| 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.
by Josh Dulaney
Feb 3, 2013
Bank card scam: Skimming devices target consumers at the ATM, gas pumps
How to protect yourself from skimmers
Here are some simple tips to protect yourself when using an ATM machine or swiper at a gas pump:
- Watch for people who look out of place and are hanging around.
- Always give the card entry point on the pump or ATM a wiggle to make sure any skimming equipment is not attached to the machine.
- Check for a temporary pinhole camera above the key pad.
- Always cover the key pad with your hand when entering your PIN.
- Remember to check your credit card statements regularly online for fraudulent purchases.
- Ensure your card is swiped only once at a register.
The cost of identity theft
Exact skimming numbers are unclear, but what identity theft -- of which skimming is a part -- costs is:
$18 billion -- Identity theft cost consumers, banks and businesses $18 billion in 2011.
66 percent -- of identity thefts involved existing credit or debit card accounts
Community policing builds trust in Henrico
HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Law enforcement in Eastern Henrico is working overtime to make its presence known. Henrico Police say community relations is an important factor not just to solve crimes but also to develop trust.
When it comes to keeping you safe, officers say they can't do it alone. It's why police in Eastern Henrico are working with the public to take back the neighborhood. "Right now, we're going to head into Glenwood Medical," Officer Jermaine Alley says getting out of his patrol car.
He often works around the clock. "Everyday. Monday through Friday and sometimes on the weekends," he explained.
His job is to be a visible presence in the east end. He goes from business to business, resident to resident, gathering leads and following up on tips. It's how the officer builds trust with the neighborhood he serves, the same neighborhood that continues to rally against crime like the murder of Expressway store owner Farooq Bhimidi earlier this week.
"Persons are tired of this needless and senseless violence and if anything is going to be done, it's going to take a collaborative, community effort," said Rev. Roscoe Cooper of the Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Community policing: A coactive approach in Oro Valley
It was a packed room at the Sun City Social Hall on Tuesday when Oro Valley Police Chief Daniel Sharp discussed community policing – a sign the residents of Oro Valley are not only interested in the topic, but already implementing it.
Community groups such as the Sun City Posse have received much recognition for taking ownership on crime prevention, but theirs is only one example of the initiative being taken by town residents to keep Oro Valley a safe place to live.
Sharp recognizes that, and gives much of the credit back to the residents, whom he says are the “bosses” of the police department.
“You folks are the ones who tell us how to police,” he said. “You're the ones who tell us what we should do and the expectation of service you are going to have. You're the ones that are willing to go out and patrol your streets, or saying you want police officers in our schools, or that you want a quick response time, but you're also telling us you'd really rather not be the victim of a crime.”
Community policing in Oro Valley then, is not the same as community policing in Phoenix, or Austin, or New York, added Sharp. “The community defines it,” said Sharp. “It has to be specific to the place we are policing.”
Feb 2, 2013
Twitter says hackers compromise 250K accounts
SAN FRANCISCO—Twitter confirmed Friday that it had become the latest victim in a number of high-profile cyber-attacks against media companies, saying that hackers may have gained access to information on 250,000 of its more than 200 million active users.
The social media giant said in a blog posting that earlier this week it detected attempts to gain access to its user data. It shut down one attack moments after it was detected.
But it discovered that the attackers may have stolen user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords belonging to 250,000 users. Twitter reset the pilfered passwords and sent emails advising affected users.
The online attack comes on the heels of recent hacks into the computer systems of U.S. media and technology companies, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Both American newspapers reported this week that their computer systems had been infiltrated by China-based hackers, likely to monitor media coverage the Chinese government deems important.
China has been accused of mounting a widespread, aggressive cyber-spying campaign for several years, trying to steal classified information and corporate secrets and to intimidate critics. The Chinese foreign ministry could not be reached for comment Saturday, but the Chinese government has said those accusations are baseless and that China itself is a victim of cyber-attacks.
Alabama hostage standoff enters 3rd full day
MIDLAND CITY -- More than three days after authorities said a gunman shot a school bus driver dead, grabbed a kindergartner and slipped into an underground bunker, the man showed no signs Friday of turning himself over to police.
Speaking into a 4-inch-wide ventilation pipe leading to the bunker, hostage negotiators have tried to talk the gunman, identified by neighbors as Jimmy Lee Dykes, into freeing the 5-year-old boy. One local official said the child had been crying for his parents.
Dykes, a 65-year-old retired truck driver, is accused of pulling the boy from a school bus Tuesday and killing the driver who tried to protect the 21 youngsters aboard. The gunman and the boy were holed up in a small room on his property that authorities likened to a tornado shelter.
"The three past days have not been easy on anybody," Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said late Thursday. He said authorities were communicating with the suspect. "There's no reason to believe the child has been harmed."
Seminar will discuss community, police partnership
The City of Aiken and the Department of Public Safety are asking residents and community members to come out to the “Cultivating Communities” seminar on Saturday to learn how they can help law enforcement combat crime.
The seminar is free and will begin at 9:50 a.m. on Saturday at the Smith-Hazel Recreation Center on 400 Kershaw St. It will end about 1:45 p.m.
Want to go?
|What: Cultivating Communities Seminar
When: Saturday at 9:50 a.m.
Where: Smith-Hazel Recreation Center, 400 Kershaw St.
For more information: Call 642-7780
From the FBI
The Hostage Rescue Team
Last month marked the 30th anniversary of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team (HRT)—federal law enforcement's only full-time counterterrorism unit—a highly trained group of special agents often called upon during the toughest times.
When needed, the team is prepared to deploy within four hours of notification to anywhere in the U.S. in response to terrorist incidents, hostage situations, and major criminal threats. Although the HRT has been tasked to fill a variety of roles throughout the years, its highest priority has always been to react to a major terrorist incident and to ensure the safe release of hostages.
“There is no greater mission we have than to save somebody's life,” said Kevin Cornelius, a former HRT operator who now commands the team.
Although the HRT was originally conceived to provide a tactical response to terrorism (see sidebar), the team possesses capabilities that do not exist anywhere else in civilian law enforcement. Operators are able to fast-rope out of helicopters, parachute with full mission equipment, and conduct advanced SCUBA techniques. They are trained to be superior marksmen, proficient in a variety of breaching techniques—including explosives—and experts in close-quarter tactics. Each operator's skill and training ensures that the HRT can launch assaults with speed, precision, and, if necessary, deadly force.
From the Department of Homeland Security
How Safe is Your Personal Information?
January 28 th is National Data Privacy Day, a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the importance of taking steps to protect the privacy of your personal and financial data. Increased interconnectivity increases the risk of theft, fraud, and abuse. When was the last time you reviewed the privacy settings on your social media accounts, read the fine print when purchasing an app, or talked to your family about safe online behavior?
At the end of the day, cybersecurity is really about people. If each of us commits to staying informed of cybersecurity risks and takes a few simple steps, we can all make a big difference to stay safe online.
We know it only takes a single infected computer to potentially infect thousands and perhaps millions of others. And it's our goal to make basic cybersecurity practices as reflexive as putting on a seatbelt – using antivirus software, being careful which websites you visit, not opening emails or attachments that look suspicious. These basic measures can improve both our individual and our collective safety online.
Feb 1, 2013
Alabama town prays as nightmare drags
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — Many things hold little Southern towns together. There is a common love of the region, the peace that comes with a rural life and, often, prayer.
In this town of 2,300, people drew on all of those as they endured what by last night had stretched into an unimaginable situation.
A relative newcomer to town — a man who fought in Vietnam and appeared to harbor a deep distrust of government and a grudge against every neighbor — shot and killed a bus driver, grabbed a 5-year-old boy named Ethan and then took the boy into a well-equipped bunker he spent several months digging in his yard.
By all accounts, the man whom neighbors and a sheriff's office official identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, had no connection to the boy.
“He just wanted a child for a hostage situation,” said Michael Senn, a pastor at the Midway Assembly of God Church who comforted some of the children who escaped from the bus.
Oregon man found guilty in 2010 Christmas tree-lighting terror plot
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A federal jury found an Oregon man guilty of federal terrorism charges on Thursday, rejecting the defense team's argument that Mohamed Mohamud was entrapped or induced by a yearlong FBI sting that began to target him when he was a teenager.
Mohamud was accused of leading a plot to detonate a bomb at Portland's 2010 Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. But the device he thought was a bomb was a fake, supplied by undercover FBI agents posing as members of al Qaeda.
Mohamud sat still, giving no visible reaction as Thursday's verdict was read. His attorney, Steve Sady, later said an appeal was being planned for after the scheduled May 14 sentencing.
"We are disappointed with the verdict," Sady said. "We obviously though he was entrapped."
Eye for an eye: rough justice in Mexico's Wild West
EL MEZON, Mexico (Reuters) - Wielding machetes and rusty shotguns, a motley crew in face masks escorts dozens of captives onto a basketball court to face a public "trial" for suspected ties to criminal gangs.
This is Wild West justice, Mexican-style.
Outraged at relentless extortion, kidnapping and theft as a wave of drug-related violence washes over Mexico, farmers, shopkeepers and other residents in the mountainous southern state of Guerrero are taking the law into their own hands as " community police ."
Both state and federal police as well as the military leave them to their own devices, manning checkpoints at entries to towns, but venturing no farther.
T-shirts pulled over their faces with holes cut for the eyes and nose, dozens of gunmen on Thursday flanked the tiny square in the hamlet of El Mezon, where more than 50 prisoners were paraded in public and accused of crimes from murder to rape to theft. No real evidence against them was presented.
The vigilante justice underscores a serious challenge facing new President Enrique Pena Nieto , who has vowed to shift the focus away from a head-to-head fight with drug-smuggling cartels that has killed up to 70,000 people in the past six years and to a more effective campaign against extortion and violence.
DUI rides part of community policing
Officer protocol for handling people cited for driving under the influence includes giving courtesy rides if an officer is available and citing and releasing the suspect, according to the Maricopa Police Department.
Residents questioned whether Councilman Bridger Kimball received special treatment after InMaricopa.com reported Wednesday he received a citation for a DUI on Dec. 15 and was given a ride home by an officer. InMaricopa.com Facebook readers wondered if Kimball was being treated differently because he's a councilman.
Acting Maricopa Police Chief James Hughes said in a press release Thursday that DUI policy “does not require mandatory booking in jail” and that “a majority” of people arrested for DUIs are given courtesy rides home, especially if they live within city limits.
“If we can't find somebody to come get them, or they don't have the means to get a cab, we extend that courtesy,” police spokesman Ricky Alvarado said in a phone interview. Besides being part of “community policing,” Alvarado said, “it comes down to safety.”
Jan 31, 2013
Alabama bunker hostage boy's family is 'holding on by a thread'
The family of an Alabama boy being held captive in an underground bunker by a man described as a survivalist is "holding on by a thread," a community leader said Thursday as the hostage drama stretched into a third day.
The child, identified as Ethan, 5, was kidnapped Tuesday afternoon after a man stormed a school bus and demanded the driver hand over young children. When the driver refused, the man shot and killed him and grabbed the boy, authorities said.
A disturbing picture has emerged of the suspect, whom a source close to the investigation identified to NBC News as Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65. The source said that he was a loner and survivalist who “does not trust the government” and holds “anti-American views.”
After a second night ended with no sign of progress in negotiations, Alabama state Representative Steve Clouse told TODAY: “We are all just hoping this can come to a safe end.”
The boy's family is “holding on by a thread,” he added.
Newtown calls on Connecticut to 'show America the way' on gun control
They spoke with the passion that only those who have lost so much can speak.
Six weeks since the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting claimed the lives of 20 elementary school kids and six educators, hundreds filled the local high school auditorium, nearly all raising their voices for tougher gun control laws before a state task force.
For six hours, they poured out their hearts, their losses and their tears.
"We all recognize December 14 as the day hell came to Newtown," said Nicole Hockley, mother of 6-year-old Dylan, who was one of the children killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Dave Wheeler, who also lost his son Benjamin that day, calmly told the legislative panel that the government's priorities need to be set straight.
"The liberty of any person to own a military-style assault weapon and a high-capacity magazine and keep them in their home is second to the right of my son to his life," he said, noting that the Constitution says Americans are endowed with the inalienable rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Jan 30, 2013
Man kills Alabama bus driver, holds child hostage underground
A gunman boarded a school bus in Alabama, killed the driver, took a 6-year-old boy hostage and hours later was still holding him in an underground bunker, police said.
The incident started Tuesday afternoon and continued Wednesday morning with authorities still desperately trying to free the young child.
Late in the evening Tuesday, the man had the child in some sort of underground bunker or storm shelter, and authorities were communicating with him through a PVC pipe, CNN affiliate WSFA reported.
"We will continue to work diligently through the night in an effort to bring closure to this incident as quickly as possible," the Dale County Sheriff's Department said late Tuesday.
Ohio Innocence Project helped free Prade
LONDON -- The Ohio Innocence Project has received over 6,000 letters and calls from inmates proclaiming their freedom.
Of those, this non-profit team of attorneys and law students based at the University of Cincinnati has taken just 24 cases to court for post-conviction DNA testing. And of those 24 cases, 15 convictions have been overturned by by the DNA testing. Many of the rest of the cases are still pending.
The Innocence Project started 20 years ago and came to Ohio in 2003. Staff Attorney Carrie Wood says Doug Prade's case, which they took up in 2004, is one of the longest ongoing cases for the OIP.
"Why the state spent eight years litigating it, spending tax payer money when DNA testing was going to be provided pro bono, there is no good answer to that question," Wood said.
L.A. Homeless Count Needs Your Help
Under dimly lit streetlights and the distant glare of every major U.S. bank in downtown Los Angeles, hundreds of adults wait for food in the rain on crowded, filthy streets. Some are sick, others are veterans, many are mentally ill.
Categorically, they are homeless.
L.A. County has the largest number of homeless people in the country, with the vast majority largest numbers living in Metro and South L.A. Of the more than 51,000 estimated homeless people currently residing in L.A., a staggering 40% -- nearly 20,000 homeless people -- reside on the streets or in shelters in these areas, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
From Jan. 29-31, L.A. will hold the fifth biannual Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, the largest homeless count in the nation. Within each geographic area of L.A., the census will attempt to register homeless individuals in terms of gender, race, age and marital status. It will also aim to determine the number of homeless residents living with severe mental illness, disabilities, drug dependency and/or HIV, as well as veterans, survivors of domestic abuse and homeless families.
Jan 29, 2013
Google leads fight to limit government access to email
WASHINGTON — Google Inc., which says it gets about 1,400 requests a month from U.S. authorities for users' emails and documents, is organizing an effort to press for limits on government access to digital communications.
The company has been talking to advocacy groups and companies about joining a lobbying effort to change the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, said Chris Gaither, a Google spokesman. He declined to elaborate.
"Given the realities of how people live and where things are going in the digital world, it's an important time for government to act" to update the law, David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, said in an interview. "It's a bipartisan issue and I think the momentum is going to build because citizens are expecting this."
Google officials say changes in the law are needed to prevent law enforcement from obtaining certain emails and other content without search warrants, and to give documents stored on cloud services the same legal protections as paper documents stored in a desk drawer. Cloud services, which didn't exist when the privacy law was passed, let users store and process data on remote servers via the Internet.
Downtown Kalamazoo businesses and individuals pledge $73,000 to fund community policing officer
Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. officials are working on a contract with city public safety officials to cover funding for the downtown community policing officer thanks to contributions from Kalamazoo organizations and individuals.
Steve Deisler, president of DKI, on Monday told the Downtown Development Authority the organization has been able to raise $73,000 in private funding to keep the downtown community policing officer on the streets. If the contract becomes official, the city will likely pay the rest, Deisler said.
“We are going to get the same coverage as we've gotten in the past,” Deisler said Monday.
Deisler would not name the community partners who have pledged the funds. Downtown officials said last month $55,000 of the estimated $94,000 necessary to fund the community policing officer's salary and benefits for 2013 had been raised.
The DDA in October voted to ask the Kalamazoo City Commission to pay for the officer out of the city's general fund because the DDA could no longer afford to fund CPO Chris Hancox's position. The DDA had funded the position for six years.
Aiken community meeting to discuss public safety
Only a few spots remain for Aiken's Safe Communities meeting Saturday.
The free session, planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will provide information to assist in fighting crime at a police and resident level. It is open to Aiken residents, neighborhood associations, businesses, churches and community service providers.
The event is part of the Safer Community Initiative. The meeting focuses on the community's role in the initiative. Public Safety will discuss how to make communities safer, organizing neighborhood associations and community watches, community policing models and the future of the Safer Community Initiative.
The day will conclude with a Community Cafe, which is modeled after the World Cafe methodology for holding large group dialogue. During the activity, each table will be assigned a topic of education, community safety or economic development, and will give a summary of its discussion to help in building ideas.
The meeting will be held at Smith Hazel Recreation Center, 400 Kershaw St. and will include lunch. To reserve a spot, call (803) 642-7780 by today.
Jan 28, 2013
Bipartisan group of 8 senators reach deal on immigration changes
A bipartisan group of eight senators plans to announce they have agreed on a set of principles for comprehensive immigration reform.
The deal, which will be announced at a news conference Monday afternoon, covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country.
The eight senators expected to endorse the new principles are Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
According to documents released early Monday, the senators will call for accomplishing four main goals:
-- Creating a path to citizenship for the estimated illegal immigrants already in the U.S., contingent upon securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas.
-- Reforming the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.
-- Creating an effective employment verification system to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants.
-- Allowing more low-skill workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they couldn't recruit a U.S. citizen; and establishing an agricultural worker program.
Wis. sheriff urges residents to get gun training
A sheriff who released a radio ad urging Milwaukee-area residents to learn to handle firearms so they can defend themselves while waiting for police said Friday that law enforcement cutbacks have changed the way police can respond to crime.
In the 30-second commercial, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. says personal safety is no longer a spectator sport.
"I need you in the game," he says.
"With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option," he adds. "You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. ... Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there."
The ad has generated sharp criticism from other area officials and anti-violence advocates. The president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, Roy Felber, said it sounds like a call to vigilantism.
"That doesn't sound too smart," Felber said. "People have the right to defend themselves, but they don't have the right to take the law into their own hands."
Safety program gives away alarms to Ohio State students
Danielle Zuercher doesn't always feel safe off campus.
“I haven't heard of anything happening on my street, but a few streets away, I've heard of break-ins, so it would be nice for that to never happen to me,” said the third-year in industrial and systems engineering.Crime reports in the off-campus area often leave students like Zuercher feeling uneasy about their safety.
One program operated by Neighborhood Services and Collaboration, a branch of the Office of Student Life, aims to give off-campus students a tool to guard themselves against crime by providing them with free window and door alarms.
“Students can basically come to our office with their BuckID in Room 3106 of the (Ohio) Union and they can get as many free alarms as they would like,” said Dilnavaz Cama , the department manager of Neighborhood Services and Collaboration.
The two-piece alarms attach to any door or window and go off when the pieces are separated if the door or window is opened. The alarms can be set to make two different alarm sounds or turned off via a small switch on the side.
Police reach out to community for crime communication
HARLINGEN — Seven recent vehicle burglaries in a west side Harlingen neighborhood have caught the attention of police.
The number may not sound alarming, but for police it marks a trend. That's because a year ago, during the same December to January time frame, the neighborhood had only one vehicle burglary.
“If we don't step in, chances are we are going to get a lot more before the 31st” of January, police Commander Myriam Anderson said.
Police are now using town hall meetings to reach out to communities throughout the city in an effort to stop such trends.
The first of those forums will be held Feb. 1 in that same west side neighborhood, just west of Coakley Middle School. The so-designated “District 65” is located just north of San Benito, west of Commerce Street and south of Rangerville Road.