The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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  • Campus Crime

    Much of the talk about the scourge of college campus rape has focused on how much of it is happening, how much of it is hidden, and what universities are doing to prevent it. We could find no one who knew for sure whether campus police and prosecutors are actually fully-pursuing the cases they have. We set out to see what really happened after a student reported being raped. We looked at the most recent rape cases available at Florida's 11 state universities, 89 cases in all. Tracking them into the courts, we could not find a single rape conviction. And yet, we also found that the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement both reported much rosier pictures of the outcomes of these cases. In a two-part report, we showed that campus police routinely use loopholes to report cases as being "solved" when in fact they were closed without arrests. And we showed that regardless of what kind of effort campus police put into investigating campus rape cases, all came to the same results: no rape convictions.
  • Meth use on the rise again in Illinois

    Once thought to be on a downward spiral, recent cases indicate meth use is climbing again. In fact, Illinois registered the fifth-most meth lab seizures and arrests in the country last year, behind Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky. And the number of meth labs in central Illinois is on the rise, though national meth incident numbers are down by 16 percent from 2011, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • Toncev's Mafia Ties

    Ivica Toncev appeared out of nowhere and became a major figure in Serbian government. He became the right hand man of Serbian Prime Minister and Minister of Police Ivica Dacic, who had made his name through high profile arrests of crime figures. But the powerful national security adviser was not who he seemed. In fact, he had long-time friendships and was as an ongoing business partner with some of the most ruthless organized crime figures in the Balkans. OCCRP also proved that the Prime Minister was warned of these connections early on but chose not to act. The story raised serious questions about the leading political party in Serbia and its ties to organized crime.
  • Known to police 2013

    An analysis of 1.8 million Toronto police contacts with over a million citizens, which typically involve no arrests or charges, shows black and brown-skinned people are stopped, questioned and documented at proportionally higher rates than whites. It also reveals there are hundreds of "outlier" officers who stop people of certain skin colours at much higher rates than their peers. The practice of stopping citizens and entering their personal details into a massive internal database has been going on for decades and has bears a striking resemblance to New York City's controversial stop and frisk program. In fact, a Toronto Star analysis finds Toronto police stop and document blacks, proportionally, at a rate higher than the NYPD. It also raises the possibility that police in certain neighbourhoods have, over a span of five years, documented every young man of colour who lives in those areas.
  • A Vicious Cycle: Broken Homes, Deadly Streets, Shattered Lives.

    The 54 minute documentary “A Vicious Cycle” is a groundbreaking and deeply personal look at the causes and impact of violent crime in the St. Louis area, which includes East St. Louis and Washington Park, Illinois, the communities with the highest murder rates in America. The documentary is the result of five months of investigation and interviews with victims, their families, former gang leaders, police, and social workers. The program is divided into four segments; (1) overview with victims and a deep look at causes of violent crime, (2) unprecedented access with one St. Louis family with 2 sons behind bars and the father of 1 son also in prison, (3) an inside look at how police are fighting crime, (4) and the emotional ending focusing on social programs that successfully bring broken families together. In 2011, there were 11 murders in Washington Park, Illinois, 1 for every 370 residents, which is 8 times the murder rate of St. Louis, a city that has one of the highest murder rates in the country. We explore the many contributing factors in the region's most violent neighborhoods, including extreme poverty, lower levels of education and home ownership, single parent families and segregation. We also examine the life of a former gang leader who was arrested more than 40 times, including arrests for 2 murders. A unique part of our program is a deeply personal investigation of the destruction of one St. Louis family. That segment, part two of our program, is 13 minutes long. The mother agreed to talk about her family because of the “pull of the streets” that lured all 3 of her sons into a gang. Our investigation learned that it was the collapse of the family, particularly their mother’s mental problems and substance abuse that really pushed the boys into the streets to find more structure and a sense of family. What follows is a rare look inside a family in crisis, featuring on-camera interviews behind bars with two sons and the father. One son is mentally ill, suicidal and has 7 children. During the interviews we learn that the root of the family’s collapse was the mother’s repeated abuse and neglect when she was a young child. The segment also includes interviews with the victims of other son’s violent crimes, including a murder he committed when he was just 19.
  • "Under the Curse of Cartels"

    This project gave readers an unprecedented look at the highly-organized drug trafficking organizations that had taken control of Oregon's drug underworld. This was not just a report about drug dealing. This was about execution-style murders never before publicly linked to Mexican drug cartels. This was about tracing how a cartel-linked trafficker set up a national drug distribution network from rural towns in Oregon. This was about the price paid by end users, including a harrowing account of a young man's death from a heroin overdose. Drug arrests were not news in Oregon. Police agencies routinely issue press releases, prosecutors hold news conferences, and photos of seized drugs and money handed out. That's where the coverage often ends. "Under the Curse of Cartels" documented the true scale behind this drug trafficking -- the sophisticated organizations, their ruthless control, and their elaborate counter-surveillance efforts to detect police investigations. The project took reporting on drug trafficking to a new level with the intimate insider details from both sides of the law. The series was a shocking wake up for Oregon, including many in the law enforcement community who didn't have access to the kind of information collated by The Oregonian.
  • Good Samaritan's case exposes police department inconsistency

    A controversial New Orleans Police Department policy of releasing the criminal records of crime victims ended after The Lens' pointed out inconsistencies in the application of the practice. When a father of two died trying to stop another woman's carjacking, the department praised him as a Good Samaritan and highlighted his years of volunteering for their office, but didn't mention his criminal record. After we searched his background, we published that he had a history of arrests for marijuana possession and LSD distribution that spanned as far back as the '80s. Shortly after our story, the department ended the policy.
  • Wilmington's Street Wars

    Wilmington, Del., has become one of the most violent cities of its size in America. Nothing dramatized that fact more than several spectacular shootings in 2012, including one day in June when three people were shot to death in separate incidents, and a shootout a few weeks later at a soccer tournament that killed three people -- including a teenager waiting to play the game he loved. To document and study the violence he and other News Journal colleagues were covering, senior reporter Cris Barrish gathered information for a database detailing the 158 shootings, including 42 homicides, over a 20-month period. He learned that police made arrests in only one-third of the cases, many of which collapsed in court. His research into why police could not solve cases led to the revelation that both shooting suspects and victims had been arrested an average of about two dozen times, with many qualifying as habitual criminals -- a phenomenon that some authorities call "thugicide.'' His stories also explored the “don’t snitch’’ code of the streets that cripples prosecution of these cases, not only by the men on both sides of the gun barrel, but also by residents who are terrified of the gunmen and distrustful of law enforcement.
  • Led by an innocent into a web of evil

    The investigation chronicles the tireless efforts of Boston federal agents who followed the trail of a single photo of a distraught toddler erroneously sent to them by a Boston-area man obsessed with child pornography. It ended with the arrests of more than 42 men from California to Mexico and the discovery of more than 140 exploited children, one of them only days old. In the telling, staff writer Jenifer B. McKim deftly details the exploding worldwide problem of child pornography, the new and innovative efforts made by investigators to rescue children and track down criminals, and the devastating toll that child porn takes on victims and families.
  • Crunch Time: The relationship between the police departments and black communities in Champaign and Urbana

    This project looked at the relationship between the black communities and police departments in Champaign and Urbana, Illinois. Specifically, we used five years of arrest data to found major disparities in the percentage of black residents in both communities and the number of black people arrested each year from 2007 to 2011. These disparities were event greater for crimes like noise violations and jaywalking. Although Champaign had been the site of high-profile incidents, including the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy in 2009, the disparities had become even greater in Urbana. After our analysis we went into the community and talked with black residents. They described a charged relationship in which they reported feeling highly scrutinized by, and afraid of, the police. We also found that the police had made some efforts to deal with the situation.