My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘threats’

Strange news of the day: Man threatens Census worker with bulldozer

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

This news comes from Alaska.

TPM breaks down attacks on Census Workers

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Interesting article from TPM Muckraker:

There were 409 threats or assaults on Census workers making home visits between May and last Friday, 24 of which were animal attacks and 13 of which involved shots fired, according to data given to TPMmuckraker by the Census Bureau.

The Washington Post had a good story Sunday looking at the hazards of Census work. The paper noted that this year has seen more than double the 181 incidents reported last time around, in 2000.

Census Spokeswoman Shelly Lowe tells us in an email that the jump “is due in part to an increase in households and a more rigorous tracking system.”

Here’s the breakdown of the 409 incidents so far:

  • In 10 cases the Census worker was robbed, carjacked, or held against his or her will.
  • In 13 cases shots were fired.
  • There were 24 animal attacks or threats.
  • There were 101 verbal assaults or threats.
  • In 132 cases a weapon was pulled or use of a weapon was threatened.

There were 88 physical assaults.

Crew leader shot and killed in #Baltimore

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

This is a tragedy. H/t to Carol Morello of The Washington Post for the following:

A Baltimore man who was working for the Census Bureau has died after being shot while dropping off a co-worker — the first killing of a Census worker on the job this year.

Spencer Williams, 22, died Friday after being shot June 7, according to Baltimore police. He was found inside his car, resting in the median near an intersection, and had multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Williams was a crew leader responsible for a group of census takers doing follow-up visits to the homes of people who did not mail in their questionnaire by April. Census Bureau spokesman Steven J. Jost said Williams was returning home after driving a co-worker home at the end of the day and was considered to still be on the job. Police and Census officials said the shooting is not believed to be related to the agency’s work.

Since follow-up house calls began in late April, there have been 252 incidents in which Census workers have been harmed or threatened, including 11 times when shots were fired at them and 86 times when they were threatened with such weapons as guns, axes and crossbows.

Let’s hope the person who did this is caught and brought to justice.

Today’s strange news…this time from Pittsburgh, PA

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

(For the full story from thepittsburghchannel.com click HERE)

BURRELL TWP., Pa. — State police have charged an Indiana County man with assault, saying he attacked two teenage census workers.

According to police reports, 18-year-old Austin Kwisnek and a female juvenile were collecting data for the U.S. Census when Timothy Cowan chased them from his property on Hebenthal Lane in Burrell Township.

Video: Watch Marcie Cipriani’s Report

Police said Cowan, 43, proceeded to follow the workers’ vehicle down the road after they left.

At one point, the workers’ vehicle went off the side of the road and Cowan went up to Kwisnek’s window and grabbed him by the shirt and neck, police said. According to the police report, Cowan then threatened to punch the girl in the face and used “vulgar” language toward her.

Social networking is bad! (says the Census Bureau)

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
An anonymous Census employee sent SRM a tip about a few flyers the Bureau sent along with their paychecks (finally). One flyer covered driving safety (and please, everyone, do take care while driving). The other covered the ethics of social networking, and unfortunately it came to the conclusion that it’s bad. Sorry Morse, time to close up shop! (Note: That was a joke.)
Email excerpt:
It’s funny how it is implied that criticizing and talking to outsiders about the incompetence of the census machinery and brass is punishable with jail and fines, when in reality, it only applies to title 13 of USC in regard to respondent information and personally identifiable information.  The census own manuals have a section devoted to the rights and protections afforded to whistleblowers.  They also imply that because we are paid government employees, that it is unethical for us to publicly humiliate and or expose the ineptness of our employers.  Nice try.  There is no law preventing anyone from writing in their personal capacity, but it is implied that it is wrong, unethical, and just not cool.
And from the reminder itself (no emphasis added):
CONFIDENTIALITY AND ETHICS REMINDER
Social Networking and Census Employment
As personal blogging, tweeting, social networking sites have become more common and popular, it
is not unusual for Federal employees to have an opportunity to write about their work and their
employer in a public forum.  Please be aware you cannot disclose any nonpublic information that
is protected by statute.  You also cannot receive payments for writing about Census programs or
operations or about assignments you have been given as a Census employee.  In addition, you
must be careful to ensure that there is no appearance created that you are writing on behalf of the
Bureau of the Census, the Department of Commerce, or the United States Government when you
are writing in your personal capacity.
[...]
These restrictions on writing and publications are in addition to the life-time oath you took to
uphold the confidentiality of census information.  Any wrongful disclosure of confidential census
information subjects you to a fine up to $250,000, imprisonment up to five years, or both.

Fear and Loathing in Pahrump Valley: Enumerators face off against people with guns and vicious dogs.

Monday, April 20th, 2009

censusbag2-lo

As hundreds of thousands of Census Bureau employees are now going door to door to verify the addresses of more than 300 million Americans, few people realize the physical risks that these field workers face. MyTwoCensus has called upon the Census Bureau to release statistics that detail how many Census Bureau employees have been injured/killed while on the job thus far in 2010 as well as during he 2000 headcount. While employees of the Postal Service ostensibly also face similar problems to Census Bureau field workers on a daily basis, 2010 Census employees lack the significant training and field experience necessary to deal with hostile individuals/animals/situations.

Also, as MyTwoCensus has previously reported, since Census Bureau employees lack uniforms and formal photo ID badges, they can be more easily targeted by individuals who suspect that someone is trespassing on their property. The Pahrump Valley Times, which serves Nye County in Nevada, reports:

Tony Longo, local Census Bureau supervisor, said crews don’t normally have to knock on doors to verify addresses unless they have a question over additional living quarters on the property.

Longo said a couple of census workers reported dog bites. There was a scary incident at one residence, he said.

“One group was standing in the street at a house on an acre lot and it was tree-lined. He was just trying to verify if there was another unit in the back and the lady sprung out of the trees with a .45 and then her son came behind her with a shotgun,” Longo said. “They were really cool once he explained who he was.”