New York City
Community Safety and Police Accountability
by Julio Pabon
Crime is an issue in our community and the police play an important role when it comes to crime fighting, but for our community to enjoy peace and not just an absence of violence, it must be free both of the fear of crime and fear of the police. The best policing is that which is done in true partnership with the community being served. It is respectful of the culture and history of the community. It is policing that plays to the positives of the community with the goal of building and supporting the community's leadership and capacity. It is built on trust based on a belief in shared values. This type of policing will be well appreciated by the community and promote mutual respect and good will for the officers on local patrol as well as the entire NYPD.
This is not the type of policing that is taking place in the South Bronx, in Harlem or in of the city's black and brown communities. The kind of policing that takes place in our communities assumes negativity or hostility on the part of the community. It is crime prevention based on instilling fear of the police and base on the assumption that all black and brown people, but especially the young men, are always ready to engage in wrong doing.
That is the message of the city's current stop and frisk policy. Otherwise how do you explain more than 1 million stops during the last two years, mostly of young people of color, that have resulted in only 8% of those persons being arrested or even getting a summons? The problem with the NYPD's stop and frisk policy has little to do with the courtesy and professionalism of the police officers conducting the stops, although more of each is sorely needed on the street. The problem is the logic and rationale behind the policy which promotes the targeting of black and brown people with a special focus on the presumed trouble-making young people. Today's large scale stop and frisk program is based on racial profiling and needs to come to an end.
This week the City Council is expected to vote on two bills -- the End NYPD Discriminatory Profiling Bill (Intro 1080) and the NYPD Oversight Act (Intro 1079) that are part of the Community Safety Act promoted by Communities United for Police Reform, a citywide coalition brought together because of the injustice perpetrated by the City's stop and frisk policy. The first bill will specifically ban racial and other types of profiling by the NYPD, and give individuals the right to sue if s/he is unjustly profiled by the NYPD. The second bill will create the office of an independent Inspector General (IG) for the NYPD within the City's Department of Investigations. The IG would be able to review NYPD operations, policies, programs and practices.
These bills deserve the support of every NYC councilmember, but especially of every councilmember representing a black or brown community. Contact your councilmember and urge him or her to vote in support of these two bills.
The NYPD, with the support and acquiescence of the mayor, through its promotion and over use of stop and frisk has created a situation in our communities where fear of the police now needs as much attention as the fear of crime. Through education and organizing our communities are presently moving to create police accountability. Through education and organizing, our communities will also defeat violence and achieve true peace.
LPD: Community Policing Helped Lower Crime Stats
by Rachel Schaerr
Lynchburg, VA - The Lynchburg police department is pleased with new crime statistics, showing the total number of incidents was down in 2012.
The state police released the annual report this week, showing property crime is down significantly from the year before.
Police attribute several things to lowering the number of property crimes last year -- everything from social media to vigilant citizens.
Sirens. It's a sound no one wants in their neighborhood. And if you live in Lynchburg, you may be hearing it less.
"We are pleased with that. But we also understand that we still have a lot of work to do," said Captain Whit Clark.
While kidnappings, forcible rapes and fraud were up, the department says that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
"It could be because we're starting to have more crime reported to us where we haven't seen that in the past," Clark explained.
Most impressive: the decrease in property crimes. There were 727 vandalisms reported in 2012, compared to 966 the year before. Burglaries were down as well, 369 reported in 2012, compared to 522 in 2011.
Captain Whit Clark says the reason is two-fold.
"Good investigations by our officers and detectives. It's also reflective of the community itself," he said.
Through groups like neighborhood crime watch. The Community Services Coordinator says they've seen a steady increase in the number of groups in recent years.
"Watch members are told that they're the eyes and the ears of the police department. And they literally are," said Steven Wood, LPD's Crime Prevention Coordinator.
"We have 58 active groups right now, which is phenomenal," he added.
The department is also offering more home safety seminars, crime prevention fairs and beefing up its presence using social media like Facebook and Twitter. There are nearly 2,000 likes on its Facebook page alone.
Oakland Begins Implementing Community Policing Plan To Fight Crime
OAKLAND (KCBS / KPIX 5) – Starting Saturday, Oakland will take a big step towards fully implementing its neighborhood policing plan by assigning officers to one of five newly identified districts in the city.
The goal is to keep officers within these narrowly defined areas to improve response times and allow captains in charge of each district to have greater say over distribution and use of resources.
“So we're (re-organizing) the department to allow the captains to more quickly respond to crime patterns in their area,” explained interim police chief Sean Whent.
“It's kind of the first major step of implementing the crime prevention plan that the city paid the contractors for,” he added. “So, we're starting.”
Former Los Angeles police chief William Bratton is among those paid consultants who recommended changes in the wake of skyrocketing crime throughout Oakland.
Bratton visited department headquarters on Tuesday to help implement the strategy. He told KPIX 5 that it will take some time to solve the city's crime problems.
“There is no quick fix, if you will. No silver bullet,” Bratton said.
Bratton also weighed in on the recent shakeups in department leadership. On May 8th, Chief Howard Jordan announced his retirement, citing medical issues. Jordan's replacement, Interim Chief Anthony Toribio, stepped down from the post two days later, leading to Whent being appointed Interim Chief.
“It's a hiccup. There's no risk of derailing the plans that have been made,” Bratton said.
Bratton said he will meet with the new district captains this week and make sure everything goes according to plan.
“The captain would be effectively the mini chief of that area. He would be the go-to person for the local neighborhood residents,” Bratton said.
While the implementation is moving along, what concerned Bratton is the number of players involved with fixing Oakland Police. The department has to answer to a compliance director, a federal judge, Mayor Jean Quan and at the same time, work with the consulting team Bratton heads.
“The secret to success in Oakland is going to be the collaboration and the coordination between the many players,” he said.
Bratton acknowledged the shortage of police officers is also a concern, but would not tell KPIX 5 what kind of impact it would have on the strategy. He said the most important thing now is to finish the decentralization of the department.
“I always remain optimistic. I don't go any place to lose,” he said.
This new district deployment plan will be executed in conjunction with a crackdown on sideshows, announced Monday by the Oakland Police Department.