliant
After Over $120M in Grants to PD's - 33% are Still Not Reporting Crime Stats

This year, law enforcement agency participation in submitting all crime statistics to the FBI fell 22%.

Because 2021 was the first year the FBI relied exclusively on the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for receiving crime data, including hate crimes data, from our state and local partners.

NIBRS is significantly better than the prior system — it collects substantially more detailed data for each individual criminal incident, and it provides a richer and more complete picture of all crime nationwide, including hate crimes. Better data means a better understanding of crime and how to prevent it. But as of today, only 67 percent of the over 18,600 state and local agencies are submitting NIBRS data.

We are taking this very seriously at the Justice Department, and we’d like you to join us. Since 2016, the Justice Department has been assisting jurisdictions transition from the old collection system to NIBRS, through training offered by the FBI and over $120 million in grants through the FBI and our Bureau of Justice Statistics. As explained in a report we are publishing today, we have and will continue to provide this support to help our partner agencies transition to NIBRS.

But despite our efforts and the efforts of thousands of law enforcement agencies working to make the transition, many agencies, including several of the nation’s largest, are not yet NIBRS-compliant. In those jurisdictions — including some of your cities — no crime data is going to the FBI, about hate crimes or otherwise. This makes it more difficult to report on general trends in crime across the nation, such as which communities are experiencing an increase in bias-motivated attacks.

The Justice Department needs the active participation and partnership of mayors and police chiefs to get us to 100% participation in NIBRS and in hate crimes reporting in particular. If your local law enforcement agency has not yet transitioned, I urge you to take up the cause. justice.gov

Department of Justice Review of the Transition of Law Enforcement Agencies to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)

NRF Big Show Panel Discussion on RFID Tech
Uniqlo is banking on RFID tech to help drive international growth

The retailer is counting on digital innovation to help drive store growth in North America and Europe, according to Fast Retailing CIO Takahiro Tambara.

Uniqlo’s parent Fast Retailing is banking on RFID technology to improve its supply chain management, and in turn, drive digital innovation and international growth.

Tambara said the company wants to accelerate its expansion in the U.S. and European markets. Tambara said RFID technology is the foundation of creating a great in-person customer experience.

“We’ve already introduced RFID for our self-checkout services as well as many other services for our customers using RFID technology,” Tambara said. “Our strength is having retail stores. So we have been developing our digital platform so that customers can have a seamless shopping experience.”

Uniqlo had 45 U.S. stores in late 2022. Tokyo-based Fast Retailing had global sales of 2.3 trillion yen ($16.6 billion at the time), for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2022. retaildive.com

December Sales Up 6% over LY - Full Yr. Sales Up 9.2% Over 2021
Department Stores Lead 1.1% Drop in December Retail Sales
U.S. retail sales fell for a second month in December as slumping department store receipts saw the key economic benchmark post its weakest tally in a year.

Officially, the Census Bureau report released Wednesday (Jan. 18) showed a 1.1% decline from the previous month, which followed a downwardly revised 1% dip in November from the 0.6% drop originally reported.

Among the key movers in the latest tally that represents the retail industry’s most important month of the year was a 6.6% monthly decline in department store sales, as well as a 2.5% retreat in furniture and home furnishing.

Aside from the 4.6% drop in sales at gas stations, the latest data also showed continued softness in non-store retailers (eCommerce), electronics and appliances, and miscellaneous retailers, such as pet stores and florists, all of which fell 1.1% in December.

On the flip side, the 0.3% gain by the building materials segment bested all 15 other categories surveyed, followed by tiny 0.1% increases in grocery stores and sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores.

On an annualized basis, the new government data showed December sales rose 6% from a year ago, while the full year 2022 retail sales figure delivered a 9.2% gain versus 2021. pymnts.com

   NRF: Holiday sales rise 5%, just miss forecast

Adidas responds to fake emails – Did Union’s play a part?
Adidas embarrassed after ‘utopian announcement’ – which named fake co-CEO and launched fashion line – spreads like wildfire
Global sportswear brand Adidas shocked the fashion world this week by seemingly appointing a former factory worker as co-CEO, as well as revealing that it was launching a "pre-worn" collection at Berlin Fashion Week.

However the "utopian announcement" was later revealed to be the work of fair pay campaigners, piling pressure on the athleisure wear giant to make promises about laborers' pay and union rights.  yahoo.com

Food Safety Training
One Fair Wage launches food-safety training program to compete with ServSafe
One Fair Wage — an organization fighting to raise the minimum age and end the tip credit —announced that it launched a food-safety training program, Just.Safe.Food, designed to compete with the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe.  nrn.com

Deloitte Gives Outlook on the Retail Industry in 2023
Deloitte's retail industry outlook report provides a unique outlook on how today's market, future expectations and changing consumer needs inform strategies for the year ahead.

Lowe's CEO: Physical stores are 'biggest central competitive advantage' in retail

Bluedot predictions include more EV stations at malls, smaller footprint stores

Senior LP & AP Jobs Market

Director of Internal Audit, ERM and AP job posted for Wawa in Wawa, PA
The Director is responsible for providing oversight of the Company’s internal audit activities, financial and process controls in all business units. The Director oversees and directs the activities of the business divisions of Internal Audit, Enterprise Risk Management, Loss Prevention, Physical Security, Compliance, Business Measurements and Crisis Management. wawa.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com

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In Memoriam: Former LP Leader Joseph J. McGowan Jr. Passes Away Peacefully

Joseph J. McGowan, Jr., 57, passed away peacefully on January 10, 2023. Joe was born in Milford, CT on March 6, 1965, to the late Joseph J. and Norma J. (Hutchinson) McGowan. He graduated from Newtown High School in 1984 before earning his bachelor's degree from Charter Oak State College.

Joe served as a member of the Army National Guard, retiring as a Captain after 22 years of service. In 2004-2005, Joe was the Company Commander of the HHC 143rd Area Support Group during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Joe was the recipient of several medals including the Army Commendation Medal.

He went on to a successful career as a Loss Prevention Manager for Lechmere, Bernie's, AutoZone, Allied Domecq, and Follett. With those companies, he held such titles as Regional Asset Protection/Loss Prevention Manager, Director of Loss Prevention and Loss Prevention Manager. 

In 2010, Joe received the Follett Values in Action award for providing support to employees, colleagues, and law enforcement after a tragic event at Wesleyan University.

Joe's funeral services will be held privately. He will be interred with military honors at the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown, CT. The Duksa Family Funeral Homes at Newington Memorial, 20 Bonair Ave., Newington is assisting the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Joe's name may be made to Wounded Warrior Project or The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation and Animal Sanctuary in Sandy Hook, CT. To share a condolence with his family, please visit www.duksa.net.

Click here to read the full obituary











Walmart Bolstering Cybersecurity Operations
Despite Economic Downturn, Walmart Hires For Cyber Roles
I visited Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., on Wednesday to meet with cybersecurity leaders. Retail isn’t rosy right now. At Walmart, as at rival Amazon, white-collar layoffs are afoot. Yet Walmart, also like Amazon, continues to hire in cybersecurity, said Rob Duhart, deputy CISO.

Walmart, the world’s biggest company by revenue, started its information security group more than 20 years ago, said CISO Jerry Geisler, a 32-year company veteran.

It’s a well-established program. That helps us to attract people with a lot of experience,” Mr. Geisler said.

Walmart is filling spots at a new security operations center in Reston, Va., and recruiting for roles elsewhere such as cyber systems and software engineers and incident response specialists.

Company officials won’t say how many people work in cybersecurity or by how much the team aims to expand.

Cybersecurity growth must keep pace with business growth, including acquisitions in burgeoning markets, said Mr. Duhart, who joined Walmart in 2021 from Google. “In the next three years, we have a vision of where the organization needs to be,” he said. He is headed to Johannesburg on Friday to meet with the cyber group at Massmart, a major retailer in Africa that Walmart acquired late last year. cybersecurity.cmail20.com

Dark Web Kingpin Arrested - 'Warning Shot to Russian Cybercriminals'
Russian founder of a cryptocurrency exchange known for funneling ransomware profits arrested
The founder and majority owner of a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange, which law enforcement officials allege is a “haven for criminal proceeds and funds,” has been arrested for failing to comply with U.S. anti-money laundering requirements, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

The exchange called Bitzlato moved more than $700 million dollars within the Hydra Marketplace, which was formerly the world’s longest-running and largest dark web marketplace before U.S. and German authorities took it down last April, according to the DOJ.

The arrest comes as the U.S. ramps up efforts to crack down on attempts by cybercriminals to use cryptocurrency as a means to evade financial regulations and transfer illicit funds. The exchange’s founder, Anatoly Legkodymov, is a Russian national who resides in China. Legkodymov, who operated the exchange from Miami from 2022 up until his arrest by FBI agents in Miami on Tuesday night.

“To all those exploiting the cryptocurrency ecosystem to enable cryptocrime, we have a clear message: we will not only target hackers, fraudsters, and criminals that mask their profits in cryptocurrency,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “We are also unleashing the full force of the Department of Justice on the illicit actors and entities that support cybercriminals — like Legkodymov and Bitzlato.”

U.S. officials say that Bitzlato’s failure to enact know-your-customer procedures made it a haven for funds from criminal activity since its founding in 2016. Bitzlato reportedly facilitated transfers from Russian cybercriminal groups including Conti, and received more than $15 million in ransomware proceeds.

Officials said the arrest is a warning shot to Russian criminals and their enablers seeking to evade U.S. sanctions.

Officials declined to answer questions about whether Bitzlato was directly used by Russian actors to evade sanctions. According to cryptocurrency analysis firm Chainalysis, Bitzlato received $2.5 billion in cryptocurrency since 2019, 27 percent of which came from illicit sources such as ransomware and sanctioned entities. The exchange also received $32,000 worth of cryptocurrency from pro-Russia paramilitary groups since the outset of the war in Ukraine. cyberscoop.com

'2022 State of Ransomware Report'
2022 SMB ransomware report reveals increased cybersecurity investments
A 2022 State of Ransomware report was released by Datto on January 17. The report surveyed nearly 3,000 IT professionals in small to medium-sized businesses across eight countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The report shows that SMBs are aware of increasing cyber threats and allocating resources and investing in areas such as network and cloud security.

AdvertisementKey takeaways from this year’s survey include:

About a fifth of IT budget is dedicated to security and many are seeing increases in budgets. Forty-seven percent of SMBs plan to invest in network security in the next year.

Over 50% of SMBs have implemented AV and email/spam protection, with network and cloud security as the top areas planned for investment in the next year.

37% of respondents run IT security vulnerability assessments three or more times a year, with 62% running them at least twice a year.

69% of SMBs currently have cyber insurance and 34% of those without cyber insurance are highly likely to get it in the next year.

42% of SMBs with cyber insurance think it’s extremely likely that a ransomware attack will happen in the next year, while only 16% of SMBs without cyber insurance think the same.

Only three in 10 of SMBs have a best-in-class recovery plan in place, with 52% of them claiming they have a standard recovery plan in place. MSPs can help their clients improve their disaster recovery plan by building out their security and backup offerings or requiring clients to have cyber insurance. Cyber insurance can offset the risks of potential breaches, something which became increasingly more important when many SMBs accelerated their digital transformation efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic..

Click here to download the full report. securitymagazine.com

FBI Warning About Search Engine Malware
Google ads increasingly pointing to malware
The FBI has recently warned the public about search engine ads pushing malware diguised as legitimate software – an old tactic that has lately resulted in too many malicious ads served to users searching for software, cracked software, drivers – anything that can be downloaded, really – via Google and Bing.

Malware peddlers employ a variety of methods to deliver their wares to unsuspecting users:

• Malicious links or attachments served via email and messages, or posts on social media
• Malicious ads served via popular sites
• SEO poisoned websites
• Malicious ads served by popular search engines

The latter tactic is particularly good at hitting a wide pool of potential targets, since most internet users also use search engines.

Lately, though, they have been overdoing it – or perhaps it’s just that more people have begun noticing it and talking about it online? helpnetsecurity.com

Sophos Cuts 450 Jobs to Focus on Cybersecurity Services
Layoffs intended to cut costs, help company shift its focus on cybersecurity services, Sophos says.

ICS Confronted by Attackers Armed With New Motives, Tactics, and Malware

ChatGPT Could Create Polymorphic Malware Wave, Researchers Warn




'Safe Banking Act' is Key to Fighting Cannabis Crime
From Federal Reform to Statewide Legalization Efforts, These Are Cannabis Laws to Watch in 2023

More federal reform is possible, while there is an ever-increasing push for legalization at the state level.

The SAFE Banking Act

What is it? The Safe and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would permit banks to do business with plant-touching cannabis companies. Because cannabis remains federally illegal, traditional financial institutions will not facilitate cannabis-related transactions. For banks that want to work with state-regulated cannabis-related businesses, the SAFE Banking Act would do three main things:

1. Stop federal regulators from taking certain harmful actions against banks just because the bank provides financial services to state-regulated cannabis-related businesses.

2. Clarify that money obtained from a state-regulated and compliant cannabis business would not be considered “proceeds from an unlawful activity” solely because the source of those funds arises from a plant-touching business.

3. Provide general protection against federal liability for banks, the Federal Reserve and Federal Home Loan Banks, as well as insurers who work with state-regulated and compliant cannabis-related businesses.

Where is it now? The U.S. House of Representatives has passed SAFE seven times—even passing it as a standalone bill in April 2021 by a vote of 321 to 101, with 106 Republicans voting for it—yet the bill has died each time in the Senate. Most recently, the act was left out of large-scale spending and defense bills in December 2022.

Why is it important? SAFE would fight crime, promote diversity, and boost the economy by making more traditional capital sources available to this nascent industry. Cannabis companies are frequently constrained by being forced to conduct business in cash and the risks that go along with that, such as the risk of violent crime. By providing safe access to banks, SAFE would decrease on-hand cash at cannabis facilities and, in turn, reduce violent crime in the cannabis industry cannabisbusinesstimes.com

Nearly $7M of Pot Seized in Cannabis Smuggling Operation
9 charged with trying to smuggle drugs from L.A. to London; $6.7M worth of cannabis seized
Nine American citizens have been arrested and charged after allegedly trying to smuggle drugs from Los Angeles to London, British officials said.

Additionally, more than $6.7 million worth of cannabis (or £5.5 million) was seized, according to the National Crime Agency in the U.K.

The passengers were flying from Los Angeles to London’s Heathrow Airport when they were taken into custody last week. Each were found to have between 30 and 50 kilos of marijuana checked in their baggage, officials said.

The first passenger arrived on Jan. 10 and officers with Border Force seized around 30 kilos from suitcases. A second seizure was made on Jan. 13, followed by two more on Jan. 14, four on Jan. 15 and an additional one on Jan. 16, officials detailed.

“In total more than 340 kilos of herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of more than £5.5 “million has now been seized,” NCA officials detailed in a news release.

All nine suspects, five women and four men, were charged with attempting to import class B drugs and remain in custody pending court appearances. ktla.com

Turbulent 2 Years Coming for Once-Booming Cannabis Industry?
Marijuana industry layoffs and cost-cutting likely to continue in 2023
The once high-flying marijuana industry is expected to endure more layoffs and pain in 2023 – and perhaps beyond – after a tough year marked by companies cutting hundreds of employees amid falling wholesale prices and slowing demand.

The layoffs have involved a range of businesses, including large multistate operators such as Curaleaf Holdings and Trulieve Cannabis as well as smaller tech companies.

Several high-profile industry executives also have exited the scene, underscoring how the fallout has spread to the C-suite level.

I don’t think layoffs have peaked. I think this will continue into 2024 for sure,” Sara Gullickson, CEO and founder at The Cannabis Business Advisors, told MJBizDaily via email. mjbizdaily.com

NYC's Bustling Illegal Pot Market
Wild West: 1,400 illegal pot shops now open in NYC, already ‘reeking’ havoc
An astounding 1,400 shops have popped up around New York City that are illegally selling cannabis products — a situation that alarmed lawmakers decried as the “Wild, Wild West” during a City City Council hearing Wednesday.

City Sheriff Anthony Miranda and representatives of the NYPD testified that existing laws make it difficult to immediately close illicit shops and often can issue only measly $250 fines for selling pot without a license — hardly a deterrent even after seizing illegal weed and edibles. nypost.com

Second adult-use cannabis store to open in New York

Can Virginia lawmakers find a way to fix the state’s ‘weird’ weed laws?

Mass. marijuana industry braces for turbulent 2023






DOJ & OSHA Cited & Still Investigating Amazon Warehouses
Exposing Employees to Hazards & Hiding True Number of Injuries in Possible Fraud Scheme

DOJ: Amazon Cited By OSHA Based On SDNY Referrals For Serious Violations That Exposed Workers To Safety Hazards

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and OSHA issued citations for three facilities to AMAZON.COM arising out of referrals received from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (the “Office”).

AMAZON’s failure to furnish a place of employment which was free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. Specifically, the citations explained that employees at three AMAZON facilities were exposed to ergonomic hazards which put them at high risk for lower back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders (“MSDs”). These hazards resulted from the high frequency with which workers are required to lift packages and other items; the heavy weight of the items; awkward postures, such as twisting, bending, and long reaches while lifting; and long hours required to complete assigned tasks. These facilities are located in New Windsor, New York, Waukegan, Illinois, and Deltona, Florida. Additionally, at the Deltona, Florida, warehouse, OSHA also cited AMAZON for exposing workers to the hazard of being struck by falling boxes with merchandise.

These citations arise out of workplace safety inspections at six AMAZON warehouses across the country that OSHA conducted beginning in mid-July and early August of last year in response to referrals received from the Office. OSHA’s investigation at three of AMAZON’s facilities — located outside of Albany, New York, Boise, Idaho, and Denver, Colorado — is ongoing. Per the OSH Act, OSHA has six months from a violation to issue citations. In mid-December, OSHA issued citations for AMAZON’s failure to appropriately log injuries for reporting to OSHA at all six facilities.

The Civil Division of the Office is also investigating worker safety hazards at AMAZON warehouses across the country, as well as whether AMAZON engaged in a fraudulent scheme designed to hide the true number of injuries to AMAZON workers and whether AMAZON made false representations to lenders about those injuries and its safety record to obtain credit. justice.gov  wsj.com

Could Amazon's 18K Layoffs Hurt Efforts to Boost Worker Safety?
Amazon slashed HR teams built to help warehouse workers
For warehouse workers, the COVID-19 pandemic — and the unprecedented number of questions about sick time and corporate polices — exposed flaws in the system that left some workers confused about how or why they were fired, and unable to reach anyone who could fix mistakes. Strict attendance rules, workplace expectations and high injury rates mean warehouse workers are often searching for answers that can be elusive in a network that includes thousands of warehouse associates.

Less than six months after launching the new system as another resource for those warehouse associates, Amazon trimmed the workforce in charge of responding to those questions.

As part of a wave of layoffs that could total 18,000 workers, Amazon is cutting from its human resources department, including teams meant to assist warehouse workers with everything from terminations to protected leave to questions about day-to-day operations. Most of the 1.5 million people in Amazon’s global workforce are hourly workers.

In November, the company offered voluntary buyouts to some employees in the HR team, which Amazon calls People, Experience and Technology Solutions. Workers who accepted the package signed off for the last time at the end of December.

Earlier this month, CEO Andy Jassy said Amazon would continue making cuts, naming HR and the company’s stores division as places that would see more layoffs.

For a mostly remote team that Amazon calls its Regional Centers, the cuts mean fewer people to help answer questions from the network of warehouse employees who turn to HR for assistance. Most Amazon warehouses have an on-site HR employee or team to answer immediate questions. But employees can also contact the Regional Center if those teams are jammed or unable to answer the question.

That’s important for workers in the warehouses who are often told to turn to an app rather than the on-site HR rep to get answers, according to Khali Jama, who works at an Amazon fulfillment center in Minnesota. seattletimes.com

   RELATED: Read the Email Amazon Sent to Laid Off Employees

Security Top Concern of Consumers - Biometrics/FRT is Coming
Security & Payment Choice Top Two Factors for Consumers
A survey from American Express and PayPal suggested that consumers’ payment needs are evolving at an unprecedented rate. The two most important factors to shoppers in the payment experience were security and choice of payment method, with 81% and 50% citing these features, respectively. pymnts.com

Amazon delivery driver shares harrowing ordeal after falling 13 feet into septic tank

Amazon Prime: Local customers in Texas say delivery delays continue




Vancouver, BC, Canada: Thieves steal up to $250K in products from Vancouver snowboard shop
The owner of a popular snowboard shop in Vancouver says his business was targeted by thieves, who were able to make off with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items early Tuesday. Murray Fraser, owner of The Boardroom, said thieves were able to pry open a backdoor to his store and had apparent targets in mind. “We saw they went after specific products in specific areas,” he said. “They went into the office area and took a bunch of products pulled for online sales. They went into the manager’s desk and stole files – (sensitive) employee information. (They also) took a lot of products from the back and the front of the store on different racks. “They also took a safe.” The owner said it was not just a smash and grab, noting the “four to five” suspects returned multiple times. “They came back several times and reloaded,” Fraser said. “They got away with a lot of stuff, probably around $150,000 to $250,000 (worth of goods).”  globalnews.ca

Update: Livingston County, MI: Ulta shoplifting raid suspects arraigned on multiple felony charges
Five woman accused of committing an organized shoplifting raid at a makeup store in Green Oak Township near Brighton have been arraigned on multiple felony charges. Laronda Nashea Chase, Tirezah Renee Scott, Shanel Jean Webster, Joya Omega Williams and Kari Deloris Williams were arraigned Sunday, Jan. 15, on multiple felony charges in connection with a shoplifting raid at the Ulta beauty shop in Green Oak Township, Jan. 12, court records show. The cases stem from an incident where, at 8 p.m., Jan. 12, police were called to the Ulta beauty store inside the Village Place Mall, 9930 Village Place Blvd., for a report of multiple theft suspects filling bags with merchandise, according to the Green Oak Township Police Department. Officers arrived to discover five women stealing items from the store in an apparent organized raid, police said. mlive.com

Lee Summit, KS: Shoplifting arrest in Lee's Summit leads to return of trophy to KC Chiefs legend
A shoplifting arrest led police in Lee's Summit to return a trophy to the family of a Kansas City football legend. According to a post on the Lee's Summit Police Department's Facebook page, on January 6th, 2023, plainclothes officers with their Crime Reduction Team were working in a shopping mall to catch shoplifters. A business alerted the police to a potential shoplifter. Police detained the person and said the person took about $6,500 worth of clothing, electronics, jewelry, and cologne. The person also drove a car reported stolen out of Kansas City. When police searched the car, they found more stolen merchandise. One of the stolen items was a large, silver trophy. The trophy was engraved with the name of Len Dawson. Someone awarded the trophy to Dawson in 1979 for his "Meritorious Service in Pro Football." Dawson died in August 2022. The Kansas City Chiefs connected detectives with Dawson's wife, Linda. Detectives said Linda was "overjoyed" to get the trophy back. They also say it was probably stolen in the early 1980s.  krcgtv.com

Kelly Township, PA: Over $700 stolen in Walmart theft, two charged
State police say two men are being charged in a Walmart theft where over $700 worth of items were stolen. According to Pennsylvania State Police, on January 12 around 5:50 p.m., troopers responded to a reported theft at a Walmart in Union County. Police say two men, ages 45 and 43, were found to have taken a total of $797.43 worth of items without paying. pahomepage.com

Murfreesboro, TN: Thousands of dollars in Record (33’s) stolen from Target
Detectives need help identifying a subject in a December 26th theft case. Evidently the day after Christmas, an unidentified individual stole hundreds of dollars' worth of vinyl records from the Target store on Old Fort Pkwy. While many didn't realize the store even sold 33's, loss prevention workers were well aware of their goods being quietly lifted, so quiet that the crime was not reported until 2-weeks had passed. wgnsradio.com

Sebastian, FL: Woman says she was in a rush and forgot to pay at Walmart
Police arrested a 40-year-old woman who told officers she forgot to scan $343.18 in merchandise using the self-checkout at Walmart in Sebastian, Florida. A loss prevention officer told police that the suspect, Nicole Machado of Vero Beach, was not scanning all merchandise at the self-checkout aisle. The “checkout host” was alerted, and they warned Machado to scan all items. However, Machado continued to scan one item but bagged two. “Even with the warnings from Walmart, Nicole [Merchando] continued to scan multiple items at a time and was also not scanning some items. Nicole [Merchando] then paid for some of the items she scanned, which totaled 70 items for an approximate total of $278.93,” police said.  sebastiandaily.com

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Shootings & Deaths

Rochester, NY: Burger King employee shot, killed leaving Lyell Avenue restaurant
A 19-year-old Burger King employee was fatally shot while leaving work on Saturday night marked Rochester's first homicide of 2023. Sideic Robinson of Rochester was shot multiple times inside the Burger King restaurant at 560 Lyell Ave. around 7:40 p.m. Saturday as he was leaving work for the night, said Capt. Frank Umbrino of the Rochester Police Department. Police said they believe Robinson was targeted, but the motive remained unclear. Police said there was not a robbery or customer trouble preceding the shooting. Robinson was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital where he died from his injuries, Umbrino said. No charges have been filed in connection with the slaying.   democratandchronicle.com

Brooklyn, NY: Man Receives 9-Year Sentence for Kings Plaza Mall Sneaker Store Shooting
A 20-year-old Bronx man will serve nine years in prison after pleading guilty to charges that stem from a shooting at the Kings Plaza Mall in late last January. “This defendant shot two teenagers and terrorized everyone around when he opened fire on a group in a crowded mall store,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in a press release. Briggs pled guilty to second-degree attempted murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on Nov. 30, 2022. bkreader.com


Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Bartlesville, OK: Man Accused by Police of Attempting to Kidnap a Lowe’s Employee has been Arrested
A man police say attempted to kidnap an employee at a store in Bartlesville is in custody on Wednesday, police say. The Bartlesville Police Department said that video shows a man identified as Quincy Wilson attempting to forcibly remove a female Lowes employee from the store on Tuesday. Captain Andrew Ward with Bartlesville police said that Wilson was taken into custody by the Tulsa Police Department just after noon on Wednesday. Ward said Wilson will be sent back to Bartlesville and booked in the Washington County Jail. newson6.com

Avondale, AZ: Attempted Armed Robbery at Gas Station stopped by Armed Attendant
An attempted robbery at an Avondale gas station was stopped in its tracks when an employee behind the counter shot the suspect after the man brandished a gun at him. The man reportedly came into the Chevron store near 107th Avenue and Indian School Road around 5:45 a.m. He then pulled out a handgun and demanded money, a spokeswoman with the Avondale Police Department said. "He pointed his gun at me, said it was a robbery, then he pointed his gun at the other customer I had in the store," Ryan, the attendant, said as he described the frightening moment. Police said the suspect was then distracted by another customer in the store, and turned his back on the clerk. That was when the employee reportedly shot the suspect. "I had the opening to pull my gun and shoot," Ryan said. "That's pretty much the whole thing." "I'm not happy I had to shoot him, but I'm not stressing. The moment he pulled the gun on me he set the situation and I just followed it. He made the situation what it was." The suspect is in the hospital in critical condition at this time, and Ryan is not facing any charges as of now, police said. 12news.com

Kanawha County, WV: McDonald's employee accused of stabbing customer in restaurant's restroom
A McDonald's employee in West Virginia was accused of stabbing and robbing a customer late Tuesday afternoon in the restaurant's bathroom. Richard Thornton, 31, of Elkview is charged with malicious wounding and first-degree robbery after an incident at the McDonald's near the Crossings Mall, Kanawha County deputies said. Deputies said Thornton followed a 56-year-old man into the restroom before robbing him of his wallet, cutting the man's face, and stabbing him in the neck. The man who was stabbed was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital with serious injuries to his face and stab wounds to the neck. Deputies said the suspect ran from the scene but was caught at a nearby gas station. They said he still had the man's wallet and the bloody knife.  wgxa.tv

Birmingham, AL: Police trying ID robbery suspect who threatened to shoot Birmingham Target employee
Authorities are asking for the public’s help identifying a man they say threatened to shoot a store employee. Birmingham’s South Precinct officer on Tuesday, Jan. 10, were dispatched to Target on U.S. 280 on a report of a robbery. Sgt. Monica Law said the suspect had been spotted trying to leave the store with an electric bike through the entrance door, which would not open. When Loss Prevention personnel approached him, he said, “I will shoot you.” The suspect left the store with the bike.  al.com

Joliet, IL: $136,000 Stolen By Joliet Walmart Employee
A 47-year-old employee at the Joliet Walmart store on West Jefferson Street now faces the forfeiture of her 2015 Jeep Cherokee after an audit determined that Melissa Vanderwall stole $135,988 from the store on Nov. 27, new court filings show. The forfeiture complaint was filed at the Will County Courthouse. On Dec. 15, a Will County grand jury indicted Vanderwall on two felonies, theft and burglary, following a Joliet police investigation. On Nov. 29, Joliet police officer Matt Pesce was called to the Walmart store at 2424 West Jefferson St. to investigate a past theft. A loss prevention employee told Pesce that Vanderwall stole money from two different cash recyclers. The cash recyclers are similar to ATMs, and retail stores use them to restock their cash registers.  patch.com

West Vancouver, B.C., Canada: Employee arrested after allegedly posting $80,000 in refunds to her own credit cards
A West Vancouver woman has been arrested after she allegedly defrauded her employer of more than $80,000, according to North Vancouver RCMP. The woman would refund large purchases onto her personal credit cards over a period of months while working at the business, police said. She’d been entrusted with running the finances while the owner was on a trip. “It was actually the financial institution that contacted the business owner saying: ‘Hey, there is some fraudulent activity going on,’ so that’s how they discovered they were being defrauded in these refund frauds,” Const. Mansoor Sahak said Upon returning home, the owner discovered the fraudulent refunds and immediately called police. The business and the woman are not being named because she has not yet been charged in the incidents that occurred between June and September of 2021.  globalnews.ca

DOJ: Knoxville, TN: Federal Jury Convicts Deshawn Whited Of Multiple Hobbs Act Robberies, Carjacking, And Firearms Offenses

Cleveland, OH: Euclid car dealership becomes latest target in NE Ohio car thefts

Auckland, New Zealand: $200, 000 hammer heist: Two more admit to brazen daylight jewelry store smash-and-grab at Royal Oak Shopping Mall

Singapore's FairPrice locks up infant formula on shelf of supermarket outlet in trial to stamp out theft



Auto – Cleveland, OH – Burglary
Auto – Polk County, IA - Burglary
C-Store – Fairview Heights, IL – Robbery
C-Store – Fort Worth, TX – Armed Robbery
C-Store – Joliet, IL – Armed Robbery
C-Store – Chicago, IL - Robbery
C-Store – Chicago, IL - Robbery
C-Store – Chicago, IL - Robbery
Cinema – Kearney, NE – Burglary
Dollar – Columbus, GA – Burglary
Gas Station - Avondale, AZ – Armed Robbery
Gas Station – Omaha, NE – Burglary
Hardware – Vista, CA - Burglary
• Jewelry - Sandy, UT- Burglary
• Jewelry - Tacoma, WA - Robbery
• Jewelry - Durham, NC - Robbery
Marijuana – Petaluma, CA – Burglary
Restaurant - Chicago, IL – Robbery (Dunkin)
Restaurant – Winston-Salem, NC – Armed Robbery (Bojangles)
Restaurant – Bibb County, GA – Armed Robbery (Subway)
Restaurant – Warwick, RI – Burglary
Restaurant – Stockbridge, GA – Burglary (Burger King)
Shoes – Leesburg, VA – Burglary
Walmart – Hazle Township, PA - Robbery
Walmart – Birmingham, AL – Armed Robbery


Daily Totals:
• 14 robberies
• 11 burglaries
• 0 shootings
• 0 killed

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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Region Asset Protection Manager (Ft. Lauderdale)
Fort Lauderdale, FL - posted January 18
Responsible for managing asset protection programs designed to minimize shrink, associate and customer liability accidents, bad check and cash loss, and safety incidents for stores within assigned region. This position will develop the framework for the groups’ response to critical incidents, investigative needs, safety concerns and regulatory agency visits...

Region Asset Protection Manager-St Augustine and Daytona Beach Market
Jacksonville, FL - posted January 18
Responsible for managing asset protection programs designed to minimize shrink, associate and customer liability accidents, bad check and cash loss, and safety incidents for stores within assigned region. This position will develop the framework for the groups’ response to critical incidents, investigative needs, safety concerns and regulatory agency visits...

Region Asset Protection Manager: Fresco y Mas Banner
Hialeah, FL - posted January 18
Responsible for managing asset protection programs designed to minimize shrink, associate and customer liability accidents, bad check and cash loss, and safety incidents for stores within assigned region. This position will develop the framework for the groups’ response to critical incidents, investigative needs, safety concerns and regulatory agency visits...

Field Loss Prevention Manager
Seattle, WA / San Francisco or San Jose, CA / Portland, OR - posted January 11
The Field Loss Prevention Manager (FLPM) coordinates Loss Prevention and Safety Programs intended to protect Staples assets and ensure a safe work environment within Staples Retail locations. FLPM's are depended on to be an expert in auditing, investigating, and training...

Loss Prevention Auditor and Fraud Detection Analyst
Seattle, WA - posted January 11
As a Loss Prevention Auditor and Fraud Detection Analyst for Staples, you will conduct LP operational field audits remote, virtual and in person, within a base of 60 retail stores to ensure compliance to operational standards to drive operational excellence and preserve profitability...

Regional Asset Protection and Safety Manager (UK)
London, UK - posted January 3
Responsible for ensuring application of Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS), occupational safety, and loss prevention programs and policies at the store, region, and cross-regional levels. Works with the Team Leaders and Team Members to ensure education, communication, and understanding of safety and loss prevention policies, including how safety and asset protection contributes to profitability and business success...


Manager of Asset Protection & Safety Operations
Woodcliff Lake, NJ - posted December 9
The Manager of Asset Protection & Safety Operations is responsible for the physical security, safety compliance and reduction of shrinkage for Party City Holdings, by successfully managing Asset Protection (AP) Safety programs for all PCHI locations...

Loss Prevention Auditor and Fraud Detection Analyst
Boston - Framingham, MA - posted December 2
As a Loss Prevention Auditor and Fraud Detection Analyst for Staples, you will conduct LP operational field audits remote, virtual and in person, within a base of 60 retail stores to ensure compliance to operational standards to drive operational excellence and preserve profitability...

District Asset Protection Manager
Phoenix, AZ - posted November 17
As the District Asset Protection Manager you will lead administration of Asset Protection programs and training for an assigned district in order to drive sales, profits, and a customer service culture. Oversees Asset Protection Programs by providing leadership and guidance to Asset Protection teams and General Managers on methods to successfully execute programs in stores...


Asset Protection Associate
Riverhead, NY - posted November 4
The Asset Protection Associate (APA) is responsible for the detection, apprehension, or deterrence of customer and associate activity that could result in a loss to Ralph Lauren. APAs are also responsible for ensuring a safe environment for all customers, associates, and vendors. APAs promote and monitor compliance to Polo Ralph Lauren policies and procedures related to theft prevention, safety, and inventory control...

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"Speed Kills" As we all sprint virtually every day to accomplish our tasks, one must remember that, without stepping back and getting out of your box to see exactly where you're going or where you've been, you won't ever be able to see where you really need to go. And in that case speed really does kill and you may never even see it coming because you're moving too fast. That's why three-day-weekends are so great; they make you stop and listen. You've just got to make sure you hear it.

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