Tag Archive: crime

News Roundup & Open Thread for Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Here’s the stuff that jumped out at me this morning – feel free to add links in the comment section as well as show your massive love for the choice of links I found 🙂

Today’s theme, snowy disgustingness.

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The weather outside is frightful

A disgusting snowy icy mess this morning.  Safe commute to everyone that has to test out the roads.  In related news, Governor Christie left for Aruba last night just as the storm hit, saying, “I can melt the snow with my laser-like icy glare, even from Aruba”.  So everyone should just stick it.

Pollution concerns in Union Twp. over idling trucks, which is against the law.  Except when it isn’t against the law.

The Governor is just so…..um….delightful.  Yeah, that’s it…

Governor Christie uses the tired “if [PERSON X] were alive today, he/she would support me line with the double whammy of tainting the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King and touting his “most children left behind” education policies.

Christie will use this data to show how charter schools are TEHAWSOME, but if half of the students are doing better in charter schools than the local schools, doesn’t that also mean that half of the students in charter schools are doing worse than in the local schools?

I’m guessing that Christie won’t be citing this though….

….or this one, giving New Jersey schools one of the top scores in the nation.

They’re making a list…..

Today kicks off New Jersey’s redistricting process, which promises to get interesting since the Republicans have another shadow group funding their own special interests.

Frosty, the comments, on Supreme Court “vacancies”

Charlie Stile on the “Supreme Court showdown between Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney.

You’re a foul one…..

Bay Head police chief removed by prosecutor after accusations of stealing money from the PBA.  

You’re as cuddly as a cactus

Theft of 19 catalytic converters in Wayne – part of a trend across the US.

You’re a nasty wasty skunk

Attempted theft of $500K of perfume in Cedar Grove.

Congressfolks are back….in town

And as the House will debate the “repeal and replace” of the Health care bill, an estimated 129 million people have “pre-existing conditions”

What about all of those out of work elves?

As Christie wants to focus on picking fights with everything instead of creating jobs, the impact of no job is taking its toll on out of work men and their families.

How To Understand New Jersey Crime Statistics: An ACLU of New Jersey Primer

This is pretty useful info for those not wishing to be bamboozled. Flavio is a senior counsel with ACLU-NJ. – promoted by Rosi

Understandably, and often laudably, mayors and police chiefs publicly tout decreases in crime in their municipality. Unfortunately, however, officials sometimes present a rosier picture to the public by manipulating key pieces of data.

Following the New Jersey Attorney General’s release today of the state’s 2009 annual crime statistics, the ACLU-NJ offers a primer for citizens and journalists – and citizen journalists, for that matter – to ask the right questions and use a critical eye when reading a “crime is down” press release, and for getting up-to-date information without waiting for a state crime report that’s issued ten months after the end of the calendar year.

Follow us over the jump for a quick lesson how to dig in to the details of crime statistics.

Guadagno Afraid To Cross Street In Warren Township

Oh noes! The subwurbs! I’m vewy vewy fwightened! – – promoted from the diaries by Rosi

LG Candidate, suburban sheriff and urban-phobe Kim Guadagno explained why she is afraid to cross the streets of Newark, even in the relatively safe Rutgers Law campus:

“It’s not a gaffe. I’ve been victimized in Newark twice in the last five years because I work in Newark,” said Guadagno…

About six months ago and in 2003, Guadagno said, her car was broken into and her purse and other belongings stolen just outside the Newark campus of Rutgers Law’s Newark campus, where she teaches legal research and writing part-time.

Well, Guadagno better stay the heck out of tony Warren Township in Somerset County, ’cause it’s getting rough out there!

Two Raritan Borough men – one chased by a retired police chief – have been charged with burglarizing six vehicles on [Warren’s] Hillcrest Boulevard in the early morning hours of Tuesday.

Holy crap!  How is Guadagno going to campaign in this Republican stronghold if she’s afraid to hang out in this crime-ridden McMansion cul-de-sac?

[/snark]

In all seriousness, Guadagno’s line that she’s afraid to cross the street in Newark because her car was broken into while it was parked is silly.  She’s a fricking sheriff who should know better, except she’s a REPUBLICAN sheriff which means fear-mongering is more important than educating and working with people.

Is she going to be afraid of Elizabeth?  Paramus?  Plainfield?  Trenton?  Toms River?  Camden?  We just knocked off half the state’s population there.

Who shot the 4-year-old? Cory Booker uses Twitter to ask for help

Updated Monday by Jason: The Mayor’s office put out this video from the press conference announcing the arrest:

UPDATE on Saturday:Curtis Daniels, wanted in connection to the crossfire shooting of a little girl on Monday, surrendered to police Saturday morning. But the story told by the Mayor and Police is very different from that told by his lawyer, in terms of the need of Cory Booker’s manhunt.

About 30 minutes ago, the Mayor of Newark tweeted this:

Manhunt in progress. Help me solve the crime – http://bit.ly/UThZj

The tweet’s link takes you to a short press conference video, with Booker asking the Newark community to help him find an alleged suspect in the shooting of a 4-year-old girl, injured in the crossfire of a shootout at a playground in the city. The video gives the suspect’s name – Curtis Daniels – shows his picture, and flashes the police tip line. Booker:

What we need now is a robust community involvement of people that are willing to pick up the phone and say in a collective chorus: Enough is enough. I will give information that will help us solve this problem. Take back our streets.

I have to say that I’m impressed. Not only by the forward-thinking use of technology and social media to do something like spread the word of a crime. But also at Newark’s continued push for people to end any culture of protecting criminals, and reverse priorities to protect each other.

I hope to hell that’s all it’s cracked up to be. And, of course, that the kid continues to mend.

Time to Reform a Broken Justice System

Tom Moran chides Governor Corzine for not doing enough to stop the violence. Two of the suspects in the execution-style murders of three Newark students had been previously charged with violent offenses, but were out on the streets anyway. Gun control laws may help, he says, but our entire criminal justice system is in need of overhaul:

For one, he could change the drug laws so that we stop flooding the system with nonviolent offenders. That would allow cops, prosecutors and judges to focus on cases like these murders. And it would free up space in our prisons for the robbers, rapists and killers.

“Our system of justice is just not made for the volume of cases we have today,” says Barnett Hoffman, a retired judge from Middlesex County and chairman of the state’s criminal sentencing commission. “It would be helpful to concentrate on the violent offenses.”

New Jersey is way behind the curve on this. Nonviolent drug offenders occupy about one-third of our prison beds, the highest portion in the nation. Even Texas diverts more drug offenders into cheaper and more effective treatment programs.

Moran is right, and Mayor Cory Booker has also been saying these things for a while:

Our nation is not expending all of these national resources on violent offenders. The majority of the Americans clogging our courts and prisons are nonviolent offenders primarily engaged in the use, sale or distribution of drugs. Violent or not, offenders should face punishment — whether they throw litter on a Newark street or come to a Newark street to buy heroin. But when the punishment perpetuates the problem, when it destroys lives instead of correcting them, when it saps taxpayers of their precious resources, when it perpetuates the hideous legacy of racial injustice, when it aggravates cycles of poverty and undermines the very principles we seek to uphold, we must seek change.

As Moran points out, any such changes to our justice system will inevitably draw charges of being “soft on drugs.” The reality is that those lacking the courage to change a broken system that perpetuates violence are failing the victims of violent crimes, the overburdened police and the taxpayers.

More Public Surveillance Coming to Newark

Mark DiIonno’s column in the Star Ledger today lists the various steps Newark is taking to fight violent crime in the wake of the execution-like murders of three students, including putting cameras on the streets, controlling gun traffic into the city and new curfew rules:

Newark Mayor Cory Booker will start today by announcing an expanding surveillance program called Community Eye, which will put about 100 security cameras and audio gunshot-detection machines overlooking city streets. The Newark Community Foundation, with funding from businesses and private donors, has promised to raise $3.2 million for the program, which Booker will announce today at a news conference.

“When all the cameras and gunshot detectors are up, we will have about 8 square miles of the city covered,” Booker told The Star-Ledger yesterday.

Those 8 square miles are among the highest-crime areas of the city, where about 80 percent of the city’s recent shootings have happened.

The city already has 32 long-range security cameras along business zones and there were plans to put up more. But Community Eye will reach deeper into troubled neighborhoods.

The gunshot detectors, sensitive enough to differentiate between gunshots and other explosions like engine backfires, alert police immediately, cutting down on response time.

Newark doesn’t seem to have the money to simply hire more police, so is it fair to turn to public surveillance as a step towards fighting crime, or is the intrusion and potential for abuse unwarranted, even if it could potentially save lives?

News Round-up and Open Thread for Tuesday, December 26

  • Flags are being flown at half-staff today in honor of Private First Class Joe L. Baines, a Newark native who died Dec. 16 in Iraq. He was 19 years old. Services are being held for him this morning.
  • Today is the first day of Kwanzaa,which runs until Jan. 1
  • The State Division of Criminal Justice has seen a decrease this year in their numbers of criminal indictments and accusations, where a guilty plea is obtained before indictment. Some law enforcement officials attribute the reduction to staffing cuts and a needed reorganization of the department, plus there was a change in Attorney General this year; current AG Stuart Rabner attributes the change to a focus on bigger criminals and corruption investigations, which may mean fewer prosecutions but have a large impact on crime.
  • Due to a substantial increase in the number of applicants, residents of Our Fair State now have to wait up to a year for approval for state rebates and installations of solar panels. There are also questions about the sustainability of the rebate program.
  • Mayor Lawrence G. Chiaravallo of Lake Como has been looking for alternate sources for funding needed upgrades to the town’s municipal facilities, including unanswered appeals to Bill Gates and Oprah. He has found one listener, however: Kuwait. While no money has changed hands, the mayor has held discussions with the Kuwaiti ambassador. Chiaravallo lost his bid for re-election and will leave office Jan. 1.
  • The annual reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware went off yesterday without a hitch. In several of the last few years the boat crossing has been canceled due to high water or severe weather.
  • Ahh, the end of the year, when all the “Top of 2006” lists show up. Jim Walsh of the Courier-Post has the Top 10 Weeds in the Garden State: Property Taxes, Suburban Sprawl, Eminent Domain, Pay-to-Play, Health Care Costs, Affordable Housing, Traffic Jams, Car Insurance Costs, Gas Prices, and Beach Tags. Now, where’s the list of the Top 10 Flowers Blooming in the Garden State?

Open Thread: What’s on your mind today, Blue Jersey?

A Change in the Weather

It must have been about 15 years ago. It was mid-November and I had a sudden jones to see the ocean. That happens to me from time to time: I get hungry to hear the waves and feel the wind coming off the water. Swimming isn’t even a consideration – I just want to be close to the ocean.

As soon as I left work, I hit the Parkway and sped south. I arrived in Seaside Heights after dark. I don’t particularly like Seaside Heights, but I wanted a bit of boardwalk.

There was a light, cold wind coming across the beach as I strolled the boardwalk. Nothing was open except an arcade where a couple of teenagers played a video game that involved lots of shooting.

I stepped to the end of the boardwalk and descended to the beach. The ocean was an immense wall of blackness, waiting just beyond the lights. The buildings facing the beach looked scruffy and deserted. Not a soul to be seen anywhere. That’s when I thought, This place is a slum. It’s a slum by the sea.

New Jersey’s Baghdad Bob

Baghdad Bob
Pay no attention to the shootings and robberies and sexual assaults! Our police are still in control of the city. The gangs are now in disarrary.

That’s what Trenton’s police director Joseph Santiago would be saying if he wanted to deceive the public about the city’s crime problem. He might also stop providing the press with crime reports.

In a one-month period since Police Director Joseph Santiago disbanded the public information unit and instituted a new policy, the city of Trenton had 50 robberies, 29 aggravated assaults, eight sexual assaults and one homicide, according to records obtained under the state’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA).

Because of the city’s policy shift, just seven of the crimes, including the homicide, were reported in The Times of Trenton.

Santiago instituted the new policy of hiding information from the public because, in his words “Public information wasn’t working for me.” He’s upset that the media isn’t clapping loud enough for him.

Santiago said his department was not benefiting from having public information officers deliver a daily dose of incidents to the media. He said he wants to see larger-scale stories, like the city’s crime drops and other crime suppression stories, in the city’s newspapers.

In Santiago’s world, local papers would be filled with stories of all the little girls that haven’t been shot in the face. To make matters worse, this clown has the support of mayor Palmer:

And Palmer showed full support for his police director yesterday. “Director Santiago is abiding by (Executive Order) 69, has been and will continue to do (so), and that is just the way it is,” the mayor said. “I’m satisfied Director Santiago is operating within his purview.”

With leadership like that, it’s no wonder the city is such a mess. Santiago should resign (again) and Palmer should apologize to the city for defending the indefensible. Then he should step down and turn the keys over to someone responsible.