NEWS of the Day - April 4, 2012
on some NAACC / LACP issues of interest


NEWS of the Day - April 4, 2012
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 ...


From the Washington Times

Students with empty holsters protest gun bans on campus

by Valerie Richardson

On the same day that a gunman killed seven students at a small California Christian university, hundreds of college students across the nation went to class wearing empty holsters on their hips.

The message was part of Students for Concealed Carry's weeklong Empty Holster Protest, an event designed to encourage universities to allow students, faculty and administrators to carry concealed weapons on campus.

That the demonstration began on the same day as Monday's shootings was “a poignant and ironic example of the very thing we're protesting,” group spokesman David Burnett said.

“Colleges invite these shootings by guaranteeing criminals their victims will be disarmed,” Mr. Burnett said. “It takes more than signs to fend off killers.”

Police said Tuesday that the gunman, One L. Goh , 43, is a former nursing student at Oikos University who was upset about being expelled recently. The school, which has about 100 students, was founded to help Korean immigrants learn English and find careers in nursing and ministry.

Mr. Burnett said that since 2001, at least 20 such college shootings have occurred on campuses that prohibit firearms, even for students who hold concealed-carry permits. While most universities have gun bans in effect, more than 200 campuses in six states allow students to carry handguns to class “without experiencing any such rampages,” Mr. Burnett said.

The Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence opposes concealed carry on campus, arguing that allowing handguns would increase the likelihood of shootings.

“Introducing guns into a volatile environment where binge drinking and drug use are all too prevalent would dramatically increase the risks of suicide, gun thefts, and the number of gun violence victims,” said a statement on the Brady Campaign website.

California has some of the nation's tightest restrictions on concealed-carry weapons permits. It is a so-called “may issue” state, meaning that sheriffs' and police departments have discretion in whether to issue concealed-carry permits to applicants.

Thirty-eight states are “shall issue” states, which grant concealed-carry permits to any applicant who meets the legal criteria. Illinois and the District are the only two “no issue” jurisdictions, in which private citizens may not carry concealed firearms.

In practice, however, some California jurisdictions rarely grant concealed-carry permits. That includes Alameda County, where Oikos University is located, said Preston Guillory , a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who runs the California Concealed Carry website.

“When people tell me they're trying to get [a permit] in Alameda County, I tell them, ‘Good luck,' ” Mr. Guillory said. “Los Angeles County is almost impossible. In San Francisco, my understanding is that there are no [permits] out. Marin County is also very strict. Basically, everything in the Bay Area is very restrictive.”

He estimated that there are about 40,000 concealed-carry permits now valid in California, the nation's most populous state. By comparison, Florida had 843,463 licensed permit holders as of July 31, according to the 2011 Florida Concealed Weapon/Firearm Summary Report.

The result is that gunmen such as the one at Oikos know that nobody will be able to shoot back, Mr. Burnett said.

“This is a gun-free zone in a gun-free state,” he said. “And the result is that instead of being safer, you have the worst school shooting since Virginia Tech.”

While Mr. Guillory said he supports concealed carry, he said he had doubts about the policy's effectiveness in deterring campus gunmen, mainly because most students are unfamiliar with firearms. California law requires permit-holders to undergo 16 hours of training, which isn't enough to give them the experience they would need in a school-shooting emergency, he said.

Instead, he suggested that universities install panic buttons or containers of pepper spray behind glass, such as they do now with fire extinguishers.

“I'd be comfortable with an administrator or someone with more than the state-required 16 hours of training, yes,” said Mr. Guillory . “Someone carrying a gun out of fear of victimization, no Universities are a target-rich environment, but there are alternative means of dealing with this.”



From Google News


Downtown Ambassadors may help police

by James Lu

New Haven's blue and yellow-clad Downtown Ambassadors could soon help patrol neighborhoods throughout the city as part of a new crime-fighting idea discussed at a March 20 meeting of the Board of Aldermen's public safety committee.

Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen '04, who pitched the idea, said adding "ambassadors" — non-sworn individuals charged with assisting locals and tourists — could provide a cost-effective means of increasing patrols and community engagement in the policing districts beyond downtown. While Hausladen, who sits on the public safety and finance committees, has not formally proposed the measure to the Board, business owners said they would welcome the expansion of the ambassador program. Other city officials, however, said the idea should be scrutinized further before it is implemented.

"What everybody wants is the ability to walk up to an officer and interact with them as a human, and so the shorthand for that is they want walking beats, which are very expensive," Hausladen said. "But if we deploy our ambassadors on a neighborhood level, and give them appropriate training and radios to get in touch with the police dispatch, we'll have another way of reaching out and protecting the community at much lower cost."

Currently the Town Green Special Services District hires 15 Downtown Ambassadors. The ambassadors secure the city center and provide "hospitality and safety" services, said Town Green Special Services District head Win Davis.

Together, the ambassadors and New Haven Police Department officers on the downtown walking beat — rolled out in December under the supervision of district manager Lt. Rebecca Sweeney — have provided a "very visible" presence in the area, Hausladen said.

On March 8, the Chapel West Special Services District contracted to have ambassadors farther west on Chapel Street six days a week, he added.

By expanding the program out to the city's neighborhoods beyond the downtown area and equipping the ambassadors with radios connected to the police department, Hausladen said the police could enhance its relationship with the community at a relatively low cost. The Downtown Ambassadors are currently paid a starting wage of $9.75 an hour, Davis said.

Hausladen said he hoped the expansion would be considered alongside Mayor John DeStefano Jr.'s budget proposals for additional police funding.

In his March 1 budget proposal, DeStefano asked for an extra $2.7 million in the city's budget for the next fiscal year to finance NHPD Chief Dean Esserman's strategic plan for the department — which calls for 40 walking beats throughout the city's neighborhoods, fully staffs car patrols and increases personnel numbers — as he seeks to revive community policing in the Elm City.

Hausladen and Ward 29 Alderman Brian Wingate, chair of the Board's public safety committee, said they were still not entirely sure where the money for DeStefano's proposed police budget would come from. The initial expansion to 467 officers is already budgeted by the city, while DeStefano said the addition of 30 officers over the next three years would be possible thanks to the city's projected $7.5 million increase in property tax revenue and other savings in administrative expenses.

Wingate said he would also have to "take a very close look at" Hausladen's idea to ensure that it balances cost-savings with public safety.

"I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't have some reservations about the idea," Wingate said, explaining that ambassadors in the city's neighborhoods might encounter "safety issues."

Six downtown business owners interviewed Monday said they believe the ambassadors play a useful role in the area and that expanding their presence to other neighborhoods would help to improve public safety throughout the city.

"Even though the ambassadors don't really have the authority to do anything like the police do, it's good to have another set of eyes," said Rob Muller, the owner of Merwin's Art Shop on Chapel Street. "I'm not sure what it would cost to [deploy the ambassadors around the city], but it's good to have a foot presence on the ground, and it makes a big difference to give and take with the community."

While 20 NHPD officers are currently on walking beats citywide, that number will double to 40 by the end of the year under the strategic plan Esserman announced late last month.




Crime tips go high tech

by Bryan Kirk

Residents in the Tomball community now have the ability to help their city police officers fight crime through the use of a cell application that can be downloaded to an iPhone or Android smartphone.

The application, known as TipSubmit, is similar to the iWatch phone application that has been in use through the Harris County Sheriff's Office since 2011.

Police Chief Robert Hauck , a strong proponent of community policing, expressed his enthusiasm for the new TipSubmit program.

"I am actually surprised about all the information we've gotten," he said. "We've gotten information about (narcotics) sales, and made apprehensions based on tip information sent to

us, and we recently (apprehended) a sex offender who was out of compliance, all based a tip submitted to us."



From the FBI

The Grandparent Scam
Don't Let It Happen to You


You're a grandparent, and you get a phone call or an e-mail from someone who identifies himself as your grandson. “I've been arrested in another country,” he says, “and need money wired quickly to pay my bail. And oh by the way, don't tell my mom or dad because they'll only get upset!”

This is an example of what's come to be known as “the grandparent scam”— yet another fraud that preys on the elderly , this time by taking advantage of their love and concern for their grandchildren.

The grandparent scam has been around for a few years —our Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has been receiving reports about it since 2008. But the scam and scam artists have become more sophisticated. Thanks to the Internet and social networking sites, a criminal can sometimes uncover personal information about their targets, which makes the impersonations more believable. For example, the actual grandson may mention on his social networking site that he's a photographer who often travels to Mexico. When contacting the grandparents, the phony grandson will say he's calling from Mexico, where someone stole his camera equipment and passport.

Common scenarios include:

  • A grandparent receives a phone call (or sometimes an e-mail) from a “grandchild.” If it is phone call, it's often late at night or early in the morning when most people aren't thinking that clearly. Usually, the person claims to be traveling in a foreign country and has gotten into a bad situation, like being arrested for drugs, getting in a car accident, or being mugged…and needs money wired ASAP. And the caller doesn't want his or her parents told.
  • Sometimes, instead of the “grandchild” making the phone call, the criminal pretends to be an arresting police officer, a lawyer, a doctor at a hospital, or some other person. And we've also received complaints about the phony grandchild talking first and then handing the phone over to an accomplice…to further spin the fake tale.
  • We've also seen military families victimized: after perusing a soldier's social networking site, a con artist will contact the soldier's grandparents, sometimes claiming that a problem came up during military leave that requires money to address.
  • While it's commonly called the grandparent scam, criminals may also claim to be a family friend, a niece or nephew, or another family member.

What to do if you have been scammed. The financial losses in these cases—while they can be substantial for an individual, usually several thousand dollars per victim—typically don't meet the FBI's financial thresholds for opening an investigation. We recommend contacting your local authorities or state consumer protection agency if you think you've been victimized. We also suggest you file a complaint with IC3, which not only forwards complaints to the appropriate agencies, but it collates and analyzes the data—looking for common threads that link complaints and help identify the culprits.

And, our advice to avoid being victimized in the first place:

  • Resist the pressure to act quickly.
  • Try to contact your grandchild or another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate.
  • Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail….especially overseas. Wiring money is like giving cash—once you send it, you can't get it back.



From the Department of Homeland Security

Don't Be Fooled by Too Good to Be True Websites

Posted by Stop. Think. Connect.

While the tricks and jokes exchanged online are often innocent and fun, there are individuals lurking online who want to trick you into handing over your personal information.

Cybercriminals often rely on social engineering to trick people into installing malware with scams for free products, offers for pirated entertainment, or “never before seen” footage or photos that spark a fan's curiosity. Clicking on one of these links makes it easy for criminals to steal your identity and passwords.

According to a recent report , the fan craze created by the film The Hunger Games has created the perfect opportunity for devious cybercriminals to take advantage of Internet users. While clicking on a link may seem innocent enough, it can actually infect your computer, phone, or tablet without you even knowing what happened.

Protect yourself and help stop the spread of malware by following these simple tips:
  • Be extremely cautious when accessing or downloading content; if something is too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Do not trust a site if it doesn't appear legitimate or you don't know where the online content is coming from.
  • Protect your computer by installing and keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date.
If your computer has been infected , follow these important steps:
  • If you are at work and have access to an IT department, contact them immediately.
  • If you are on your home computer or a laptop, disconnect from the Internet.
  • If the anti-virus software can't locate or remove the infection, you may need to reinstall your operating system.
Visit www.us-cert.gov for more information, tips and resources on malware, spyware, and phishing.

To learn basic Internet safety tips on how to protect yourself and your family, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect .