Showing posts with label art crime statistics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art crime statistics. Show all posts

January 19, 2014

Mark Durney's "Reevaluating Art Crime's Famous Figures" published in the International Journal of Cultural Property

The International Journal of Cultural Property published "Reevaluating Art Crime's Famous Figures" by Mark Durney in its May 2013 issue.

Mark Durney, the creator of the ARCA Blog and of Art Theft Central, studied history (undergraduate) at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and archaeology (masters) at the University College of London. Noah Charney interviewed him in 2011. Mark spoke about the importance of "Collection Inventories" at ARCA's International Art Crime Conference that same year. Mark previously served as ARCA's Business and Admission's Director.

Here's the abstract:
This article seeks to demonstrate that the figures used to describe the size and scope of cultural property crimes—that it is a $6 billion illicit industry and that it ranks among the third or fourth largest criminal enterprise annually—are without statistical merit. It underscores the ambiguities inherent in the figures and uses the 2003 theft of the Duke of Buccleuch’s painting by Leonardo da Vinci, Madonna of the Yarnwinder, to illustrate the difficulties related to establishing monetary estimates for cultural property crimes. It calls for a more empirical approach to measuring the magnitude of the problem on the part of cultural property crime experts. Finally, it examines the reporting methods of the world’s largest cultural property crimes law enforcement agency, the Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale, in order to provide a model for others to follow in the effort to communicate the severity of the problem and to increase its financial, social, and political support.
The article discusses cultural property crime data, the "multibillion dollar industry", and the value of Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna of the Yarnwinder stolen in Scotland in 2003 and recovered four years later:
The example of Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna of the Yarnwinder, which was stolen in a daytime raid from Drumlanrig Castle, Scotland, in 2003 and recovered in 2007 underscores the difficulty with estimating an object’s value in order to account for its contribution to the annual illicit cultural property trade figure. For tax reasons, the Duke of Buccleuch insured the painting for only a quarter of its 1996 valuation—£15 million.27 Other estimates for the painting’s value published by the media ranged from £20 to £50 million.28 Immediately after the theft, the Buccleuch’s insurer offered a £200,000 reward, which was later increased to £1 million. In 2007, Robert Graham and John Doyle, private investigators who operated a stolen property recovery website called Stolen Stuff Reunited, were contacted by mysterious intermediaries known only as J and K, who had access to the stolen da Vinci. According to court records, the painting had been used as collateral for a £700,000 property deal and the individuals, who accepted the painting as security sought to recoup their money. Graham and Doyle contacted their solicitor Mar- shall Ronald. Ronald involved Glasgow solicitors Calum Jones and David Boyce in order to ensure the recovery dealings were legal under Scottish law. Ronald, on behalf of his clients, negotiated with the intermediaries to return the painting for £350,000. During the recovery process he notified the Buccleuch’s insurance loss adjustor, Mark Dalrymple, in order to return the painting through an informal mediation process.29 In negotiations between Dalrymple and John Craig, who was an undercover police officer posing as the Buccleuch’s representative, Ronald requested a total of £4.25 million as a reward and to cover his and his clients’ expenses.30 However, before negotiations evolved any further, police arrested Ronald, Graham, Doyle, Jones, and Boyce and charged the group with conspiring to extort £4.25 million from the Buccleuch family for the painting’s return.31 After an eight- week trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, a not-proven verdict was returned on Ronald, Graham, and Doyle. Both Jones and Boyce were found not guilty of the same charge. It was later revealed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board that £984,636 was paid to cover legal expenses of all the accused, which was a loss incurred by the Scottish taxpayer.32 

As illustrated by the case of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder, illicit art’s monetary value can be based on its insurance claim, its value as collateral in illicit transactions, or the cost of its recovery. Also, its value can be based on its estimated value. In this example, the painting’s estimated value would be difficult to determine due to the fact that it is a rare work by one of history’s most famous artists and has not been on the market since the eighteenth century when it was first acquired by the Buccleuch family. 
In the section, "New Methods of Measuring the Problem", Mr. Durney discusses Italy's Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale:
Italy’s Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale, which is the largest cultural property law enforcement unit in the world and has been very successful at policing such crimes since 1969, maintains a vast stolen cultural property database called Leonardo.45 The Carabinieri publish an annual report titled Attivita’ Operativa, which provides theft and recovery data as well as con- tributes insights into its cultural property protection efforts over the past year.46 The Carabinieri’s success at recording, publishing, and analyzing crime data is likely due to the fact that it has a uniform reporting system in place across its 14 regional units. In order to measure the unit’s performance, it compares the latest data with that from the previous year. While the annual report includes a mon- etary estimate of the total value of cultural objects recovered or seized, it supplements the data with more significant figures including those related to cultural objects recovered or seized by the Carabinieri.47 Also, the Carabinieri’s annual report incorporates the number of individuals referred to the judicial system from its actions; a detailed account of its preventive activities carried out, such as the review of businesses, markets, and fairs, as well as the inspection of the safety and security measures at museums, libraries, state archives, and archaeological sites; and a summary of its training activities with domestic and foreign law enforcement organizations.48

In addition to providing in-depth recovery data that is even segmented by re- gion, the Carabinieri’s report includes annual theft data. For example, there were 817 cultural property thefts reported in 2010 to the Carabinieri.49 The juxtaposition of the reported thefts against the number of objects recovered or seized pro- vides statistical evidence that leads one to conclude that a substantial number of thefts are underreported or unnoticed. This method of reporting better conveys the severity and scope of the illicit cultural property trade than any dollar amount could achieve.

June 12, 2012

FBI: Violent and Property Crimes Down (no separate accounting for antiquities or art theft)

FBI's National Stolen Art File: Picasso's Dance
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

A newly released Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report indicates 2011 crime rates in the United States declined from the previous year.  The report has categories for robbery and burglary; however, no numbers address art theft or looted antiquities.

The FBI's website does have a section on "Art Theft" which includes current art crime cases, the FBI's Top Ten Art Crimes, and information about the Art Crime Team.  The FBI's National Stolen Art File Search allows the public to search for stolen artworks.  For example, under paintings I searched for "Picasso" and received the title of ten pictures, some with images, such as Picasso's "Dance".  The FBI's Art Crime Team is a team of agents assigned in various offices of the federal agency.

April 8, 2012

Statistics on European Art Crime

by Dr. Ludo Block, Senior Investigator at Grant Thornton Forensic & Investigation Services Netherlands

When Poland held the European Union (EU) Presidency in the second half of 2011, Art Crime formed one of their priorities in the field of police cooperation. Among other things, this resulted in Council Conclusions on preventing and combating crime against cultural goods, which were adopted by the EU Council on 13 December 2011.

The Polish Presidency coordinated efforts in the Law Enforcement Working Group of the EU Council to collect statistics on Art Crime and the law enforcement responses on Art Crime in different EU member states. The table below shows some of the data collected, i.e. the number of offences between 2007 and 2010 as recorded in 20 of the 27 EU member states. The exact definitions of 'Art Crime offences'  of course differ between the EU member states, but the data does give some insight in the trends. Additionally, these data have not been previously collected and published together.

Number of Art Crime offences 2007-2010 in 20 European Union Member States:


Year
EU Member State

2007

2008

2009

2010
Austria
131
125
113
missing data
Belgium
229
223
252
175
Bulgaria
206
164
204
191
Cyprus
8
7
10
14
Czech Republic
370
639
1527
954
Denmark
57
62
50
82
Estonia
8
9
8
7
France
2714
2223
1751
1442
Greece
75
87
72
91
Spain
443
432
489
543
Netherlands
missing data
missing data
missing data
831
Lithuania
15
13
14
12
Latvia
46
(171 items stolen)
94
(222 items stolen)
79
(204 items stolen)
100
(318 items stolen)
Malta
9
8
9
6
Germany
2003
2265
2055
missing data
Poland
1132
776
814
804
Portugal
164
233
200
159
Slovakia
24
25
26
29
Slovenia
28
55
42
66
Italy
1085
1031
882
817
TOTAL
8747
8471
8597
6323


February 2, 2011

Noah Charney interviews Mark Durney, creator of the ARCAblog and "Art Theft Central" in his new ARTINFO column "The Secret History of Art"

In his new ARTINFO column, "The Secret History of Art," Noah Charney interviews Mark Durney who discusses how he began studying art crime and his development of the ARCA blog. You can read it here.

Durney studied History at Trinity College in Hartford, CT and earned a masters degree in cultural heritage studies at University College London's Institute of Archaeology.

Here's an excerpt from Charney's interview:
Describe some of your past work experience?

While a student at Trinity College, I pursued internships in finance, including in the financial services strategic business unit of Capgemini Consulting. Although not related to the culture heritage field, these experiences greatly enhanced my research and analytical skills as well as my business acumen. Since graduation in 2008, I have volunteered and consulted with ARCA on a number of projects, such as the development of ARCA's blog and podcasts, and the advancement of its postgraduate program International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies. Additionally, in 2009 I worked as a gallery officer at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which was the victim of an art heist in March 1990. During my studies at UCL, I completed a work placement in the UK's Museums, Libraries, and Archives Council's Cultural Property Unit. In my spare time, I maintain Art Theft Central, which discusses art theft news and provides insights into the historical trends in the field, and I moderate the Museum Security Network, which redistributes news related to the protection, preservation, and conservation of cultural heritage. 

How did you develop an interest in art crime and cultural heritage?
At Trinity College, I wrote my senior thesis on debunking the Thomas Crown Affair art heist scenario by utilizing a number of case studies from the 20th century. This was not hard to do in light of the fact that not every art thief is as sophisticated or affluent as Thomas Crown! Similarly, my master's thesis "An Examination of Art Theft, Analysis of Relevant Statistics, and Insights into the Protection of Cultural Heritage" qualifies and interprets art theft statistics provided by the London-based Art Loss Register (ALR) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in order to quantify the problem of art theft and to assess the effectiveness of the most recent strategies that have been implemented to combat the illicit art trade. 

How did you learn about ARCA and first become involved? 

I received "The Art Thief" for Christmas 2008, and after reading it began seeking opportunities that enabled me to contribute to the greater security of our collective cultural heritage. Eventually, I discovered ARCA and Noah Charney offered me voluntary (and eventually paid) opportunities.

August 24, 2010

ARCA featured in La Repubblica

ARCA was featured in an article in Italy's leading national newspaper, La Repubblica, on 23 August 2010. The article mentioned some of the statistics on art crime in Italy kept by the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. The Carabinieri TPC, as it is known, is the world's oldest and strongest art police unit, having been founded in 1969, and with a 300-plus strong force. They run the world's largest database on stolen art, containing over 3 million items, and have by far the best recovery rate of any of the world's police. In 2009 alone the Carabinieri TPC reported 13,219 artworks stolen in Italy (a significant decrease from the approximately 30,000 objects reported stolen as recently as 2001). In 2009 the TPC questioned 1220 people suspected of involvement in art crime, arrested 45, and recovered an astounding 19,043 stolen artworks.

The Carabinieri TPC were honored with the 2009 ARCA Award for Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art, and were featured in a BBC Radio Four documentary which ran earlier this summer. In that documentary the Carabinieri reiterated that art crime is linked to the drug and arms trades and even terrorism, and highlighted the fact that most art crime involves organized crime, and therefore is something to be taken very seriously indeed.