Synthetic drug supplier bill passes first reading

National MP Simeon Brown’s Member’s Bill that proposes a quadrupling of maximum prison sentences (to eight years) for suppliers of synthetic drugs  passed it’s first reading today, with the support of NZ First.

I replied to that:

It’s addressing the wrong problem the wrong way. It might crowd prisons a bit more but doesn’t address the core problems that all parties keep avoiding, drug laws that are failing badly.

Drug Foundation:  Clearing the air on ‘synthetic cannabis’: a primer

Executive summary:

  • Synthetic cannabinoids appeared in Europe in 2005 and the following year in New Zealand.
  • The chemicals in illicit smoking packets in 2017 are different to – and very likely more dangerous than – those on the market before the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013, and those briefly regulated under the Act.
  • The recent “bad batch” in Auckland is likely to be “bad” because of the way it’s dosed, rather than the presence of impurities or contaminants.
  • The wave of acute ED presentations and deaths in Auckland is not a nationwide problem. Even in Auckland, detox and services are seeing fewer people dependent on synthetic cannabis than they were in 2014.
  • Acute presentations have come in waves in other countries too.
  • Legalising natural cannabis now isn’t likely to be a magic wand.

More on ‘ NZ’s failure on sexual misconduct’

I have already commented on a Spinoff ‘Opinion’ by Catriona MacLennan – see Sexual misconduct issue hampered by generalised attacks. I think that sexual misconduct and sexual crimes are complex issues that require a concerted joint gender effort, and generalised blaming is unhelpful.

Another analysis of the MacLennan’s assertions from ‘NaCLedPeanuts’ at Reddit: NZ’s failure on sexual misconduct is much, much bigger than any one case:

It is difficult to put this down to anything other than them not considering sexual harassment to be important.

That’s not quite true. Sexual harassment and sexual violence is a serious issue that a lot of companies, institutions and organisations would rather not deal with when it pops up out of fear that it could spiral out of control and result in a huge amount of damage to that company, institution and organisation. It’s in the interests for sexual harassment and assault allegations to be swept under the carpet rather than aired in public, where the latter will often make uneducated, kneejerk reactions or engage in unscrupulous speculation about who did what.

We’re only at the cusp of these allegations so far, so I’d expect more damaging stuff to come forth in the future.

Sexual harassment – like rape, domestic violence, the gender pay gap and other issues – is pigeon-holed as a “women’s issue”. This means that women are regarded as being responsible for solving it.

Again, not true. The overwhelming evidence with regards to the beliefs and actions of feminists and women elsewhere within both the developed and developing worlds is that yes, it is a “women’s issue”, but that means that women are the victims, not that it’s their responsibility for them to solve it. The rhetoric (for the want of a better word) is that women are the victims, men are the perpetrators and that it’s up to men to solve these issues, or in the case of the popular rape culture theories, for apparently enlightened feminists to “teach men not to rape”.

This of course allows no room for nuanced discussions or action to address this issue.

Men are the perpetrators, but calling sexual harassment a “women’s issue” gives men a get-out-of-jail-free card.

There’s a couple of problems with this. Firstly, “men are the perpetrators” is very, to use a word favoured by the millennial left, problematic. It is problematic because it assumes that only men are perpetrators and only women are victims, something which is obviously not true. Sexual harassment and sexual violence can and does happen to anyone regardless of race, sex and sexual orientation but Western societies collectively struggle to get past the dichotomy which puts men and women as oppressors and victims respectively. This, again, leaves no room for nuanced discussions or actions that consider all victims.

Secondly it doesn’t give men a jail-free-card because, as we’re seeing with #MeToo in the United States and the wholesale embrace of misandry by Western feminism as a whole, men collectively as a “class” are essentially being blamed or held responsible for all the ills of society. As we have already seen, men elsewhere who have been accused have been suffering serious consequences despite the lack of evidence supporting a lot of these allegations. New Zealand generally has issues with recognising sexual harassment and sexual violence as a serious problem as a whole, but to suggest that this is a women’s only problem or that it’s regarded as a problem that only women are willing to solve is disingenuous.

Not a single male lawyer has spoken out about sexual harassment in the legal profession. They have – gutlessly –sat by and left it to women to speak;

Men’s opinions and voices regarding women’s issues, or at least social issues where women are perceived to be the primary victims, are a subject of discussion in of themselves. There’s no real agreement on whether or not men’s opinions or voices are welcome in these circumstances. In addition, reluctance can be assumed to exist because the opinions may be perceived as insincere, that they themselves may be implicated or accused, or simply that there’s enough moral outrage and that their opinion is simply moot.

It seems that it is only when journalists do stories about sexual harassment that employers are forced to deal with it properly;

Because of the damage that could come to employers, who usually had nothing to do with it, that could seriously affect their ability to do business. If your company has an employee commit a sexual crime against another employee, it’s in your interest to resolve that issue as quickly and as quietly as possible. Because you cannot control the damage if it goes public.

As a result of the latest stories, there will be reviews and new procedures.

Indeed. And we’ll likely see a mirroring of those procedures as implemented in places like the United States. South Korea, where #MeToo also has arrived, has seen an explosion of interest in the rule United States Vice President Mike Pence has regarding attending functions or dining alone with women, which he refuses to do. They’re applying it to business environments and that means not interacting or doing anything alone unsupervised with women.

That is because the root cause of sexual harassment is power.

Wait for it…

In our society, it is middle-class, Pākehā males who hold power.

Here it comes…

In their heart of hearts, they view women as inferior.

DING DING DING! Somehow I knew we couldn’t get through this article without someone blaming this phenomena on white males. For someone who earlier was arguing that all these social ills were women’s responsibility she seems to be more than happy blame every single white man in New Zealand for this issue.

But it doesn’t surprise me that we have this kind of idiotic social commentary being published by the likes of the Spinoff. After all misandry is en vogue at the moment. Maybe that’s why all the lawyers aren’t speaking out when they’re being blamed for everything that’s been happening?

Until we not only tackle but actually solve the power imbalance, Pākehā males will continue to believe that women’s bodies are theirs for the taking – whether it is in the workplace or elsewhere.

And how do you tackle and resolve this “power imbalance”? Give women more power! It’s almost like Ghandi was right about “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”.


‘Expert’ advice on informing victims’ parents questioned

Labour party officials defended their decision not to inform parents of the victims of the alleged sexual assaults at the Young Labour summer camp.

Stuff: Labour Party confirms sexual misconduct at camp – parents and police not told

Labour’s general secretary has defended not telling the police or parents about complaints teenagers were sexually assaulted at a summer camp last month.

Andrew Kirton, the Labour Party’s general secretary, said he stood by the way the party had handled the situation, which he said was done with a “victim-led” focus on the back of advice from a Wellington sexual violence charity.

Parents of the victims hadn’t been told about the incident because “we wanted to deal with the young people in the first instance,” Kirton said.

“We didn’t want to assume the young people involved had told their parents. They’re 16 so that had an impact on that decision and that was the advice we got.”

But the advice Kirton says he received is universal ‘best practice’.

I have received a copy of a professsional counselor’s advice on confidentially not being absolute when dealing with young people suffering trauma.

I have recently had a chance to catch up with the news regarding the sexual assault allegations perpetrated against 4 young people at the NZ Labour Party Youth Camp at Waihi, and I find myself feeling simply appalled by the role of the Counsellors in this saga.

In my professional practice opinion, gleaned from over 17,000 hours of practice, the decision by the so-called “experts” to not tell parents about what had happened to their children at the camp flies in the face of common sense and ethical decency.

This decision is also at odds with the evidence of what constitutes best practice.

There are a number of logical inconsistencies within the narrative of those who were charged with providing a safe environment for these young people – so many in fact as to risk eroding parental And caregiver confidence in the ability of the “experts” to actually make reasonable and rational decisions regarding people in crisis under their care.

This story is one of many to have emerged over time, under the mis-represented umbrella of “client confidentiality”.

Confidentiality (in any profession) is not absolute.

For Counsellors in this story to claim that confidentiality is absolute, is to incur an inconsistency with their own ethical Codes of Practice.

I know this, because I have had cause to review the Codes of Ethics for the six main Professional Associations that operate within the social service delivery space, a review that also included the Privacy Act 1993.

Every single one of the aforementioned documents accepts breach of confidentiality without client consent in four instances of disclosure: risk to self, risk to others, risk from others, and disclosure of illegal intent or action.

These breaches have particular significance for clients under the age of 17, which all of the alleged camp victims were.

Part of the informed consent process for clients in Counselling is for the Counsellor to advise clients at the beginning of the first session that some exceptions to confidentiality exist, prior to any disclosure being made.

Failure of the Counsellor to conduct an adequate informed consent process can result in the Counsellor adopting a level of responsibility for the client and families welfare that they have no right to claim in the absence of parental involvement and awareness (as has happened in this case).

Offering an illegitimate blanket of confidentiality also risks further alienating a young client from the enduring available support structures available within the family unit.

There is also a logical inconsistency in the reasons given by the experts not to tell the parents about what occurred in the camp, and it goes like this.

The experts in this saga claim that the alleged victims of the sexual assault were traumatised by the actions against them, yet it is these same traumatised minds that the experts choose to trust in terms of the victims (who are most likely fearful, confused, and in shock themselves) being able to make a reasonable decision about who to tell or not tell about what happened, because of the risk of re-traumatisation?!

This isn’t (as the experts claim) best practice – it’s rather professional abdication of a legitimate responsibility for the Counsellor to skillfully navigate the child towards their family so that the family can manage the issue at hand, with assistance from the Counsellor, if required.

The oft-repeated acclaimed rights of children and young people thus become misguided ideological nonsense when contrasted against the sanctity of the parent-child relationship which informs the right of parents to decide what is best for their children.

There is now a plethora of longitudinal population research studies that reveal that the higher order brain centres (e.g. the pre-frontal cortex, responsible for integrating sensory information and reasoning) don’t fully develop until the early-mid twenties.

To therefore assume (as the experts in this case have) that young people in crisis are capable of making a rational decision about what is best for them in the absence of parental or caregiver guidance is a classic example of present day ideology attempting to supersede historical and empirically revealed common sense.

Perhaps the lesson for the Counselling profession is this: when working with clients, and particularly younger clients, those who claim to be “helping” need to be very cautious of claiming a responsibility for a young person’s welfare or situation that is not theirs to claim.

A life may well eventually depend on the application of such professional discernment.

Labour front up over summer camp allegations

After copping a lot pf criticism over the last two days Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern and party president Nigel Haworth fronted up at a media conference today.

I think they did a good job of accepting responsibility and detailing what they would do to address the problems coming out of their one of mishandling the sexual assault allegations, and what they would do to try to minimise the chances of anything like it happening again.

They had little choice but to do this, to try to stem the damage and restore some credibility.

They have put a hold on any Young Labour events.

Interesting to see Ardern and Haworth fronting up on it today. Until now party secretary Andrew Kirton had copped most of the media attention on the issue.

RNZ: ‘We failed in our duty of care’ – Labour leadership

The Labour’s Party leadership has apologised “deeply” to the victims of sexual assault at a Young Labour summer camp, their parents and the other young people there.

At a media stand-up held this afternoon, Leader Jacinda Ardern and party president Nigel Haworth unveiled a number of measures the party was taking, two days after it emerged four 16-year-olds were sexually harassed or assaulted by a 20-year-old at a Young Labour camp.

“We understand we failed in our duty of care during the event,” said Mr Haworth. “We have failed in our duty of care in terms of support we’ve offered since then, we are very, very distressed about this.”

He wanted to “apologise deeply” to the four young people who have been so “grievously treated”, to their families and the other young people at the event.

Changes will be made to way Labour events are held, including having a “senior member of the party” at all Young Labour events, once they are resumed.

No heads would roll as a result of the handling of the Waihi incident, said Mr Haworth, including his own and that of general secretary Andrew Kirton.

I don’t see any need for resignations at this stage. Everyone can make mistakes, especially in politics and political management – and Labour and it’s officials have major mistakes here. They should learn from them. If not and mistakes like this keep happening then jobs will be in jeopardy.

Ms Ardern did not want to make detailed comments about what happened while investigations were underway. But she did confirm a Labour MP was present “generally” at the camp.

“Liz Craig was there, she had an early flight the next day so was in bed at the time this all occurred.

“I cannot say when she went to bed but she’s been very clear about the fact she wasn’t present when the sexual abuse took place”, said Ms Ardern.

She was present during some of the drinking though – there are photos of this circulating.

However she is not likely to have been responsible for organising or supervising.

She also backed Mr Kirton saying while the assaults had been handled “very, very badly” by the party, he had acknowledged there were failings.

“He is now very much a part of the party’s work to fixing the issues and the failings that we recognise.”

In statement posted to Facebook, Ms Craig said she was at the Young Labour Summer Camp at Waihi as a guest speaker on oral health issues.

“I overnighted at the camp as I was unable to get same day flights and left early the following morning.”

She attended a quiz event and went to bed early once that had finished, she said.

“While alcohol was present, I understood the organising committee had put in place measures to ensure those under the age of 18 were not drinking, and that organising committee members had been designated to oversee the evening’s events.

“I was dismayed to hear of events being raised in the media this week, as I was unaware until then that anything of this nature had occurred.”

If she left early on the Sunday morning she may have missed the eviction frrom the camp of the offender.

Senior barrister Maria Berryman has been brought in to look at how the party deals with harassment and abuse at other Labour party events.

Labour also confirmed today it had suspended all events held by its youth wing as it reviewed the sexual assault claims, one of which was now being investigated by police.

Mr Haworth said when they were reinstated they will be run by the party and not Young Labour officials. They will also be alcohol-free and a senior member of the party will be present.

Speaking to media this afternoon, Ms Ardern said she was not aware of any previous instances at events she had attended as an MP and as a member of Young Labour.

“[However], I cannot, hand on heart, rule out that this hasn’t happened before.”

Thias is far from over for Labour, but they took a big step in the right direction today.

Another police chase fatality

Deaths as a consequence of police chases (more accurately as a result of dangerous driving trying to avoid being apprehended) have been contentious. Each incident raises questions over whether police should get involved in chases at all.

More so when an innocent member of the public is a victim, as happened over the weekend.

RNZ: Three dead in Tasman police chase

Police had attempted to stop a vehicle while conducting enquiries to find a wanted person when the driver fled.

The driver crashed into another vehicle while attempting to overtake a truck, police said.

Two people in the fleeing car died along with a member of the public in another car.

Tragic for the innocent victim and their family.

Police said fleeing incidents were “extremely testing”.

“They are fast-moving, unpredictable and high pressure situations that require quick judgements.”

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the crash was a tragedy for the families of those who died, and the officers involved.

He said police were already working with the IPCA on a review of pursuit policies and practices, and he had asked for an update on progress.

The review is due to be completed later this year.

I’m sure the police have reviewed their chase procedures before.

The current review was reported last November: Police pursuits under review as officers report 300 incidents a month

New Zealand Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) have been working together since July to review pursuits.

About nine drivers a day attempted to flee police last year.

Although fleeing driver events represented just 0.1 per cent of vehicle stops each year, police said they were “challenging, dynamic and complex events”.

“Drivers who choose to undertake high-risk driving behaviour when failing to stop for police increase the risk to themselves and the public, including the risk of serious injury or fatality.”

In June, the Police Association sought harsher punishments for fleeing drivers, including taking their cars off them.

I’m not sure that harsher penalties will reduce the number of people attempting to flee the police. I doubt that they pause to consider the possible consequences – or know what the penalties might be. There are obvious risks of crashing and of dying, and that doesn’t deter those who flee.

This is an issue that there is no easy answer to.

Justice reform

Today’s ODT editorial looks at plans for justice reform – in particular, looking at ways to turn around the growth in prison population.

Justice Minister Andrew Little is embarking on a task which is sure to divide New Zealand, as most people have strong views on prisons, probation and sentences.

Mr Little, who is already developing into one of the Government’s most considered ministers, is proposing reform to the country’s criminal justice system and a rejection of “getting tough on crime”, a view long-held by many politicians and voters.

In the past, judges have been criticised for being too lenient  with  repeat offenders. Some of those on bail have gone on to commit horrific crimes even as they await trial. On those occasions public opinion swings behind law and order groups, calling on judges to impose the maximum sentences allowed. The calls for offenders to be denied bail to prevent them from reoffending grow louder.

Mr Little sees things differently and his vision has been  called the boldest political move in criminal justice since former justice minister Ralph Hannan convinced his National Party colleagues to abolish the death penalty in 1961.

There are many studies showing the benefits of a lower prison population, and not all of them are financial.

Mr Little says the rapid rise in prison numbers follows 30 years of public policy-making, and public discourse, that says New Zealand needs tougher sentences, more sentencing, more people serving longer sentences and the criminalising of more behaviour.

The major challenge is convincing the public what has been done for 30 years in criminal justice reform is not working. Violent offending is, in fact, increasing.

The pledge by Mr Little comes at a time when the Department of Corrections is facing major problems in housing the nearly 10,700 prisoners already incarcerated. There is room only for another 300.

Mr Little has taken on an admirable challenge by providing his vision for the justice system. He will need considerable strength to overcome the prejudicial views of a sceptical public.

‘ Tough on crime’, increasing the number of police officers and increasing sentences have been politically popular for some time, but they have not been notably successful.

I hope that Little includes a review of failed drug laws and considers alternatives to the current mess.

The Government’s new prison dilemma

After years of populist politics pushing up police numbers and sentences the number of people in New Zealand prisons has grown markedly.

We have just about used up all available beds, projections are for more prisoners (more than the more predicted), and there are plans to increase the number of police by another 1800.

The previous Government had planned a new prison to cope. The new Government wants to reduce prisoner numbers, so they have a dilemma – proceed with the new prison, or risk appearing soft on criminals.

Dave Armstrong: Locking away the logic and throwing away the key

Help! There are only 300 prison beds left to accommodate our booming prison population and our useless Labour Government is sitting on its hands wondering whether to build a new $1 billion prison.

That’s the present situation, if the National Party is to be believed.

The facts are that despite our crime levels staying pretty much in line with other countries over the last 30 years, our prison population has skyrocketed thanks to various “get tough” policies enacted by previous governments.

The policy of the previous government seemed to be that in order to get tough on law and order you needed to build more prisons to accommodate all the new criminals. And build them it did.

Now Davis, thanks to his predecessors, is in the unenviable position of either committing to building a $1b prison he doesn’t want or risking an accommodation crisis and alienating police, prison and justice staff – the very people he needs to help him reduce the prison population.

So, given that we don’t want violent criminals roaming the streets, how do we reduce prison numbers?

One option is that, instead of using the extra police to catch more criminals, to focus them on crime prevention.

Another is to re-evaluate what sort of people should be locked up.

A good start would be to get rid of people who aren’t violent. Thankfully, the Government wants to treat drug addiction as a health rather than criminal problem. Governments that do this, such as Portugal’s, report a decrease in drug crime. I suspect the legalisation of cannabis would greatly reduce gang-related crime.

But the current Government seems seriously averse to addressing to obvious problems with our drug laws, apart from allowing a Green referendum probably at the end of this term, that will probably be ignored by the next Government.

Half of prisoners are Māori, so let’s admit that the New Zealand penal system has failed dismally and that we need to look at new initiatives. I understand that many Pākehā may feel uncomfortable with autonomous Māori-run penal facilities, but how would they feel if such facilities were found to slash Māori offending?

The most vocal seem to be focussed on locking up and punishing, rather than addressing the causes of crime.

We know that many prisoners lack education.

We should be locking our prisoners in the classrooms of whatever they want to learn, with inspiring teachers, and throwing away the key.

A large number of prisoners are illiterate.

You don’t need qualifications to be a criminal – but prisons are effective crime universities, but associating people with bleak mainstream futures with experienced criminals looking for recruits.

Davis has had a shaky start in Parliament this term but his record on Corrections has been exemplary. I hope he listens to the top academics who have recently urged him not to build the new prison and ignores the calls from the people who are clamouring for yet another expensive hi-tech monument to our failed penal policies of the past.

But that could be tricky. They can’t just release prisoners to reduce numbers. It’s not an easy or quick thing to turn around in the timeframe needed to make decisions on new prisons.

Guilty of importing drugs, not guilty of assisting suicide

In a topical trial in Wellington Susan Austen  has been found not guilty of assisting suicide, but guilty of illegally importing drugs that can be used for suicide – but can also be used for alleviating suffering.

ODT (NZH): Euthanasia campaigner acquitted of aiding suicide

Wellington woman Susan Austen has been found not guilty of assisting suicide.

A jury delivered the verdict at the High Court in Wellington on Friday afternoon where she had been standing trial over the past two weeks.

The 67-year-old has also been found not guilty on a representative charge of importing the Class C drug pentobarbitone. However, she has been found guilty on two other charges of importing the drug.

Austen, a Lower Hutt teacher, was accused of assisting Annemarie Treadwell to take her own life in 2016, along with two other counts of importing Class C controlled drug pentobarbital, on two occasions between 2012 and 2016.

Police launched an investigation into the case after Treadwell (77) was found dead in her bedroom at a retirement village in Kilbirnie in June 2016.

The euthanasia advocate died from an overdose of pentobarbitone.

Susan Austen’s lawyer Dr Donald Stevens, QC, argued during the trial that Austen did not intend that Treadwell should commit suicide, but assisted her to obtain the pentobarbital.

“She intended that Mrs Treadwell should have control over her end of life issue – having that [drug] could have had a profound palliative effect to reduce suffering.”

Clinical psychologist Professor Glynn Owens said merely possessing “end of life” drugs, such as pentobarbital, could actually ease suffering.

“Just having the drugs reduced anxiety and can focus someone on quality of life,” the court heard.

This case highlights issues around euthanasia as David Seymour’s ‘End of Life Choice Bill’ progresses through Parliament – it passed it’s First Reading on 13 December 2017 and is now at the public consultation select Committee stage.

Florida school shooting

Another horrific mass shooting in the US, this time at a school in Florida.

Reuters: FBI was warned about alleged Florida gunman, could not locate

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was warned last year about an ominous online comment by the 19-year-old man accused of killing 17 people in his former high school but was unable to locate him, an agent said on Thursday.

Authorities said the ex-student, identified as Nikolas Cruz, walked into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, near Miami, on Wednesday and opened fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle in the second-deadliest shooting at a public school in U.S. history.

Cruz may have left warning signs on social media. A person with his name wrote a comment last year under a YouTube video that read “I‘m going to be a professional school shooter.” The man who posted the video, Ben Bennight, a Mississippi bail bondsman, was alarmed and contacted the FBI, according to a video he posted online late Wednesday.

Wednesday’s shooting was the 18th in a U.S. school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. It stirred the long-simmering U.S. debate on the right to bear arms, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

President Donald Trump addressed the shooting in a White House speech that emphasized school safety and mental health while avoiding any mention of gun policy.

“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,” Trump said at the White House. “We must actually make that difference.”

The big question is, given the number of guns and the lax gun laws in the US – how? There is no obvious answer that the NRA lobby and politicians they fund are likely to accept.

Academic researching China burgled

There may be a couple of coincidences here, but this does deserve some scrutiny.

NZ Herald:  NZ academic who made headlines researching China’s influence links break-ins to her work

A New Zealand academic who made international waves researching China’s international influence campaigns has linked a number of recent break-ins to her work.

University of Canterbury professor Anne-Marie Brady, speaking today from Christchurch to the Australian Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee in Canberra, outlined three recent events which caused her concern.

“I had a break-in in my office last December. I received a warning letter, this week, that I was about to attacked. And yesterday I had a break-in at my house,” she said.

She said this weeks’ burglary at her Upper Riccarton home was particularly suspicious.

“I had three laptops – including one used for work – stolen. And phones. [Other] valuables weren’t taken. Police are now investigating that.”

Brady also said her employer at Canterbury University had been pressured following earlier work on China’s Antarctic policy and – following a recent visit to China – sources she had talked to were subjected to visits from authorities.

“People I’ve associated with in China, just last year, were questioned by the Chinese Ministry of State Security about their association with me.”

Her outspokenness became extremely public after she published in September a “Magic Weapons” paper using New Zealand as a case study in explaining China’s extra-state exertion of influence.

It looks like real cause for concern.

Contacted for comment, the police, citing complaint privacy, declined to answer questions about Brady’s break-ins.

Questions to the Security Intelligence Service were met with a statement from director Rebecca Kitteridge, who said: “I cannot comment on individual cases”.

Standard responses in the circumstances, but I hope they are having a good look at who might have been behind the thefts.