NEWS of the Week - Dec 31, 2012, to Jan 6, 2013
on some NAACC / LACP issues of interest


NEWS of the Week 
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ... We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...

NOTE: To see full stories either click on the Daily links or on the URL provided below each article.


Jan 6, 2013



Police work, community involvement lead to murder-free Aurora in 2012

AURORA — Father David Engbarth slipped the heavy bullet-proof vest over his chest, then put his long robes on. Finally, he stepped out into St. Nicholas Church. It was time to start the funeral Mass.

This was the second funeral Engbarth officiated in two days for gang members shot in Aurora. Police were stationed outside the church. More officers were standing inside. Word had spread: there was a contract out on the life of the mild-mannered priest who spoke out against violence

Of all the terrible days in Aurora, this was the low point for Engbarth. Not because he was in danger, but because the city seemed out of control. Every time he turned around, there were shootings and murders. Every day, there was a loss of hope. And even in the house of God, there was no sanctuary.

And so Father Engbarth dreamed of a new Aurora.

“Lord,” he prayed, “this is my greatest prayer for Aurora: that someday we can have a year with no homicide.” Even for a man of great faith, this seemed like a fantasy.




Letter to the Editor

How about turning police into teachers?

To the editor:

Perhaps a rational discussion between law enforcement and educational personnel is in order.

I believe safety in schools can be addressed in a meaningful way. How about having a law enforcement representative(s) become a member of a school's teaching staff? We can address the concern of safety by teaching it, strengthening a culture where children learn early on that police officers are helpful, knowledgeable, approachable and provide a needed service besides instruction. You'd have an armed, trained, fully equipped professional with a uniform and a marked squad car in front of the school and, most importantly, you'd establish a cultural change that impacts all concerned. They could have access to weapons they are trained to use (if needed) besides their sidearm, radio contact for assistance and a presence that speaks for itself.

Simply having an armed guard does not change a culture in a positive manner, but rather adds to the perception of fear-based solutions. Having law enforcement personnel partner with educational personnel sets up an entirely different perception and likely easier acceptance even among the liberal segment of society.

Much like community policing has demonstrated a more positive and accepting view of police presence, so, too, would a police officer teaching classes and offering students insights, education, support and guidance. We could begin to teach future generations about how law enforcement is an integral part of our society, along with specific courses that clearly would add to the curriculum and help children view police with a respect not seen for some time - with safety issues addressed from Day One.




North Caolina

A murder statistic to applaud and improve upon

Policing, trends help Charlotte hit 24-year low in homicides

In 2012, fewer people were murdered in Charlotte than in any year since 1978, almost a quarter century ago. It's an improvement to applaud, and it certainly comes in part from successful police strategies, but it also provides a window into how our city can do even better.

The numbers: 52 people were killed in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, down from 75 in 2007 and 122 in 1993. Cities across the country, with some exceptions, have experienced similar declines as the nationwide homicide rate has dropped to its lowest point in 50 years. What's behind the drop? Experts say several factors are likely contributors, UNC Charlotte criminology professor Robert Brame told the editorial board Friday.

High on the list is a five-fold increase in incarcerations since the 1970s. “A lot of dangerous people are locked up in prison,” Brame said. Another possibility: The population has gotten older – the U.S. median age of 37 years is seven years older than it was 30 years ago – and homicide offenders and victims are disproportionately younger. Also, trauma care has improved so dramatically that a homicide from 40 years ago is sometimes just an aggravated assault today.

While those factors might explain the long-term homicide trend, the more recent and dramatic drop might also be due to changes in policing strategy and technology. In Charlotte and other cities, police have placed an emphasis on disrupting gangs and taking habitual criminals off the streets, and officials have become more adept users of technology to monitor high-crime areas and learn predictive crime patterns.




Third prayer walk held to stop violence

About 100 people marched for peace and against violence during a Stop the Violence Prayer Walk Saturday in north Lawton that started at a church and ended in the parking lot of a bar that was the scene of a recent homicide.

The march began at the Mind of Christ Church, located at Northwest 13th and Cache Road. It covered an area of several blocks, followed Northwest 13th Street from the church and then turned east on Taylor Avenue toward Fort Sill Boulevard and then proceeded to the parking lot of the Dew Drop Inn, 1804 Fort Sill Boulevard. The bar was the location where 24-year-old Kenneth Young was killed Sept. 29, 2012.

Upon gathering at the church, participants formed a circle, gathered hands and held an initial prayer led by church pastor Rick Gettens before lining up for the several-block march.

"I want to thank all of you for coming out," said Sam Moyd, pastor of Zoe Christian Center. "We're not just marching to be marching, we're marching to build up the kingdom of God to stop the violence in this city."



Jan 5, 2013


Los Angeles

LAPD, sheriff's deputies begin patrols at L.A. schools on Monday

Police officers and sheriff's deputies who have simply cruised by elementary and middle schools in the past will add campus visits to their daily patrols beginning Monday, the first day that LAUSD students will be back in class since the Dec. 14 school shootings in Connecticut.

Officials from more than a dozen law enforcement agencies were finalizing plans Friday for how to deploy patrol officers, detectives and administrators for walk-and-talk stops at nearly 600 Los Angeles Unified campuses. Dozens of charters and private schools have asked for police visits, as well.

"At some point during the day, we'll be at every elementary and middle school and private school that has asked," said Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andy Smith. "They'll park and walk around and talk to kids and administrators and look at the school's safety plan.

"We want to reassure parents that we're doing everything we can to keep their children safe."

With LAUSD's 350-member police force already stationed at the district's 100-plus high schools, officials with the LAPD, the county Sheriff's Department and the dozen other law enforcement agencies that serve the sprawling district said they would assign officers to visit K-8 campuses.




California court overturns rape conviction because victim was unmarried, urge law change

LOS ANGELES -- California appellate judges urged legislators to update an arcane 19th century law, as the panel reversed the rape conviction of a man who authorities say pretended to be a sleeping woman's boyfriend before initiating intercourse.

The Los Angeles-based appeals court said that the 1872 measure doesn't give single women the same protections as their married counterparts in certain rape cases.

Julio Morales had been convicted and sentenced to three years in state prison, found guilty of entering a woman's bedroom late one night once her boyfriend had gone home and initiating sexual intercourse while she was asleep, after a night of drinking.

But a panel of judges overturned the trial court's conviction and remanded it for retrial, in a decision posted this week.

The victim said her boyfriend was in the room when she fell asleep, and they'd decided against having sex that night because he didn't have a condom and he had to be somewhere early the next day.



New Jersey

Hamilton man arrested in plot with 'cannibal cop'

HAMILTON — A township man has been accused of arranging for New York's alleged “cannibal cop” to kidnap a woman, stuff her into a suitcase and deliver her to the Hamilton resident so he could rape and kill her.

Michael Vanhise, 23, was arrested yesterday by FBI agents, who said he negotiated the woman's abduction in a series of e-mails with Gilberto Valle, 28, a New York City police officer who was arrested in October on charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

“Michael Vanhise engaged in conduct that reads like a script for a bad horror film, but fortunately, neither he nor his co-conspirators were able to act out the twisted conspiracies described in the complaint in real-life,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “His arrest ... is the second in this bone-chilling case, but we are not finished.”

Valle was accused of plotting to kidnap, torture, “slow cook” and eat women he tracked down, partly through alleged illegal use of law enforcement databases.

Vanhise was charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping but not cannibalism. The alleged e-mail negotiations occurred in February and March of last year, officials said.




With grants, police want to improve quality of life in 3 neighborhoods

Armed with two federal grants totaling $825,000, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said Friday that his department is targeting three city neighborhoods in which officers would work with community organizations "to create environments for families to pursue the American dream."

Flynn told members of the Common Council's Public Safety Committee that, in addition to improving data that measures crime and disorder in the city, he wants to continue to work to improve city neighborhoods with a form of community policing.

The most recent grant totals $600,000 and will target the Washington Park neighborhood. The money will be used for police overtime, the hiring of three neighborhood organizers and money for research.

"It is a neighborhood that is at risk but has potential," Flynn said. He said he hopes the grant money will increase police effectiveness and build relationships in the neighborhood.




Shootings involving police on the upswing in Florida

Fatal officer-involved shootings are becoming more common in Florida.

From 2000-06 in Florida, there was an average of 20 instances per year in which a police officer killed a felon. In 2007, that number jumped up to 60 and never returned to its previous level, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which investigates all officer-involved killings in the state. The deadliest year since 2000 was 2011 — there were 70 felons killed by officers. Those numbers account only for incidents where the officer was deemed justified in killing the suspect. Statistics for 2012 were not available.

Such a distinct increase is not evident in Southwest Florida, where the number of felons killed each year is too small to show much of a trend. A shootout with a Lee County deputy left 21-year-old Joseph Blake Powell dead Friday morning in south Fort Myers — it was the second fatal shooting in a month that involved a Lee County deputy. There were at least four such shootings in 2012. There was one in 2011, three in 2010, three in 2009, and none in 2008 or 2007, according to FDLE reports.

“It most definitely is getting more dangerous for police out there,” said Walter Zalisko, a retired police chief who works as a consultant for the Fort Myers-based Police Management Consultants International. “Especially here in Florida. Everybody has a gun, whether you're possessing it legally or illegally.”

Nationally, officer-involved shootings dropped from 414 in 2009, to 387 in 2010, according to the FBI unified crime report. More recent numbers were not available.




Baltimore police place focus on building faith-based ties

Activities such as "prayer walks" and outreach events expected to help department better reach the community

When drug dealers and prostitutes camped outside Eastern United Methodist Church last fall, the Rev. Lena Marie Dennis met with Baltimore police Maj. Melvin Russell and other faith leaders and came up with a unique plan.

The congregation would march around the church seven times, carrying banners, praying and proclaiming that they were taking back the block. It worked, Dennis said. Soon the dealers and hookers moved on.

On Friday, Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and Russell announced an effort to build faith-based partnerships across the city, which organizers hope will embolden worshipers to reach out beyond their walls. Police believe the initiative will also help improve relationships in communities that sometimes see them as a foreign and threatening presence.

"Most of our churches have a tremendous amount of credibility," Batts said. The commissioner recently promoted Russell to lieutenant colonel, in large part on the reputation he built by working with ministers, rabbis and priests as the leader of the Eastern District. He's heading a newly created unit responsible for working with spiritual organizations, businesses and former inmates re-entering society.




How Do I Protect Myself?

The UMOIS Latina Resource Center helps protect and assist abused women who may fear for their lives.

Dayana Garcia , her little sister, Brenda , and their cousin, Claudia , used to sneak up the back staircase of their parents' home barefoot, making sure not to wake up any adults.

“We would go dancing, stay out past (curfew) and have to sneak back in,” Brenda Garcia says with a smile. “Those stairs were so loud we would hold our high-heels trying not to laugh.”

Dayana, 24, who loved to dance, was brutally killed, allegedly by her estranged husband, on Jan. 3, 2012 in her backyard. Almost one year later, Jose Luis Discua-Bados remains at-large while Dayana's family is still desperately searching for justice and healing.

In 2011, 40 people lost their lives from domestic violence in Wisconsin – the lowest total in six years (2006), according to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Yet there have been a number of high-profile deaths this year in Milwaukee. For women on Milwaukee's South Side, UMOS's Latina Resource Center stands ready to serve any woman experiencing domestic abuse. The center reached out to the family of Dayana Garcia within a week of the tragedy.



Jan 4, 2013



Have you seen Panorama City's 'Red Car Flasher' suspect?

PANORAMA CITY -- Los Angeles police detectives have released this second sketch of a man they have dubbed the Red Car Flasher. He has exposed his naked body to teenage Hispanic girls near Arleta and Panorama City middle and high schools over a dozen times since August 2011.

Police released a second sketch today of a man they call the "Red Car Flasher," who has exposed himself to young women and teenage girls more than a dozen times.

Many of the flashing crimes occurred near Panorama City and Arleta middle and high schools. Detectives said they hope to make an arrest before school resumes after the holiday break.

The sketch released today depicts a fair-skinned man with a receding hairline, believed by police to be between 25 and 40 years old. He may have a scar on one cheek, detectives said.

"Two victims in separate incidents have given us descriptions that have resulted in two nearly identical sketches," according to LAPD Detective Luz Montero of the department's Mission station. "We think the suspect lives in the area he prowls."



Supporting First Responders to Children's Trauma

As the reports from the tragic school shooting in Newton, Conn., poured in, I listened non-stop and like others, tried to make sense of a senseless act of cruelty and horror. I was relieved to learn that my young nieces in Newtown were safe. I was devastated for those who lost their loved ones. As a first responder in the field of child abuse for over two decades, my heart also went out to those police, EMT's, teachers, firemen and medical personnel who had to deal with the horrific murder scene of innocent children and adults, their grieving families and the panicked surviving students. Later that evening, the news reported that those first responders were also receiving counseling services. I was relieved; the psychological and emotional impact of trauma on the "first responders" should never be under-estimated.

Victimization has a "ripple effect," spreading out to all those with whom those who have intimate contact. The impact of exposure to others' pain and suffering must be realized. As a result of indirect exposure to the specific traumatic occurrence via close contact with the survivor, individuals may experience similar symptoms as the survivor. This process has been called Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS).

Secondary Traumatic Stress is a broad term for characterizing the symptoms and behaviors that develop as professionals provide services to children and adults that have been traumatized or are suffering. It is a normal response that professionals experience who are exposed to painful, traumatic material. These practitioners may be working as firemen, police officers, social workers, EMT's, child protective service workers, therapists, caseworkers, attorneys or physicians; in a wide range of fields, such as child protection, domestic violence prevention, law enforcement, homeless shelter services or mental and medical health care. They are constantly "taking in" others pain and in the worse cases, like Newtown, CT, horrific scenes of carnage. Research has shown that exposure to children's trauma is more provocative.




St. George Police Citizens' Academy involves public, community-oriented policing

ST. GEORGE - The St. George Police Department is encouraging public involvement and cooperation with law enforcement through its “Community-Oriented Policing” program and the “Citizens' Academy.”

Community-oriented policing reflects a new philosophy law enforcement agencies across the country are adopting a to help fight crime. It encourages cooperation between police and citizens to address public safety issues. By offering citizens the opportunity to become more directly involved with their police, both groups are able to contribute to enhancing the quality of life and reducing crime in their community.

The St. George Police Department has adopted this philosophy and is offering the community a program designed to provide an in-depth look at its functions. The 18th session of the Citizens' Academy consists of a series of classroom sessions and demonstrations designed to introduce each participant to the abilities the department has and the limitations officers face.

The academy will be held from Feb. 21 to Apr. 16, with training sessions held every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Potential candidates must be at least 18 unless approved by the chief of police, have no criminal record and be able to attend the sessions. Applications can be picked up in person at the St. George Police Department office (265 North 200 East) or downloaded from the City of St. George website.

The goal of the Community-Oriented Policing program and the Citizens' Academy is to foster a better relationship between the citizens of St. George and their police department. By achieving this, the department will be able to improve communication, obtain citizen input and support and encourage more meaningful involvement on both parts.



From ICE

123 sexually exploited children identified by HSI during 'Operation Sunflower'

Operation commemorates anniversary of an 11-year-old girl rescued in Kansas; reflects the agency's growing focus on victim-centered investigations

WASHINGTON — One hundred twenty-three victims of child sexual exploitation were identified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents during an international operation aimed at rescuing victims and targeting individuals who own, trade and produce images of child pornography. Of that number, 44 children were directly rescued from their abusers and 79 were identified as either being exploited by others outside of their home or are now adults who were victimized as children.

HSI launched Operation Sunflower in November 2012 to commemorate the one-year anniversary in which the identification of a sunflower-shaped highway road sign led to the rescue of an 11-year-old girl in Kansas. Operation Sunflower was executed through the first week of December 2012, but victim identification and rescue efforts continue under HSI's Operation Predator.

"The sexual abuse of young children, often at the hands of people they trust, is a particular wrong," said ICE Director John Morton. "Whenever our investigations reveal the production and distribution of new child pornography online, we will do everything we can to rescue the victim and prosecute the abuser even if takes us years or around the world to do it. A relentless fight against child exploitation is the only answer."

HSI and partner law enforcement agencies arrested 245 individuals during the operation, which took place Nov. 1 to Dec. 7. Of the 123 victims, 110 were identified in 19 U.S. states.



From the FBI

The Year in Review -- A Look at FBI Cases, Part 2

With our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities, the FBI worked thousands of investigations during 2012, from cyber crimes to economic espionage and multi-million-dollar fraud schemes. As the year draws to a close, we take a look back at some of 2012's most significant cases.

Part 1 focused on terrorism. This segment highlights some of the year's top cases from the FBI's other investigative priorities:

Insider trading

California gang takedown

Economic espionage

Cyber hackers charged

Anchorage man indicted for murder

Financial fraudster receives 110-year sentence

Nationwide sweep recovers child victims of prostitution

International cyber takedown

Health care fraud

Russian military procurement network

The Year in Review, Part 1: Significant terrorism-related cases of 2012



Jan 3, 2013


Al-Jazeera buys Current TV from Al Gore

LOS ANGELES—Al-Jazeera, the Pan-Arab news channel that struggled to win space on American cable television, has acquired Current TV, boosting its reach in the U.S. nearly ninefold to about 40 million homes. With a focus on U.S. news, it plans to rebrand the left-leaning news network that cofounder Al Gore couldn't make relevant.

The former vice president confirmed the sale Wednesday, saying in a statement that Al-Jazeera shares Current TV's mission "to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling."

The acquisition lifts Al-Jazeera's reach beyond a few large U.S. metropolitan areas including New York and Washington, where about 4.7 million homes can now watch Al-Jazeera English.

Al-Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, plans to gradually transform Current into a network called Al-Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists. More than half of the content will be U.S. news and the network will have its headquarters in New York, spokesman Stan Collender said.



New York

Newspaper That Put Gun Permit Map Online Hires Armed Guards

A newspaper based in White Plains that drew nationwide anger after publishing the names and addresses of handgun permit holders last month is being guarded by armed security personnel at two of its offices, the publisher said Wednesday.

The increased security comes as the newspaper, The Journal News, has promised to forge ahead with plans to expand its interactive map of permit holders to include a third county in the suburbs of New York City, and local officials there have vowed to block the records' release.

The armed guards — hired from local private security companies — have been stationed in The Journal News's headquarters and in a satellite office in West Nyack, N.Y., since last week, said Janet Hasson, the president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group.

“The safety of my staff is my top priority,” Ms. Hasson said in a telephone interview.

The newspaper prompted a national discussion and a torrent of rage online after it published an interactive map of handgun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties on its Web site last month. The Journal News had gathered the information from public records after the school shooting in nearby Newtown, Conn.




Holyoke homicide-free last year with Mayor Alex Morse, Police Chief James Neiswanger set to praise efforts

HOLYOKE - The city emerged from 2012 without a reported homicide for the first time in at least a quarter century, Mayor Alex B. Morse said Wednesday.

Morse is scheduled to discuss the zero homicide rate at a press conference with Police Chief James M. Neiswanger Thursday at 10 a.m. at City Hall.

"To go an entire year without a homicide, the first year in over 25 years, is a monumental achievement that I am very proud of. I commend Chief Neiswanger and all the men and women at the Holyoke Police Department for keeping Holyoke safe," Morse said.

Holyoke had four homicides in 2011, four the year before that, three in 2009 and two each in 2008, 2007 and 2006.




Chesterfield Police Expand SRO Program to Elementary, Private Schools

The move is in response to concerns raised by school administrators about school security following the deadly massacre in Newtown, Conn., last month.

The Chesterfield Police Department is rolling out a program to expand its presence at area schools in response to the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

The new program will re-assign an officer to be a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) at all 12 of the area's public and private elementary schools and at a private high school. Individual officers were already present at Chesterfield's two middle and two high schools, so the new initiative means all educational institutions will be covered.

"The purpose of this is to provide some additional safety and security," said Chesterfield Police Capt. Steven Lewis. "The officer will work with the schools and see what their needs are."

Lewis said the new program is effectively immediately and is in response to the concerns about security expressed by local school officials following the deadly massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary where an armed gunman forced his way into the school.



Rhode Island

N. Providence police to patrol schools for safety

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — North Providence police officers have been asked to walk through schools on their patrols each day as a safety precaution.

The Providence Journal reports ( ) that Sgt. Diana Perez, who heads the North Providence Police Department's community policing unit, says the policy was put in place last month following a shooting rampage that killed 20 children and six educators in a Connecticut grade school.

Perez said Wednesday that the once-a-day school visits will help patrol officers learn the floor plans of the schools on their beats and reassure children.

She says police are trying to make sure the children know their school is safe and that police hope to build relationships with the youngsters.



Jan 2, 2013



San Jose police avert possible mass killing

San Jose police on New Year's Day averted a potential lethal situation by safely arresting a mentally disturbed, naked man armed with a samurai-like sword and a loaded assault rifle.

"This could have gone really, really bad," said Officer Albert Morales, a police spokesman, of the incident that began about 8 a.m. "Things could have turned out very differently."

At one point, 32 officers had descended on the scene at Southwest Expressway and Bascom Avenue, cordoning off the area and trying to negotiate for nearly two hours with the distraught man. He repeatedly yelled, "You're going to have to kill me," Morales said.

By 11 a.m., police had arrested Coco Bennett, 29. He was taken to the jail ward at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for injuries he suffered after he leaped over a fence and fell, Morales said.




Anaheim chief: Police must work with community after unrest

ANAHEIM – With a tumultuous year coming to an end, Anaheim police Chief John Welter is focusing on "enhancing" trust in the police within the impoverished neighborhoods during the coming year and moving past the unrest that brought national attention to the city in 2012.

After starting the year with the arrest of a man suspected in a series of high-profile killings of homeless men, Anaheim police spent much of 2012 dealing with continued increases in violent and gang crime, a series of police shootings that roiled the community and heated protests that culminated in a near-riot in the city's downtown.

Welter recently sat down to discuss how he has responded to the community concerns over the past few months, his hopes for increasing the size of a department that has seen the departure of more than 50 officers over the past five years and his efforts to put more officers on the streets.

Q: Looking back at the past year, what lessons have you taken away?

A: We are starting to come out of the economic downturn, which is big. This year, for the first year in three years, we have seen an increase in staffing, at least budget-wise. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to keep up with attrition, because we are going to lose 12 to 15 people by the end of this year. Crime is unfortunately on its way back up, which is a challenge for policing, especially when we have lost cops and resources. The unrest over the summer was troubling, but at the same time, it provided an opportunity for us to reassess how much we are doing in some of these neighborhoods and what we are doing in those neighborhoods.




2012 Murder Rate Shows Steady Increase

(Memphis) The murder rate in the city of Memphis has continued to climb for three consecutive years, with a total of 157 people killed in 2012. That amounts to one murder every two to three days of the year.

Of those 157, 16 of them are ruled “justifiable,” where someone may have acted in self-defense and will therefore not be charged with a crime.

That number has decreased from the 28 justifiable homicides in 2011.

Taking the justifiable homicides out of the mix, the murder rate increased more than 18 percent from 2011 to 2012. If one includes the justifiable homicide, the overall rate increased by nearly seven percent.

Similar increases happened from 2010 to 2011.





Ridge communities' interlocal agreement to fight gangs, drugs is the right approach

Nearly seven years after the Good Government initiative outlined a study and recommendations for cost savings and consolidation of government resources among the region's municipalities, it is encouraging to see the spirit of the study at play in 2013.

The Ridge Road communities of Munster, Highland and Griffith recently took a very sensible step in the combining of resources to battle violent crime. The newly minted interlocal agreement, just signed by the Munster Town Council last week, pledges that the communities will share data and police manpower in targeting concentrations of increasing gang and drug activity along the corridor.

With recent accounts of gun violence and drugs — including shootings at the Mansards in Griffith — this is a proactive step that has the potential for cost savings and increased crime fighting in the same stroke.

Positive steps are being taken at the community level as well. Griffith's interim police chief, for instance, recently sent a message that drug dealing in his town will not be ignored, with a pre-dawn raid of an alleged dealer's apartment. That raid included a cooperative use of resources between Griffith police, the Lake Station police dog unit and a regional SWAT team.



Jan 1, 2013


Obama wants gun violence measures passed in 2013

WASHINGTON - Recalling the shooting rampage that killed 20 first graders as the worst day of his presidency, President Barack Obama pledged to put his "full weight" behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence.

Obama voiced skepticism about the National Rifle Association's proposal to put armed guards in schools following the Dec. 14 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The president made his comments Saturday in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Instead, the president vowed to rally the American people around an agenda to limit gun violence, adding that he still supports increased background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity bullet magazines. He left no doubt it will be one of his top priorities next year. "It is not enough for us to say, `This is too hard so we're not going to try,"' Obama said.

"I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can't have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids," he added. "And, yes, it's going to be hard." The president added that he's ready to meet with Republicans and Democrats, anyone with a stake in the issue.



Oakland, California

From Mayor Quan's Newsletter: On the police reorganization

This has been a tough year for crime in Oakland with many challenges for the OPD -- the Oikos shooting, Occupy, resolving a plan to complete the federal goals for constitutional policing, and the increasing crim e. While we worked towards resolution on these many issues, the levels of crime are unacceptable and remain frustratingly high.

During the year we were able to get more resources from federal agents, the CHP, and soon, Alameda County Sheriffs...and we are working together with all law enforcement agencies in the region at greater levels of coordination than ever before. We have doubled police academies thanks to increasing city revenues.

In the interim, my Administration will have to do better with the resources we have , while we wait for the new officers and new programs to take effect. During this year we will be taking more officers off of desk jobs and putting them on the streets. With Council approval in January, we will hire more civilians to work in the field to free up officers to be proactive against crime and decrease response time.

This will allow us to go back to better levels of neighborhood policing and geographic accountability for the OPD . Because of the shortage of police , we are currently organized into two command areas. We are going back to 5 areas, each with captains and lieutenants and command staff accountable for crime and activities in their areas. We will start in East Oakland with two new areas and phase in. This will better support and will require the continued support of our Neighborhood Watch groups and Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils. We will expand organizing neighborhood and merchant alert groups.



Dec 31, 2012



Assailant in fatigue stabs two 13-year-olds at South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach

A bearded man in a green and brown fatigue-style jacket stabbed two 13-year-olds in their chests at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach for no apparent reason, detectives said Sunday as they tried to identify him. Police called the attack "unprovoked" and said they want to catch the man as fast as possible.

"The motive is unknown," Redondo Beach police Sgt. Shawn Freeman said. "His mental state, why he did it, we have no idea. They are sitting there and, I don't know if they know what direction he came from. The guy comes up and stabs them."

The teens, a boy and a girl visiting the mall with their family but window shopping on their own, each underwent several hours of surgery and were placed Sunday in the intensive care unit at a local hospital.

Their identities weren't released, but police said they were South Bay residents. The pair remained unconscious following the 7:20 p.m. Saturday attack until Sunday, when they were able to provide limited information to Redondo Beach detectives.




Violence, gangs scar Chicago community in 2012

CHICAGO — It was February, the middle of lunch hour on a busy South Side street. The gunman approached his victim in a White Castle parking lot, shot him in the head, then fled down an alley.

The next month, one block away, also on West 79th Street: Two men in hooded sweatshirts opened fire at the Bishop Golden convenience store. They killed one young man and wounded five others, including a nephew of basketball superstar Dwyane Wade. The shooters got away in a silver SUV.

In July, a Saturday night, two men were walking on 79th when they were approached by a man who killed one and injured the other. This shooting resulted in a quick arrest; police had a witness, and a security camera caught the shooting. These three violent snapshots of a single Chicago street are not exceptional. It's been a bloody year in the nation's third-largest city.

A spike in murders and shootings – much of it gang-related – shocked Chicagoans, spurred new crime-fighting strategies and left indelible images: Mayor Rahm Emanuel voicing outrage about gang crossfire that killed a 7-year-old named Heaven selling candy in her front yard. Panicked mourners scrambling as shots ring out on the church steps at a funeral for a reputed gang leader. Girls wearing red high school basketball uniforms, filing by the casket of a 16-year-old teammate shot on her porch.

A handful of neighborhoods were especially hard hit, among them Auburn-Gresham; the police district's 43 homicides (as of Dec. 21) ranked highest in the city, and represent an increase of about 20 percent over 2011. The outbreak, fueled partly by feuds among rival factions of Chicago's largest gang, the Gangster Disciples, rippled along 79th street, the main commercial drag. That single corridor offers a window into the wider mayhem that claimed lives, shattered families and left authorities scrambling for answers.




6 Ps Plan: Kiran Bedi's weapon for crimes against women

When the country is grappling with thousands of sexual assault cases against women reported daily, trust Kiran Bedi to come up with one of the most holistic plans to combat these crimes. The former IPS officer and India Against Corruption member presented her 6Ps plan – Crime Prevention Plan within police, people (society), prosecution, politician, prison and press (news media and film industry) – on CNN-IBN .

Bedi was confident that if this plan of hers is implemented, police administration can be improved and crime rate can be reduced to a considerable extent.

She said, “6Ps means crime prevention plan within police, within people because community has a very major role to play. So the people, the police, the prosecution; then comes the role of the politician, the prisons and the media, which is the press and press also includes the films, and then comes the jail. So it is the 6Ps and a J.”

Kiran Bedi also stressed on the need to devise a community plan because the plan would fail without the support of the community. “You can't have sons of mothers, who have no control over their boys. So you need social, primary education at the family level, “she added.

Though there is widespread skepticism over the role of the police, Bedi said, that can only be solved if there is community policing irrespective of beat policing. Community policing – a system in which police officers of an area kept in touch with all the members and activities of that area, was a system that Kiran Bedi had put into place when she was a top cop in Delhi.

She stressed the fact that the police must build relationships with families in the neighbourhood for effective policing. She said, “You see, when a beat officer goes, he is walking his beat, he is building relationships. He is also preventing crimes because he is collecting intelligence. He is also visiting past criminals and doing rehabilitation.”