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Bank robbery cash flung into streets should be turned in, police say
It may have seemed like Christmas when a pair of bank robbery suspects led police on a wild pursuit, hurling fistfuls of cash onto the streets of South L.A.
But police have a message for the people who snatched up the loot: Turn it in.
Police urged people to hand over the cash they scooped up, warning that it is a crime to keep it and that they would use video footage to try to identify people.
"It's our neighborhood stimulus package!" laughed Diane Dorsey, who watched the bedlam unfold from her front yard at the corner of Kansas and Vernon avenues.
The made-for-Hollywood chase began 40 miles to the north in Santa Clarita, when four armed men held up a Bank of America branch shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday and fled in a black Volvo SUV that had been reported stolen hours earlier, police said. Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department quickly located the suspects and began to pursue them. Shortly after the chase began, two of the men bailed from the vehicle in an attempt to escape on foot but were taken into custody, said Capt. Mike Parker, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.
The two remaining suspects continued on, jumping from freeways to streets and back again as they wound their way through the San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena and onward toward the skyline of downtown Los Angeles.
Leaving downtown, the driver looped west to MacArthur Park, then past the USC campus until arriving in South L.A., where the Volvo had been stolen.
As the men sped through congested residential neighborhoods with more than a dozen Sheriff's Department vehicles in pursuit and a police helicopter tracking them overhead, the windows in the back seat of the SUV went down. A hand grasping a wad of bills emerged and let go, sending the money fluttering to the pavement.
"Kids were smiling like it was Christmas," added a neighbor, who gave only his first name, Desean.
More than a few compared the suspects to a certain folk outlaw known for robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Los Angeles Police spokesman Cmdr. Andy Smith tried to knock down such talk. "Robin Hood is not how I would describe these guys," he said. "It's just the worst side of human nature."
Crime fighting grants announced
by Jill Dempsey
The Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC) the city of Flint, Commit to Fit! and the city's Blue Badge Community Policing Program announce the awardees for the 2012 Health and Safety Mini-Grant Program. The program is designed to increase community-based safety initiatives that have a positive impact on the health and safety of local residents.
The violent crime rate is more than 400 percent of the national average in Flint. Safety remains an issue for many individuals and families.
The goals of this program are to improve safety by activating residents' ability to work together on efforts to improve neighborhood environments and create safer places for residents to be physically and socially active. Program goals will be achieved through supporting neighborhood groups, block clubs, local associations, security watches and nonprofit organizations which will use mini-grant funds to create environmental changes that promote safety.
The projects of grant awardees, that will be completed from August through December, are described below.
- Second Chance Church and New Jerusalem Full Baptist Church will complete the Choose Life for a Healthy and Safe Community Project to improve safety by redeveloping an unsafe, vacant lot with both beautification and better lighting. This project will be located on the border of the Flint and Flint Township near Flushing Road and Ballenger Road.
- The OWIR Block Club will complete the Light the Night Project that installs lighting throughout neighborhood sites to increase safety. Neighborhood residents and block club members will assist with installation and maintenance to continue use of lights after the grant is completed. This project will be in Flint near Hamilton and Dupont streets.
- University Park Association will complete a Neighborhood Security Watch Project that will provide a safer neighborhood for residents by increasing visibility, resources and activities of an existing neighborhood security watch. This project will be located in the University Park area near Saginaw Street.
- The East Bishop and East Flint Park Block Club will complete Project Lights that installs lighting at the homes of neighborhood residents to increase safety. Residents have agreed to pay for electricity and maintain use of lights after the grant is completed. This project will be in blocks between North Saginaw Street and Martin Luther King Avenue.
- The College Cultural Neighborhood Association will complete the Neighborhood Watch Mini-Station Project to increase community empowerment and safety by supporting an office and using it as a place for operations of a neighborhood watch. This project is in area bounded by Dort Highway, Interstate 69, Gilkey Creek and Longway Boulevard.
- The Rollingwood Watch Group will complete the Security Needs Project that uses security signs to raise awareness of the neighborhood's crime watch program. This project is just east of Dort Highway near the intersection of East Pierson and Branch roads.
- The Genesee Township North Beecher Neighborhood Watch will complete the North Beecher Flight from Blight Project to improve neighborhood safety through beautification activities, purchasing trimmers, mowers, rakes and shovels to be used by the Neighborhood Watch program to clean up and repurpose multiple neighborhood sites. This project will work in the areas near Beecher and Genesee.
- The Max Brandon Park Block Club will complete the Neighborhood Safety Project that increases safety through the purchasing, installation and maintenance of lighting and surveillance systems for neighborhood streets using solar units that will continue to be used beyond the grant period. This project is near Max Brandon Park.
- Don't Dump on Me Community Gardens will complete a Community Garden Project that uses a multigenerational engagement approach to expand the safe environment of a community garden and teach healthy eating habits. This project will be in Beecher, just north of Carpenter Road.
After the grant program is completed the GFHC and the city of Flint will hold a meeting of all grantees to discuss these efforts in improving community safety. All grants are provided by the Greater Flint Health Coalition, which is supporting this initiative as a component of the GFHC's County Health Rankings Action Plan, a 10-year effort launched in April, 2011 to strategically improve the health of Flint area residents.
In addition to the grant program, the action plan also includes the Commit to Fit! campaign to promote health behavior improvement among residents, the Commit to Fit! Smoke-free Toolkit to encourage the creation of smoke-free environments and additional efforts focused on improving health behaviors through schools, youth programs, businesses and healthcare providers.
The Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC) is a Flint-based nonprofit health coalition whose two-fold mission is to improve the health status of Genesee County residents and the quality and cost-effectiveness of the health care delivery system in the community. Visit www.gfhc.org for more information on the GFHC.
Plan Commit to Fit! is an ongoing initiative of the Greater Flint Health Coalition focused on improving the health and health behaviors of Genesee County residents. It is one component of the GFHC's County Health Rankings Action Plan, an eight-point strategic plan developed collaboratively by the GFHC that outlines multiple activities to improve the health of local residents, including improvements in public safety and the physical environment. Visit www.commit-2-fit.org for more information on Commit to Fit! and the County Health Rankings Action Plan.
The Blue Badge Program assists government and residents to work together to have a positive impact on reducing neighborhood crime, improving safety and enhancing the quality of life in the community. It is the umbrella for all Flint crime-fighting initiatives that involve active participation from residents, block clubs, crime watches, ministations and police volunteers.
Police Chief Speaks Out About Gun Violence
Omaha 360 is working to come up solutions for gun violence in Omaha. The group met with community members Wednesday outlining an evolving strategy for tackling violent crime.
The group gave an update on the trends, successes, and challenges they've experienced in fighting gun violence over the past six years.
Citywide, Omaha gun assaults have decreased between the months of May and July by 32% from 72 in 2007 to 41 so far this year. The decrease has been even larger in the police department's northeast precinct. The gun assaults there have decreased by more than half over the same period.
Omaha Police Chief, Todd Schmaderer, also spoke at the meeting. He told the crowd that he wants to curb violence, establish community policing, and improve the public's relationship with police.
As part of that, Chief Schmaderer says he wants to hold a community forum.
“We'll field some questions, what going on in the community, what are some of the barriers to those relationships and take some of the tough questions,” says Schmaderer.
The date for that forum has not been set.