| 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.
August 5, 2012
From Google News
Yarmouth Police host National Night Out Aug. 7
YARMOUTH — The Yarmouth Police Department will host its second annual National Night Out Against Crime from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 7.
The event is part of the concept of community policing the department has adopted.
This event will take place on the grounds of the Mattacheese Middle School adjacent to Yarmouth Police Headquarters and is part of a 29 th annual National Night Out crime and drug prevention event.
The event will offer all visitors free food, home and personal safety equipment displays, K9 unit demonstration, a tour of the mobile police command center. A police motorcycle, all-terrain vehicles and the new police cruisers will be on hand.
August 4, 2012
From Google News
Fireworks, hot dogs all part of Night Out
V'land's annual fight-crime event set for Tuesday
VINELAND — Years ago, the city's police department asked the public to join it in symbolically fighting crime one night each year by turning on their front lights while they sat on their porch.
These days, Vineland police are more focused on coaxing people out of their homes. For a fourth year, the department is hosting a community celebration to observe National Night Out.
This year, the “Going Away Party” for neighborhood crime and drug abuse will be held 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday on the grounds of the Chestnut Assembly of God, 2554 E. Chestnut Ave.
“It's a visible sign of our commitment to fostering relationships between the police department and our citizens so we can all address the issues that affect our community in a more efficient manner,” Police Chief Timothy Codispoti said.
Community policing, which involves officers out in neighborhoods talking with residents, is an every day priority for the local police department, Codispoti said, noting National Night Out is yet another way to promote it.
The National Night Out celebration is an opportunity to bring together people who might not ordinarily cross paths with local police officers, he said.
National Night Out events set in Mason City
Mason City is joining forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the "Annual National Night Out" crime and drug prevention event on Tue, Aug. 7.
A free, fun-packed family fun night is planned from 5 to 8 p.m. at East Park by the Band Shell.
National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, and co-sponsored locally by the Community Policing Advisory Board, and the Mason City Police Department. It is supported in part by Target Stores and the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Awareness.
National Night Out is an annual event that involves all segments of the community to build a healthier, safe community; generate support for anti-crime and anti-drug programs; and strengthen community relations with the police.
In addition to complimentary hot dogs, chips, and pop, there will be drawings for prizes, face painting, Half Pint the Clown, inflatable bouncers, a Kid Power Pedal Tractor Pull and demonstrations and displays from various community service organizations. Music will be provided by DJ Brian Carlson.
Steven Greenhut: Police shooting policies need rethinking
It's also time to bring California in line with other states and open police shooting records and misconduct allegation to greater public oversight.
While sitting in a restaurant in Philadelphia's Chinatown during my first visit here in more than a decade, I watched TV news reports of violent protests erupting in normally placid Anaheim after two fatal police shootings the prior weekend. It was shocking. The footage of riot-clad police tussling with and firing nonlethal weapons at protesters brought back bad memories of growing up in the Philly area in the 1960s and 1970s.
These days, Philadelphia is a surprisingly calm place, but back then, when tough-guy Mayor (and former police commissioner) Frank Rizzo ruled the roost, there were frequent confrontations. The worst incident actually came in 1985, after Rizzo had left office, when city cops dropped a bomb on a row house occupied by a black liberation group. Eleven people died, including five children. Those were dark times, but it seems as Philly has learned some lessons that have eluded many California police forces.
While Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait is, thankfully, no Frank Rizzo, he tried his hand at tough-guy rhetoric at a news conference after Tuesday's violence: "Vandalism, arson and other forms of violent protest will simply not be tolerated in our city. We don't expect last night's situation to be repeated but if it should be, the police response will be the same: swift and appropriate."
Reader Rebuttal (Kerry Condon):
I feel compelled to correct some of the factual errors Steven Greenhut makes in his column "Police shooting policies need rethinking" [Commentary, July 29]. Comparing the 1964 Philadelphia race riots to Anaheim's protesters is a complete overexaggeration. The Philadelphia race riots erupted during the civil-rights movement, a time of severe racial tensions between the city of Philadelphia and its black community. Rumors spread through North Philadelphia that a black pregnant women was beaten to death by two white officers – a blatant mischaracterization of a dispute between a black woman and two Philadelphia police officers – one white and one black. A total of 341 people were injured, hundreds of stores were damaged, and more than 700 arrests were made. The facts of Philadelphia and Anaheim do not even remotely compare. Yet, Greenhut leaves little room for the truth in his column between the misinformation and rumors.
Greenhut writes that Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait's comments that vandalism, arson and other forms of violent protest would be met with a swift and appropriate response was nothing more than "tough guy rhetoric." As president of the Anaheim Police Association, I was present at the July 24 meeting. The police officers assigned to City Hall and the surrounding areas acted as professional law enforcement officers they are. They maintained a calm demeanor the entire evening despite taking the brunt of the protesters' verbal assaults for hours as they stood and protected everyone, including the protesters themselves. Police resisted taking any action until a small group of protesters became aggressive and violent. Blocking city streets, throwing rocks and other objects at the police, damaging businesses in the area by breaking store windows, setting fires and looting is what prompted police action, not the hurling of insults. A swift and appropriate response by police was necessary and appropriate.
From the Department of Justice
Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the United Neighborhood Centers of America Neighborhood Revitalization Conference
Thank you. I'm very pleased to be here. I'd like to thank the leadership and staff of the United Neighborhood Centers of America for the invitation to speak today – and for the outstanding service you and your affiliates provide to America's communities. For more than a century, UNCA has worked to improve conditions in distressed neighborhoods and restore opportunity to those who live there.
By bringing together community stakeholders with businesses, philanthropies, academia, and government, this organization has helped to lay the foundation for economic success and social transformation in cities across the country. Your work has truly made a difference.
Today, with more than 10 million Americans living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty and far too many of them looking for work, struggling to pay rent, or striving desperately to escape crime, your mission, your resolve, your leadership and ingenuity has never been more critical. That's why it's inspiring to see so many folks here committed to helping communities break the cycle of poverty and displacement. You are the ones who work day in and day out to help these neighborhoods overcome obstacles and realize their potential.
And I want you to know that those of us in the federal government -- and particularly those of us at the Justice Department -- we want to work with you to create safe and healthy neighborhoods; to build communities that are sources of pride and strength for our fellow Americans living and working in urban pockets throughout our country.
August 3, 2012
Senate Fails to Approve Cybersecurity Legislation
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate failed Thursday to pass legislation to protect the U.S. electrical grid, water supplies and other critical industries from cyberattack and electronic espionage, despite dire warnings from top national security officials about the potential for devastating assaults on American computer networks.
Both Republicans and Democrats said they are committed to approving a final bill when they return in September from a monthlong recess. But deep divisions between the two parties over the right approach to cybersecurity will make it difficult to forge a compromise. And there is very little time left to get a deal done with presidential and congressional elections coming up in November.
The White House and Senate Democrats blamed Republicans for blocking what they called the only comprehensive piece of cybersecurity legislation that would have given the federal government and businesses the tools they need to deal with vulnerabilities in the nation's critical infrastructure. More than 80 percent of the infrastructure, which includes financial networks, transportation systems and chemical plants, are owned and operated by the private sector.
"The politics of obstructionism, driven by special interest groups seeking to avoid accountability, prevented Congress from passing legislation to better protect our nation from potentially catastrophic cyber-attacks," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
Failure to approve the Senate's Cybersecurity Act of 2012 before the August congressional recess amounted to a rejection of advice from senior national security officials, including Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who have been calling for Congress to act now on comprehensive legislation to deal with cyberthreats.
A night to meet the neighbors
The Superior Police Department in its community policing efforts has joined forces with neighborhoods across the community to bring National Night Out to the area Tuesday.
Individuals and groups across Superior are putting together gatherings to promote neighborhood unity and partnerships with police. This year Superior is slated to have 10 different events spanning most of the city. This is a big jump from the three events last year, according to Community Policing Officer Bonnie Beste.
One such event runs 6:30-8 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, 2022 E. Second St., right across from Culver's Restaurant. “We just thought it would be a good opportunity,” said Vicki Garro, a member of the church council.
The free gathering will include root beer floats, yard and kids' games as well as music provided by Zion's praise band. Participants are asked to bring their own lawn chairs. The get-together is a chance for people to meet their neighbors and feel connected with the community, Garro said.
“In this day and age, so many people are afraid of their neighbors,” she said. If they meet and get to know each other better, they may find somebody they can count on. Everyone is welcome to drop by the event. “Just come and get to know everybody and have a good time,” Garro said.
National Night Out is a crime prevention tool that promotes police and community partnerships. It is America's night out against crime and to gain neighborhood unity in the fight against crime. This is the 29th year of National Night Out in America. More than 37.1 million people will be joining forces on this day across the country.
“If you received a flyer in your door for an event in your neighborhood please make every effort to attend and show your support for crime prevention,” Beste wrote in a news release.
Build a positive relationship with your police department
Even if you didn't have a chance to attend the Bedford Police Department's first Bicycle Rodeo last weekend, we hope you've taken the time to build a positive relationship with your local PD. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, communities that have strong relationships with their police departments have safer communities. Whether, it's through volunteering at the police department, community policing programs or police outreach – such as the Bicycle Rodeo – it's important for local police departments and communities to work together.
In fact, the National Crime Prevention Council found that such partnerships have benefits for both officers and community members. Departments with strong community relationships tend to be more effective, find their jobs safer and easier and are treated with more respect. In turn, communities have more trust in the police department and have safer communities, most notably for children and seniors.
In fact, Sir Robert Peel – who established the Metropolitan Police Force for London and is credited with creating the concept of a modern police force – created a series of principles of policing that encouraged police to maintain a strong relationship with the public.
We think the Bicycle Rodeo is a great way to maintain that relationship. This free event provided safety tips for cyclists of all ages and allowed many in the community to meet their local police officers. Even better, this family-friendly event allowed children to get to know their local officers in a positive way and have some fun, to boot.
So, if you attended the Bicycle Rodeo, good. If you didn't, mark your calendars for next year. Rumor has it the police department will be reaching out to the community again.
August 2, 2012
From Google News
Psychiatrist's warning about Holmes ignored when he dropped out
The psychiatrist who was treating Colorado movie massacre suspect James Holmes warned a University of Colorado threat-assessment team that he could be a danger, but no action was taken because he soon dropped out of school, the Denver Post reported.
Dr. Lynne Fenton, who has been identified in court documents as Holmes' psychiatrist, told the Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment (BETA) team in June she was concerned about Holmes' behavior, the newspaper reported. On July 20, Holmes, a grad student at the school's neuroscience program, allegedly killed 12 and injured 58 when he opened fire at a midnight showing of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo.
The information was first reported late Wednesday by Denver's KMGH-TV, 7News. The station, citing unnamed sources, reported that CU-Denver officials did not contact Aurora police before the July 20 massacre.
FoxNews.com first reported that Holmes mailed a chilling notebook to Fenton in which he detailed his plans, but the psychiatrist never received the package. It is not clear what disturbing signs in Holmes she saw that prompted her to warn the school.
"I believe, until it's been demonstrated otherwise, that our people did what they should have done," said University Chancellor Don Elliman.
Calif. professor's e-mail reveals shooting plot
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Rainer Reinscheid was into his second bottle of wine when he wrote a chilling e-mail titled, "a good plan," detailing violent revenge on the people he blamed for his teen son's suicide.
This booking photo shows Rainer Reinscheid, 48, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, who was arrested July 24 and charged with numerous felony arson charges.
His son hanged himself after being disciplined at high school in March, sending the University of California, Irvine, professor into a downward spiral that authorities said led to setting fires and venting his anger in graphic e-mails describing plans for a mass murder, sexual assaults and his own death.
Reinscheid fantasized about buying a dozen machine guns, killing 200 University High School students, raping a school counselor and killing the assistant principal who disciplined his 14-year-old son, Claas Stubbe.
"I will make him cry and beg, but I will not give him a chance, just like he did to Claas," Reinscheid wrote. "I will make him die, slowly, surely. Next I will set fire to Uni High and try to burn down as much as I can, there should be nothing left that gives them a reason to continue their miserable school."
Maryland man accused of mass shooting plot charged with misdemeanor
The Crofton man taken into custody last week by authorities -- who found him to be heavily armed and said he might have been planning a Colorado-style mass shooting -- was charged Wednesday with one count of misdemeanor telephone misuse.
Authorities said Neil Prescott, 28, called himself "a joker" and threatened to shoot up his workplace. But Maryland prosecutors on Wednesday announced a single misdemeanor charge. Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said Prescott is facing a maximum sentence of three years behind bars and a $500 fine.
Prescott will be served an arrest warrant after he is released from the hospital. On Friday, he had surrendered to authorities and was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center for a mental-health evaluation, and officials said Prescott has been voluntarily committed to the hospital.
Alsobrooks said that there is no law in Maryland that makes it illegal to make a generalized threat over the phone. The section of Maryland Code that Prescott is accused of violating comes closest, she said.
"I believe that this is insufficient, especially in light of Mr. Prescott's alleged threatening statements," Alsobrooks said. "He ought to be facing felony charges."
Oakland police chief addresses critiques, reshuffles officers
OAKLAND -- Faced with rising crime and a shrinking force, Oakland's embattled police department is speeding ahead with a plan to scale back its community policing program to free up more officers to fight violent crime.
The department on Saturday began reassigning problem-solving community police officers to crime reduction teams enabling the department to put more resources in higher-crime parts of the city.
Chief Howard Jordan announced the reassignment at a Wednesday news conference during which he was asked about the recent flurry of criticism besieging the department.
Over the past six weeks Oakland police have been stung by critical reports of its crime lab, radio system, and handling of the first Occupy protest.
On Monday, a federal monitor questioned the department's willingness to comply with court-ordered reforms that later this year could result in a federal takeover of the department. And Wednesday, the City Auditor released a report finding that police misspent nearly $2 million over five years on technology systems it never used or rarely used.
Indian Rocks Beach considers hiring community deputy
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The city of Indian Rocks Beach could soon be introducing a new community policing deputy if the city commission decides the $89,000 price tag is worth it.
A community policing deputy is different than a regular patrol deputy in that he or she will have time to get involved in community activities and will have time to find out specific needs and complaints and deal with them.
In recent months some residents have complained to the commission about the way they are treated by regular patrol deputies. To some, the introduction of a community policing deputy will help solve those issues. Commissioner Phil Hanna believes as much. He said time is a factor with the deputies trying to do regular patrol work.
“They are out there keeping us safe and making sure we are getting adequate police protection. But we desperately need a community officer too, someone who will bring another type of police work to our city,” he said.
The job of the community policing deputy will be more than that, according to Mayor R.B. Johnson.
“We've had some issues from time to time and this type of officer could help with those issues,” he said. “A community officer would have a good knowledge and depth about the city, its quirks and neighborhood patterns. The regular patrol officers have their duties; the community officer would have more time to focus.”
Teaneck to join cities nationwide for 'America's Night Out Against Crime'
The Teaneck Police Department is hosting this year's Teaneck's National Night Out Tuesday, Aug. 7, according to Chief Robert A. Wilson and the Community Policing Squad of the Teaneck Police Department.
Teaneck Police encourages everyone to come out and join their neighbors in partaking in this crime and drug prevention event. National Night Out involves more than 15,325 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world. In all over 37.1 million people are expected to participate in this year's 29th Annual National Night Out.
National Night Out is designed to:
1. Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
2. Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime efforts;
3. Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
4. Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Anaheim Mayor Calls for Healing After Police Shootings
Last week in Anaheim was one of protests, anger and dissension as the city dealt with a sudden spike in police-related shootings.
This week, said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, is one of healing and reconciliation.
“We've just been reacting this past week,” Tait told Fox News Los Angeles. “It all caught us off guard.”
The shooting of an unarmed Latino man, Manuel Diaz, 25, last week sparked days of demonstrations, culminating in violent protests in the streets of Anaheim. Protesters were angry over a rise in police-related shootings, nearly all of them fatal and involving Latino men.
Police say they are responding to a rise in violence stemming from growing number of violent gangs making their way into the city.
From the Department of Justice
Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the COPS Community Policing Conference
Thank you Barney and thank you everyone for taking part in this event. I want to begin by bringing to you greetings from Attorney General Eric Holder. The Attorney General – along with the Department of Justice as a whole – applauds you and your efforts to not only promote, but actively advance, the practice of policing.
I appreciate the various agencies and backgrounds here today – from counterparts within the federal government, to chiefs and sheriffs and their rank and file, plus practitioners, analysts and researchers from numerous institutions and organizations. It's that collaborative effort that will drive what Barney mentioned earlier – an evolution of policing.
And I am extremely honored to be presenting the L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award today. To honor an individual's accomplishments by recognizing the most impactful endeavors and community policing success is a noble gesture. I am humbled to be a part of such a thoughtful ceremony.
Let me also acknowledge the men and women who work with sincerity and diligence to coordinate the programs designed to make your efforts easier. Thank you to the staff at COPS for your efforts in coordinating this event. And thank you to officials from our component agencies also in attendance.
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole Speaks at the COPS Community Policing Conference
Thank you, Barney, for your kind words and for inviting me to join you today. I am personally grateful, and the Department is fortunate for the stewardship that you and Mary Lou provide over this critical constituency and set of issues. I applaud your consistent, diligent support for law enforcement. The resources you've made available – from grant programs and technical assistance, to educational publications and informational forums – evidences your commitment to offering dynamic and effective leadership in the field of policing.
I'd also like to thank each of you attending today. Public safety is a collaborative effort. The topics discussed here center around issues that have been brought to the Justice Department by those in the field, like you. We organize this conference to address these issues, with the goal of creating a productive dialogue and, together, determining next steps to implement to bring about necessary changes in policing and crime fighting.
Our main objective at the Department is collaboration. You will hear a great deal of discussion over the next two days about partnerships, and today I'd like to talk to you specifically about effective ways we can work together to address crime. As chiefs and sheriffs, officers and deputies, educators and researchers, you see firsthand the devastating impact crime can have not only on those who have been personally victimized, but also on their families and the communities around them.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary Speaks at the COPS Community Policing Conference
Thank you, Barney. I'm so very pleased to be here and honored to join the Deputy Attorney General.
I want to begin by thanking Barney and his staff for all they do. The COPS Office has been a vital partner of the Office of Justice Programs, and I appreciate that they've remained committed to working together to meet the needs of law enforcement. I'd also like to say that, as a former Deputy Director of the COPS Office, I understand the important contributions the office has made to policing over the years, and I'm so pleased to see that work continue under Barney's outstanding leadership. The COPS Office has made – and continues to make – a real difference.
Let me also commend all of you, our nation's law enforcement leaders and officers and our many other partners in public safety. Thanks to you and your counterparts across the country, our nation continues to see crime rates fall. Considering that you continue to face significant budget and staffing challenges, your success in keeping our communities safe is remarkable.
August 1, 2012
From the L.A. Daily News
Body found in Burbank is that of missing FBI agent Stephen Ivens
The body of FBI Agent Stephen Ivens, who had been missing for more than two months, was discovered Monday night in Burbank.
Two hikers walking in the foothills above the city smelled an odor about 8 p.m., then found badly decomposed human remains in an area of heavy brush, Burbank police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said.
A gun later confirmed to be Ivens' service weapon was found with the body, which was behind a Catholic school about a mile and a half from Ivens' home. Ryburn said he did not know whether the gun had been fired.
Investigators secured the scene overnight, and on Tuesday morning the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office and the FBI went to the scene. Ivens' family was notified, Ryburn said, and the body was removed by midday.
The Coroner's Office had no information late Tuesday on a cause of death.
Asked about the state of the body, Ryburn said, "How long has it been since he's been missing? Let's just leave it at that."
Ivens had been missing since early May. He left home with his FBI-issued weapon.
From Google News
Needle Found in Sandwich on Air Canada Flight
An Air Canada passenger found what appears to be a sewing needle inside a pre-prepared sandwich while on a flight Monday from Victoria, British Columbia, to Toronto, officials said.
A full investigation is now underway, according to the airline. Air Canada has contacted the caterers who prepare the meals, but has refused to release the name of the company.
The airline is cooperating with police investigating the matter, Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Safety is a top priority, he said, adding that Air Canada is working with the food company to ensure that heightened security measures are put in place.
The incident comes less than two weeks after two passengers suffered minor injuries from needles found in the meat of sandwiches served aboard four Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States.
Dutch police officer Robert van Kapel told The Associated Press that Dutch investigators have been interrogating witnesses who had access to the Delta sandwiches. Kapel said it is too early to rule out a copycat or link, which he said is being investigated.
National Night Out Returns to Livingston
The jam packed event occurs on August 7.
August 7 is National Night Out and the Livingston Community Policing Unit is planning a big celebration for the town's residents.
National Night out is an annual event that is meant for community police to raise awareness about crime. It has been held annually since 1984.
Livingston's National Night Out celebration will be held at the Memorial Oval in front of Livingston High School. The festivities start at 5:30 and run all night long.
The Community Policing Unit spilled all the exclusive details of the event with Patch:
Local, county and federal agencies will converge to bring special activities for the children. Inflatables will be set up, trackless trains will be driving around and a movie will be shown later in the night. The Livingston Fire Department will also be setting up a "hose shower," so kids should bring their bathing suits.
Bay City Police asking residents to participate in National Night Out
BAY CITY, MI — The Bay City Police Department is asking area residents to join its officers in a nationwide effort to generate a sense of community and prevent crime. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 7, the department is participating in the 29th Annual National Night Out, an event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.
The effort is occurring in more than 15,110 communities in all 50 states, U.S. territories, military bases and Canadian cities. This year, Target is serving as a national corporate sponsor. Police are asking citizens throughout Bay City to lock their doors, turn on their outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and officers.
The department is hosting games, exhibits, youth activities, a chili cook-off, a $2 swim and more at the Community Center in Veterans Memorial Park. "It's important because it helps organize and rally the community ... to take a stance against crime and it sends a positive message to have positive interactions with police and the city," said Officer Dan Anderson.
This will be the second year the department has hosted the event in Veterans Memorial Park, it having previously been held in Birney Park. Last year's event had about 500 people in attendance, Anderson said.
National Night Out is intended to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back, police have said.
July 31, 2012
From the L.A. Daily News
Pedestrians distracted by phones, texts, music, video games stumble into danger
WASHINGTON - A young man talking on a cellphone meanders along the edge of a lonely train platform at night. Suddenly he stumbles, loses his balance and pitches over the side, landing head first on the tracks.
Fortunately there were no trains approaching the Philadelphia-area station at that moment, because it took the man several minutes to recover enough to climb out of danger. But the incident, captured last year by a security camera and provided to The Associated Press, underscores the risks of what government officials and safety experts say is a growing problem: distracted walking.
On city streets, in suburban parking lots and in shopping centers, there is usually someone strolling while talking on a phone, texting with his head down, listening to music, or playing a video game. The problem isn't as widely discussed as distracted driving, but the danger is real.
Reports of injuries to distracted walkers treated at hospital emergency rooms have more than quadrupled in the past seven years and are almost certainly underreported. There has been a spike in pedestrians killed and injured in traffic accidents, but there is no reliable data on how many were distracted by electronics.
"We are where we were with cellphone use in cars 10 years or so ago. We knew it was a problem, but we didn't have the data," said Jonathan Akins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices.
James Holmes faces 142 counts, including 24 of first-degree murder
In pressing the case against James Eagan Holmes, the man accused of one of the worst mass shootings in American history, Arapahoe County prosecutors made it clear Monday they were leaving little to chance.
Holmes, 24, was formally charged with a total of 142 criminal counts — including two separate allegations of murder for each of the 12 people who died in the July 20 attack at the Century Aurora 16.
The two murder charges are based on different legal theories.
Prosecutors similarly filed two counts of attempted murder for each of the 58 people who were injured in the attack, carried out during an early morning premiere of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."
All told, Holmes faces 141 felonies: 24 counts of first-degree murder, 116 counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of an explosive device. Holmes, 24, was also charged with one "sentence enhancer" count for allegedly committing a crime of violence.
From Google News
After saga lasting years, Drew Peterson trial to start with opening statements, testimony
CHICAGO — The saga of Drew Peterson and his ill-fated wives has drawn widespread attention outside the courtroom, and now the murder case against the ex-police officer finally goes to trial Tuesday with opening statements and testimony from the first witnesses.
The 58-year-old Peterson's day in court comes nearly a decade after his third wife was found dead in a bathtub, and five years after his much younger fourth wife vanished without a trace.
The real-life drama inspired a TV movie and a national spotlight was put on the case, with speculation about whether Peterson used his law-enforcement expertise in a bid to get away with the 2004 murder of Kathleen Savio, 40, and to make 23-year-old Stacy Peterson disappear in 2007.
Those who have observed major criminal trials for years say the outcome of this one is especially hard to predict.
“I think it will be a close case,” said Kathleen Zellner, a leading Chicago-area defense attorney.
Kent State student accused of tweeting plan to 'shoot up' campus
A Kent State University student has been arrested after he allegedly tweeted about plans to "shoot up" the campus.
William Koberna, 19, of Brunswick, Ohio, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge of inducing panic and a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing, university spokesman Eric Mansfield told the Los Angeles Times.
The alleged threat comes as the nation is already on edge in the wake of the July 20 shooting in which a gunman opened fire during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 and injuring 58. Moreover, Kent State is a campus with a unique history: Four students were killed and nine others injured on May 4, 1970, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students and others protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.
Koberna's Twitter account has since been disabled. But Mansfield told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that his tweet included profanities, made reference to the university president, and concluded by saying "I'm shooting up your school."
"You can imagine that got everyone's attention really fast," Mansfield said. He said that there was no indication that Koberna had any access to weapons, or even an obvious motive. But authorities said they were not taking any chances.
Community Over Crime: What Anaheim Can Learn From L.A.
Last week's police shooting of an unarmed alleged gang member in Anaheim sparked protests, fires, rock-throwing, arrests, and a potential FBI investigation. Our sister city to the south, best known for baseball, hockey, and Disneyland, is being torn apart.
Here in Los Angeles, we're certainly no stranger to tension between local communities and law enforcement (see: MacArthur Park, 2007; South Los Angeles, 1992; Watts 1965), but things have been getting better. Crime has plummeted in recent years, and relations between the police and the public—especially in minority communities—are warmer than they have been in decades. The Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater L.A.'s Community Safety Scorecard, which measures neighborhood safety, gives a picture of where we are today. Below are some things that have worked here and could help Anaheim.
Redefine the “Gang Problem”
Get Police to Work With — Not Against — Communities
Empower Local Communities
Redefine How We Talk About Violence
Invest in Prevention; Demand Results
July 30, 2012
From Google News
Hundreds decrying police violence march in Anaheim
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Hundreds of protesters denounced recent fatal police shootings and issued a call for peace in the community even as police arrested at least nine people in separate marches Sunday.
Some 200 vocal protesters rallied in front of police headquarters, while a separate group of about 100 people marched silently along a two-mile stretch of a main thoroughfare, The Orange County Register reported.
Chanting "Whose streets? Our streets!," the vocal group started marching toward Disneyland, but a police line stopped the group a half-mile away. The blockade, which temporarily closed several traffic intersections, caused the demonstrators to head away from the resort.
"What's going on here in Orange County is symbolic of a problem with the system," Eduardo Perez, a 21-year-old student, told the Register. "This wouldn't happen to white people. This is racism, simple as that."
The other group was dressed in white and remained silent as part of their call for peace. They walked five-people across, shoulder to shoulder, some carrying messages such as "We are Anaheim" and "Peace begins with us." City Councilwoman Kris Murray and state Sen. Lou Correa, a Democrat who represents Anaheim, were among the marchers.
Police as allies a possible way to stop Fort Myers violence
Cities that have cut violence rates have had officers establish roots in community.
The News-Press' Rise Above project: An effort established with community leaders to curb violence in Fort Myers
Could homicides in Fort Myers be reduced if police put more effort into making allies within the community?
Other cities have had success lowering homicide rates using community policing, a decades-old strategy that aims to fight crime through a partnership between the community and police.
Its idea is to encourage community cooperation by painting police as allies instead of enemies.
Cathy Lanier, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., swears by community policing. Last year, the district reduced its homicide count by 42 percent over 2008. There were 108 homicides in 2011, and the city solved 95 percent of those cases.
Instead of arresting someone for a minor violation, such as an open container of alcohol, Lanier's officers have been trained to try to develop a relationship with that person. It's taken five years, Lanier said, but now the community seems to trust the police.
Community Policing, LAPD says this is why we are becoming one of the safest cities in the U.S.
(Video on site)
When I was a Valley dweller back when we were first married in Valley Village our neighborhood started experiencing gang related activity and auto thefts. We were in the LAPD's North Hollywood divisions policing territory. They worked with us to establish a Neighborhood Watch and worked with us on a variety of community issues. We became friends with several of the officers that patrolled our area. Community Policing now as outlined in the video has grown and is helping to make the neighborhoods in North Hollywood safer.
On a sidebar if you haven't subscribed to the LAPD's YouTube channel yet you might want to consider as aside from the infomercials and PSA's they also have regular crime tips and vids seeking info on crimes.
Las Vegas police, residents unite to make public housing safer
As the summer sun sets over Sherman Gardens Annex, the children go right on playing.
They race each other on bicycles through the West Las Vegas public housing complex, play hide-and-seek behind its concrete block apartments, kick their legs on the swings.
Even as the sky darkens, their mothers don't worry so much anymore about them staying outside.
"Our kids can play in the street now," said Tina Smith, 52, who has lived in the complex at Doolittle Avenue and H Street with her daughter for about eight years. "Before, it was rare with all the shooting going on."
The 160-unit family complex, popularly known as The Jets, is infamous for being home to gang members who long used violence to defend their turf.
Not long ago, shootings and other violence were a part of life.
" I wasn't allowed to play out here," said Robyn Traylor-Smith, Tina Smith's daughter, now 18. "I was in the house."