The Beginning of the Breakdown
The JFK International Airport in New York City, whose majority population is foreign-born, is not a good place to trust with your luggage. CBS News reported that valuables in passengers' luggage are being stolen "at a staggering rate." Thefts from luggage are being reported at more than 200 incidents per day. The thieves are all airport and airline workers, say investigators. "Baggage handlers, jetway workers, and even security people are all in on the ongoing scam to steal you blind," CBS said. "The belly of the airplane has become like a flea market for airport employees," said JFK security lawyer Kenneth Mollins. Sometimes thieves rifle though baggage looking for valuables, other times they steal the entire bag. When that happens, "the airlines say they are lost in transit."
The Breakdown Continues
Hundreds of millions of dollars are being stolen by organized gangs in a massive, city-wide federal tax scam in Tampa, Florida. Crime gangs are stealing Social Security numbers and filing false tax returns to get refunds amounting to millions of dollars, police say. "Out in the street, everybody is doing it," said Police Chief Jane Castor. "We're hearing stories about high school kids doing this. It's just incredible. I've been in law enforcement for 28 years, and this is the most insanely massive violation of the law that I've seen." Criminals bribe employees of businesses where personal information is kept, such as medical offices, hosptials, schools, and assisted living facilities. In one case, police found more than 200 tax refunds being sent to a single address. The problem is too big for local law enforcement to handle. "It's a no-win situation," said Castor. "We could put our entire police force on this now, and we're not going to keep up."
Americans Need Guards to Visit Their Own Park
In some Third World countries, the governments do not have complete control of their territory, leaving parts of the land under domination by outlaw gangs or revolutionaries. Those conditions now occur in the U.S. Because of the government's failure to protect U.S. border territory from Mexican gangsters, tourists visiting the 330,000-acre Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona must be accompanied by federal officers armed with assault rifles. One popular tourist site, the park's Quitobaquito Spring, which is a natural oasis in the desert, has been closed to the public for many years because the area is controlled by drug gangs. It can only be visited when escorted by armed guards. Said Patrick O'Driscoll, a National Park Service spokesman: "Because it's a closed area ... we have to take basic precautions when we go in. It's maybe a little like a detail protecting the president."