June 10, 2014 |
DR. PAUL J. FINK admitted to feeling a bit uneasy. There he was with 100 community leaders at an anti-crime summit in Graterford prison, sitting across from 100 inmates who were unlikely ever again to see the light of freedom. To get to the chapel, where the meeting was held, Fink and his group had to follow guards through the many clanging gates and locks that served as a stark reminder of what it must be like to be shut away for life. But to Dr. Fink's relief and satisfaction, the inmates were just as eager as the community leaders to find answers to what was happening to young people outside in the violent streets.
May 7, 2014 |
After rising for a decade, violent and property crimes dropped on SEPTA subway and elevated lines last year, as fare-evasion arrests skyrocketed. SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III credited a change in police tactics: more officers in the subways, a crackdown on minor crimes, and a focus on fare jumpers. In 2013, there were 464 reported violent and property crimes on the Broad Street subway and the Market-Frankford elevated/subway line, down 14 percent from 541 in 2012. Violent and property crimes include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, theft, and arson.
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 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 30, 2013 |
CAMDEN Wilson Rodriguez thought he had something worthwhile to say, but he wondered why a young audience would listen to a 21-year-old parolee convicted as a teenager in the bludgeoning death of a sleeping homeless man. He told more than a dozen youngsters in an event hosted by the Camden Board of Education he and his friends "did something horrible and someone ended up dying. " Two or three hands shot up, and questions followed: Why did you do it? How do you feel now? The children wanted to know more.
December 22, 2013 |
NORRISTOWN A former leader of the Dauphin County witness protection program became the new head of the state's Victim Advocate Office Friday and said she hoped to give a stronger voice to Pennsylvania's crime victims. "I want every single citizen of the commonwealth to understand what their rights are as crime victims," said Jennifer Storm, 38, of Camp Hill. Storm was sworn in Friday morning at a ceremony at the Victim Services Center in Norristown, surrounded by local advocates and members of the law enforcement community.
December 20, 2013
IT'S A GOOD NEWS story that can be told partly by the numbers. Crime is down again in Philadelphia this year, led by a steep drop in the number of homicides. If the trends hold, Philadelphia will end 2013 with a total of about 250 slayings, about 30 percent fewer than in 2012. This is a significant decline in just one year; it also will be the lowest number of homicides recorded since 1967, nearly 50 years ago. But, this is also a human story. It means that more people survived another year without ending up dead in the street or sitting in a cell awaiting trial for murder.
December 17, 2013 |
WHAT STARTED as a six-month experiment in law-enforcement cooperation in the Philadelphia region has become a 30-year-old blueprint on how to catch bad folks across the nation. Since its inception in 1983, the U.S. Marshals Service Eastern District of Pennsylvania's Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force has apprehended more than 26,000 fugitives - an average of 867 arrests per year, according to the Marshals Service. John Patrignani, chief deputy for the U.S. Marshals Eastern District of Pennsylvania, attributes the task force's success to one thing: cooperation.
July 16, 2013 |
ROME - Premier Enrico Letta has harshly criticized a top Italian senator who likened the country's first black cabinet minister to an orangutan, the latest episode of high-profile racial tension in a nation grappling with immigration. In a statement Sunday, Letta denounced Roberto Calderoli's words as "unacceptable" and "beyond every limit. " Calderoli, the Senate's vice president and a leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League Party, made denigrating remarks about Immigration Minister Cecile Kyenge while he was speaking at a party rally Saturday in northern Italy, the populist movement's power base.
July 6, 2013
A dramatic drop in Philadelphia's homicide rate for the first half of the year is a welcome sign that a comprehensive strategy using all three legs of the local criminal justice system is working. That doesn't mean the police, courts, and prosecutors can rest on their laurels. Rather, they must continue their good work to ensure that the success so far isn't short-lived. For the first six months of the year, there have been 115 homicides, a 38 percent drop from the same period last year and the lowest midyear total in nearly half a century.