February 24, 2014 |
If network TV has taught us anything, it's that America's heart and soul reside in its small towns. The Andy Griffith Show , Father Knows Best , Little House on the Prairie taught us about the frontier spirit that built the nation and the moral clarity that guides it. Crime, we learned, was entirely urban, a social disease that festered in big cities. That was before Walter White took us into the New Mexico desert on AMC's Breaking Bad ; before Raylan Givens, the Stetson-sporting lawman on FX's Justified , gave us a tour of the Kentucky trailer parks where prostitutes and gun dealers ply their trade; before Detective Rustin "Rust" Cohle introduced us to a Louisiana scarred by abandoned factories and polluted waterways in HBO's stunning masterwork True Detective . While the networks continue setting crime shows in New York and Los Angeles, cable channels have introduced a new breed of drama that puts the lie to the notion that violent crimes are fundamentally urban phenomena.
February 23, 2014 |
NORRISTOWN The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and two police departments are teaming to investigate sex trafficking and prostitution in hotels and motels in King of Prussia and Montgomeryville, authorities announced Friday. "Public safety and quality-of-life issues relating to the illegal commercial sex trade and human trafficking are of growing concern in Montgomery County," District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said in a statement. The concern over sex trafficking and prostitution rings is so great, Ferman said, that she, Upper Merion Police Chief Thomas Nolan, and Montgomery Township Chief Scott Bendig took the unusual step of publicizing the operation before it starts to educate the public and hotel workers about the damage to people and communities these activities cause, and to dissuade those who might use the hotels for illegal activities.
February 21, 2014 |
CLOUT TODAY explores the intersection of Philadelphia's political community and the criminal-justice system, paths that have been known to cross before. It's been a busy week. Let's run down the interesting stuff: * The Ironworkers Local 401 made news when 10 members, including business manager Joe Dougherty , were indicted on federal charges, accused of conspiring to torch and damage property when the union wasn't given jobs on construction projects. Here, the Pennsylvania Republican Party saw an opportunity.
February 12, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA While serving 12 years in state prison for armed robbery and assault, Phillip Eric Weems renounced his violent past and wrote a book detailing the more enlightened path he planned to pursue upon his release. "White-collar crime is one of the most sophisticated rackets of illegal activity today," he said in his jailhouse manuscript. "Unlimited amounts of money can be made virtually overnight, and the parties involved usually face minimal and/or no consequences at all. " Weems was right about one thing.
February 5, 2014 |
A Philadelphia grand jury unearthed plenty of blame in the 2012 Kensington blaze that killed two firefighters, but the jurors couldn't come up with a crime that fit "the tale of misdeeds we found. " In a 110-page report released Monday, the grand jury said the owners of the dilapidated Thomas W. Buck Hosiery building had allowed it to become "a firetrap. " Nahman and Michael Lichtenstein never "did anything to bring the building up to code," while an army of scrappers, squatters, and drug addicts had free rein inside the property, the grand jury said.
January 30, 2014 |
AS CONCERN about economic inequality rises to the top of the issue agenda, it is instructive to note that the upturn in poverty of recent years has not been accompanied by a rise in violent crime. To the contrary, since 2008, unemployment and homicides have been inversely related. Is this a puzzling anomaly? Most people assume that hard times cause crime spikes. They reason, plausibly enough, that financial pressures - as a consequence of, say, becoming unemployed - lead to stress, anger and violence.
January 23, 2014 |
SINCE TODAY looks like a perfect time to stay inside and watch TV, here are a few TV-related Tattle items. In Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro is blaming soap operas for the country's high crime rate, accusing them of spreading "anti-values" to young people by glamorizing violence, guns and drugs. Last year, Maduro attacked violent video games and the movie "Spider-Man," which, we guess, spread the value of being bitten by a radioactive spider to young people. It's unclear, however, whether the government will take steps to restrict programming or impose harsher rules on the soap operas, known as telenovelas, which are hugely popular across Latin America.
January 14, 2014 |
Law enforcement went to Lindenwold's Hispanic community Sunday with a message for immigrants in this country illegally: We don't care. We want to prevent crime, and we need your help. Speaking after a Spanish-language Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Police Chief Thomas J. Brennan told a full church, "Anyone's status with regard to immigration is not important. Whether you are here legally or illegally, you're a member of this community and therefore deserve a right to be safe.
January 5, 2014 |
COATESVILLE Coatesville, long considered the hotbed of crime in Chester County, went without a homicide in 2013 after seeing six, including three in 10 days, the previous year. Law enforcement officials are attributing the drop to an intense targeting of high-risk criminals and to factors outside their control - such as the weather. "You don't know which one of those was the silver bullet that really caused this drop," Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan said Thursday.
December 19, 2013
Philadelphia is on track to finish 2013 with fewer homicides than in any year since the relatively peaceful days of 1967. This is at least partly a result of sustained, focused crime-fighting strategies from the streets to the courts, a strong commitment to reducing gun crimes, and an openness to new approaches to law enforcement. Mayor Nutter, District Attorney Seth Williams, and the judiciary should be commended for making violent crime reduction a top priority and sticking with their goal in the face of setbacks.