December 30, 2014 |
WITH A mouse click, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither's blood-curdling screams echoed off the kitchen walls in the old house in Germantown the other day, as clearly as on the chilly Sunday night when a predator snatched her off the dark sidewalk outside. "I hate hearing it," said the man at the kitchen table with his laptop - a Germantown resident for two decades who lives steps from where the 22-year-old woman was abducted Nov. 2. On condition of anonymity, he spoke about the recording that his home surveillance system had caught.
December 26, 2014 |
A few years back, right around Christmas, I got a surprise in the mail that was anything but a gift: a speeding ticket from a town right outside Washington in Montgomery County, Md. My crime: going 38 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone. A couple years later, another family Thanksgiving in Washington yielded a similar December surprise: a ticket for running a red light, with the proof once again right there in the envelope. Yup, that was a grainy shot of our minivan midway through a Wisconsin Avenue intersection, the signal plainly on red. Both incidents came to mind this week, a week after New Jersey allowed its five-year experiment with red-light cameras to lapse and days after a Chicago Tribune study cast new doubts on the efficacy of the Windy City's extensive system, which posts electronic eyes at more than 350 intersections.
December 21, 2014 |
After five years, New Jersey's pilot red-light camera traffic program came to a quiet end. But the debate continues on whether the controversial experiment improved safety or was just a cash cow for municipalities that raked in millions from frustrated motorists. Six municipalities in Camden and Gloucester Counties installed cameras at nine intersections in South Jersey under the program, which began in 2009. The cameras nailed hundreds of thousands of motorists blowing through intersections when the light was red. At $85 each, the citations pulled in millions of dollars in fines for more than two dozen municipalities, which were allowed to keep the bulk of the money to add to their coffers.
December 15, 2014 |
High-tech surveillance cameras are going up on street poles in suburban South Jersey communities where they are being used as virtual patrols to stretch police departments. Many have been installed quietly, netting a rash of drug dealers as well as petty criminals. In Riverside, a blue-collar town of 9,000, the equipment was used in recent years to disband a burglary ring and a Bloods Gang affiliate known as Sex Money Murder. Nearby, in Burlington City, the equipment captured an encounter with a vandal who had a ladder, a hammer, and a scheme to stop the incessant recording on a street corner known as a drug market.
December 4, 2014
P ANO Kalogeropoulos, 31, of Fairmount, is a photographer who founded Bokeh Fire, which considers itself the Netflix of camera lenses. The company offers a curated set of lenses for rent monthly. Bokeh owns all the lenses rented out on its website. Bokeh launched a $20,000, 30-day crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter on Nov. 13 that has so far raised more than $15,000. Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Bokeh Fire? A: I moved here in 2013 after graduating from business school at Northwestern, where I started thinking about this.
December 3, 2014 |
The Philadelphia Police Department launched a pilot body-camera program Monday in which more than two dozen officers will wear the cameras while on duty for six months. It's a move that Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey has been advocating for months, and one that department officials say will increase transparency and "build community trust. " Ramsey was appointed Monday by President Obama to cochair the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which aims to provide recommendations for local departments on building trust within communities, especially those of color.
November 8, 2014 |
New Jersey's controversial red-light cameras are likely to go dark next month, as the five-year experimental program expires with no legislative push to renew it. Supporters of the cameras say the program has improved safety, while opponents contend the cameras have served only to enrich local and state governments. The program was scheduled to expire Dec. 16, unless the Legislature renews it. No such legislation has been introduced. There are 76 camera-equipped intersections in 25 New Jersey towns, including in the South Jersey communities of Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, Stratford, Glassboro, Deptford, and Monroe Township.
October 28, 2014 |
First Christmas, now Halloween. People keep stealing Josephine's decorations. "It's a disgrace," said the 66-year-old South Philadelphia grandmother. "I'm chaining everything down this Christmas. " Twice in less than a year, Josephine's home on the 1100 block of Fitzgerald Street has been pillaged by holiday thieves. For that reason, she asked that her last name not be printed. "I'm already being targeted," she said. At Christmas, it was her Santas holding big lollipops.
October 6, 2014 |
Rick Short is convinced that red-light cameras are little more than "right-turn-on-red cash cows" for New Jersey municipalities. The self-employed father of four is so sure the devices don't make intersections safer - as proponents insist - he's challenged Cherry Hill officials to "prove me wrong. " And if they can do that, the township resident promises to "stand in the rain or snow for five hours at Route 70 and Springdale Road with a sign" acknowledging the mistake. I interview Short, 47, at a Cherry Hill Starbucks, where he arrives with charts, spreadsheets, and talking points.
September 19, 2014 |
WHAT'S the cutest new smart watch? The most interactive electronic book reader? Hint: These items are not made by Apple or Amazon, don't cost a fortune and are targeted to the savvy crew of gadget lovers who like to be in bed by eight or nine. And aren't any older than that, either. VTECH TRUMPS THE COMPETITION: Likely to be a big item for holiday shopping this year (unlike that newly announced but six months delayed Apple Watch) the $59.99 (list price) VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch is targeted to techie tykes age four and up. But don't be surprised to see big kids wearing one, too!