Category Archives: Crime Reduction & Prevention

Women Are Not Men

That was the title of a recent rebroadcast of the Freakonomics podcast, which asks what do Wikipedia edits and murder have in common? Answer: women statistically do them far less frequently than men.  The podcast also explores why women tend to be less competitive than men, why they make less and why they have become less happy.

Here is a description of the episode from the Freakonomics website:

We take a look at the ways in which the gender gap is closing, and the ways in which it’s not. You’ll hear about the gender gap among editors of the world’s biggest encyclopedia, and what a study conducted in Tanzania and India has to say about female-male differences in competition. You’ll also hear about the female happiness paradox and one of the biggest gender gaps out there: crime. Which begs the question: if you’re rooting for women and men to become completely equal, should you root for women to commit more crimes?

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March 26, 2014 · 11:58 am

Inside the Boston Bombing Investigation

Yesterday, linked to a This American Life story about an Orlando FBI shooting loosely linked to the Boston Marathon Bombing.  Today, we take you inside the investigation of the investigation of the Boston Bombing.

60 Minutes went “the inside story of the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt.” Here is how the story began:

The two explosions that tore through the Boston Marathon nearly a year ago were like a starting gun on a second race against time. Unknown terrorists were on the loose and they had more bombs. Now, for the first time, you’re going to hear the inside story from the federal investigators who ran the manhunt. They led a taskforce of more than 1,000 federal agents, state police and Boston cops.

Tonight, they will speak of the disturbing evidence that cracked the case and of a debate among the investigators that ultimately led to the dragnet’s violent end. The afternoon of April 15th, the FBI’s man in charge of Boston got a text, “two large explosions near the finish line.” For Special Agent Rick DesLauriers, the marathon became a sprint to catch the killers before they struck again. . . .

 

 

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March 25, 2014 · 5:55 pm

The Ivory Tower Half Hour: Detroit’s Bankruptcy and Syracuse’s Murder Rate

 

Hosted by David Rubin, Dean of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, this powerhouse panel of Bob Spitzer (SUNY Cortland), Tim Byrnes (Colgate University), Bob Greene (Cazenovia College), Tara Ross (Onondaga County Community College), and Kristi Andersen (Syracuse University) discuss the new face of the Detroit’s bankruptcy and Syracuse’s murder rate (although unfortunately the panel does not discuss Syracuse Truce).

Here is a description of the program:

 The panelists examine the challenge of bankruptcy facing Detroit—and perhaps Syracuse at some point down the road. They debate who was responsible for the fiscal problems and how best to dig out. Then the panelists offer advice to the Syracuse Chief of Police and the Mayor on how to combat the murder rate in the city, which is the highest for any city in the state.

 

This video runs approximately 27 minutes.

 

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July 31, 2013 · 10:47 am

How I Became Involved in Syracuse Truce

Last Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to be able to meet David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.  Professor Kennedy’s work, in developing effective strategies aimed at reducing gun and gang violence in inner cities, is the backbone of the violence reduction strategy currently being implemented in Syracuse, Syracuse Truce.  I first learned of Kennedy’s work just over six months ago when I heard the rebroadcast of his interview on NPR’s Fresh Air.  After reading Professor Kennedy’s book and emailing him, he put me in touch with Syracuse Truce.

Below is an introduction to the interview:

In 1985, David M. Kennedy visited Nickerson Gardens, a public housing complex in south-central Los Angeles. It was the beginning of the crack epidemic, and Nickerson Gardens was located in what was then one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America.

“It was like watching time-lapse photography of the end of the world,” he says. “There were drug crews on the corner, there were crack monsters and heroin addicts wandering around. … It was fantastically, almost-impossibly-to-take-in awful.”

Kennedy, a self-taught criminologist, had a visceral reaction to Nickerson Gardens. In his memoir Don’t Shoot, he writes that he thought: “This is not OK. People should not have to live like this. This is wrong. Somebody needs to do something.”

Kennedy has devoted his career to reducing gang and drug-related inner-city violence. He started going to drug markets all over the United States, met with police officials and attorney generals, and developed a program — first piloted in Boston — that dramatically reduced youth homicide rates by as much as 66 percent. That program, nicknamed the “Boston Miracle,” has been implemented in more than 70 cities nationwide.

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May 31, 2013 · 1:37 am

Last night, 60 Minutes ran a fascinating story about an innovative approach to policing being implemented in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Here is how the story gets started: 

In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our soldiers have been waging what’s known as counterinsurgency. They’re supposed to be both warriors and community builders, going village to village driving out insurgents while winning the hearts and minds of the population. But counterinsurgency has had mixed results – at best.

 We met a Green Beret who is finding out — in his job as a police officer — that the strategy might actually have a better chance of working, right here at home, in the USA.

 Call him and his fellow officers counterinsurgency cops! They’re not fighting al Qaeda or the Taliban, but street gangs and drug dealers in one of the most crime ridden cities in New England.

The measures which Springfield is taking to reduce gun/gang violence is similar to those of Syracuse Truce.

 

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May 6, 2013 · 1:24 am

Remembering…or More Importanly… Not Forgetting Sandy Hook

Last Sunday night on 60 Minutes, Scott Pelley interviewed the families of Newtown victims.  Although the Newtown families have been successful in pushing for comprehensive gun control measures in Connecticut (which were  signed into law  last Thursday),  they face Republican opposition in the Senate.  Republican lawmakers, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have vowed to filibuster any gun control bills that are introduced to the Senate.  Yesterday, President Obama spoke in Newtown to make what Politico calls a “last gun control push.”  The President stated that a gun control filibuster is just “not right.”

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April 9, 2013 · 2:56 pm

Syracuse Truce on CNN

Last night, the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer featured a story on Syracuse Truce (3:30 minutes), an innovative collaboration between law enforcement, social service agencies and the community.  Syracuse Truce is designed to reduce gun crime and gang violence. The message of Syracuse Truce is simple: if you or someone in your gang engages in gun violence, the entire gang will be held responsible.

Syracuse Truce is based on a careful analysis of what is causing violence in Syracuse. The violence in Syracuse is driven by a very small population of people – less than 1% of the population – involved in drug crews, gangs, and other street groups. Syracuse Truce directly focuses on the individuals engaged in this behavior.  As such, it represents the most cost-efficientive way of dealing with gun violence.

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April 2, 2013 · 2:24 pm