NEWS of the Day - April 10, 2013
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - April 10, 2013
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 ...


Student arrested in Texas college stabbing spree that injured 14

by The Associated Press

CYPRESS, Texas - A student went on a building-to-building stabbing attack at a Texas community college Tuesday, wounding at least 14 people before being subdued and arrested, authorities said.

The attack about 11:20 a.m. on the Lone Star Community College System's campus in Cypress sent at least 12 people to area hospitals, including four people taken by helicopter, according to Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Robert Rasa. He said several people refused treatment at the scene and all the wounds were consistent with stabbing.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said officers responded to the campus after receiving a call about a male "on the loose" stabbing people. He said it was not immediately clear what type of weapon was used.

"Some of the details in the call slip did indicate that students or faculty were actively responding to work to subdue this individual," Garcia said, describing the man as being about 21 years old and enrolled at the college. "So we're proud of those folks, but we're glad no one else is injured any more severely than they are."

Lone Star officials initially urged people on campus, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Houston, to take shelter and be on alert for a second suspect. But the sheriff's department said a short time later that authorities believed just one person was responsible.

"It was the same suspect going from building to building," department spokesman Thomas Gilliland said.

Garcia said buildings still were being searched Tuesday afternoon.

Student Teaundrae Perryman said he was in class when he received a text message from a friend and went outside to see a young woman being loaded into an ambulance with what appeared to be stab wounds to either her neck or head. He said he didn't receive an email alert from the college until 11:56 a.m.

"I was concerned but I wasn't afraid because I was with a large group of people," the 21-year-old said, later adding, "The police got to the scene very quickly."

The four people taken by helicopter and two others with moderate injuries were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Of those six, two were in critical condition and four were in fair condition Tuesday afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Alex Rodriguez said.

One student said she learned one of her classmates was stabbed after leaving the school's Health Science Center building.

"I called to check on another classmate who was still inside the building and she said the classroom was on lockdown and she said one of the classmates had been stabbed," said Margo Shimfarr-Evans told KHOU-TV. "It happened in the hallway."

Courtland Sedlachek, 18, was in class when his phone started buzzing along with the phones of everyone else in class. The room was temporarily locked down, but students were let out and off campus a short time later, in what Sedlachek described as an orderly evacuation.

He described his reaction as a "little bit of nervousness."

The attack came three months after a different Lone Star campus was the site of a shooting in which two people were hurt. The suspected gunman in that incident is charged with aggravated assault.




Isn't safety worth it? (Community Voices)

by Susan Mernit

New York City has proven it's possible - big cities can become safe.

New York has reduced crimes like murder, robbery and burglary by more than 80 percent and sustained it for 20 years - a record no other city has ever come close to.

As we prepare Oakland's next two-year budget, I'm focused on achieving the levels of safety for Oakland that New York enjoys. But it will be challenging. A recently released budget report shows that the cost of delivering all city services will be increasing over the next two years as $41 million in labor concessions expire and benefit costs sky-rocket by $44 million. That's why despite growing revenues, Oakland will need to come up with another $55 million over the next two years just to keep all city services and staffing levels (including police) where they are today.

If we want to increase the police force by 72 officers and 56 civilians over the next two years (bringing sworn strength to 732 officers), we will have to come up with another $41.89 million.

Oakland has been investing - and should continue to invest - in effective crime prevention and intervention strategies, including Head Start, after-school programs, libraries, rec programs, conflict resolution and restorative justice, Ceasefire gang violence strategy, public health model street outreach and job training. But we have failed to maintain adequate policing, despite mounting evidence of its' effectiveness.

Is policing the most effective strategy for making cities safer?

Franklin Zimring's comprehensive study of New York says yes: “The only obvious candidate to take credit for the city's crime decline was policing.” He credits NYPD's "hotspots" strategy and their management and data-mapping system called CompStat. He questions whether New York's controversial stop-and-frisk tactics played any role in its success.

Zimring proves several factors were not responsible for New York's success, including gentrification, decreased poverty, lower unemployment rates, less drug use or putting more people in jail. In fact, New York's effective policing caused a significant decrease in incarceration - creating a savings that more than pays for the increased police.

“The city and the state have been saving $1.5 billion a year, more than twice as much as it cost to finance the additional police officers in the 1990s,” writes the New York Times. If New York's homicide and incarceration trends had not changed, 1,200 additional New Yorkers would have been killed last year and 100,000 more black and Hispanic men would have been sent to prison in the past decade.

But police are expensive. Are they worth it?

A recent study by Justin McCrary on the Cost-Benefit of Policing concludes that police have consistently been found to reduce crime. The study declares Oakland the 24th most under-policed of the 242 largest cities in America. It concludes that every dollar spent on increasing police in Oakland would generate $2.90 in reduced victimization costs.

Additionally, a recent RAND report shows that a 10 percent increase in the size of a police force decreases the rate of homicide by 9 percent, robbery by 6 percent and vehicle theft by 4 percent each year. It says, “taxpayers could reap a good return on investment by adding police officers ... . In the particularly understaffed police departments of Oakland and St. Louis, each additional officer could reduce crime costs by more than $1 million a year.”

Adopting the city's budget this June will require hard choices. I believe increasing police and investing in proven policing practices is the most cost-effective investment Oakland can make in our safety. Importantly, Oakland needs to continue using community policing methods and respectful practices to ensure that sense of safety from policing is felt by all.

Effective policing is not just about after-the-fact arrests. It can prevent crime from ever happening, reduce incarceration, reduce the tremendous costs to victims and government and, most importantly, save lives.

We can do this - a safe Oakland is worth it.