January 31, 2014 |
JENNIFER SERRANO knows how backward Pennsylvania's laws protecting domestic violence victims can be. She's been fighting off her abuser at home and in court for 10 years now. Like the times she'd hand-delivered stay-away orders with a police escort - only to be attacked by her ex after the police officers drove away. Or the other times her ex would stand outside her workplace and call 50 to 60 times to berate her on the phone. She'd call the cops, only to watch them shrug, saying he wasn't violating his restraining order because he wasn't physically abusing her. In 2007, she grew so desperate to escape the torment that when she saw a "How can we help you?"
January 24, 2014 |
HARRISBURG Gov. Corbett said Wednesday that he wants to boost funding for domestic violence and rape crisis programs by $2.2 million in the 2014-15 budget. "I'm calling for an increase because I understand these programs are not simple line items - they change and save lives," said Corbett at a news conference. Corbett, who is set to make his budget address Feb. 4, said additional funding would bring the total to $15.3 million, a 10 percent increase over the current year. The money will support emergency services, such as a 24/7 hotline, emergency shelter, and financial aid and victim advocacy programs.
January 22, 2014 |
It was a deadly weekend in Philadelphia, as the city suffered six more homicides between Friday and Sunday nights, making for a total of 22 killings in a year that was only 20 days old. Among the victims were a woman shot in front of her mother during a robbery, a mother and son executed in their home, and the son of a city police officer gunned down on a Southwest Philadelphia street. Amber Long, 26, was shot once in the chest Sunday night in the 900 block of North Front Street.
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.
December 11, 2013 |
AMONG THE challenges of living in Philadelphia for Betty Ann Townes were the violence of the streets and the wild and woolly arena of Philadelphia Democratic politics. The dangerous streets claimed the lives of her son and other relatives. Philadelphia politics had her embroiled in several battles over the years, including elections that she was sure she had won, but was counted out by what she called the corrupt counting of votes. Betty Ann Townes, who died Dec. 3 at age 69, had to summon all her fortitude and faith in the late '90s when she was dealt a double dose of pain.
December 7, 2013 |
TRENTON Incidents of violence, vandalism, weapons possession, and substance abuse in New Jersey's public schools saw an overall decrease in 2012-13 from the previous school year, according to an annual report released Thursday by state education officials. In addition, the number of incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying reported by districts decreased last school year by nearly 4,300, or 36 percent. While some of that decline may be due to bullying-prevention programs, state officials said part of the drop is the result of the Department of Education's working with local districts over the last two years to get a better understanding of the criteria for reporting bullying.
December 3, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Born in Ukraine and now a resident of Philadelphia, Marta Sydoryak gathered with other demonstrators Sunday afternoon outside the Liberty Bell Center to protest what she called "a night of tragedy" in her homeland. Bearing banners and chanting slogans, Sydoryak and about 40 others stood on Independence Mall freely denouncing the violent treatment of demonstrators thousands of miles away - in Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine. Riot police there on Saturday used billy clubs and tear gas to disperse hundreds of peaceful demonstrators protesting President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign a key agreement with the European Union.
November 8, 2013
Allegations that a pro football player who quit his team was a victim of bullying have ignited a broader discussion of the role of violence in American society. It's a good conversation to have, especially as it pertains to hundreds of urban neighborhoods where too many children grow up being taught to return violence with violence, only to end up becoming homicide statistics. Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin left the team last week, reportedly to get counseling for emotional issues.
October 29, 2013 |
When it comes to crime in the City of Brotherly Love, should public corruption or gun violence be the priority for the District Attorney's Office? As the race for that office nears in the Nov. 5 election, incumbent Seth Williams and Republican challenger Danny Alvarez have sparred over that question. During a recent debate and in interviews, Williams, who ran on a "smart on crime" campaign four years ago, told of his efforts to transform the office's ways by having more diversionary programs and focusing on prosecuting what he sees as the most important cases - those dealing with gun violence.
October 25, 2013 |
GET READY, I'm going to throw a lot of numbers at you. Every day, the Philadelphia Police Department gets hundreds of calls about domestic violence. Last year, nearly 400 daily. Every year, thousands of petitions for protection-from-abuse orders are filed. In 2011, 11,714 restraining orders were sought. In 2012, more than 8,500 calls were made to the 24-hour Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline. Nearly 9,000 requests were denied space in Philly's only 100-bed shelter for domestic-violence victims, which is almost always at capacity.