Striking Disparities in Neighborhood Violence

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Izaakb/City Limits

Last week Mayor de Blasio attended the NYPD's weekly crime statistics session, a response to the uptick in violence this summer. That uptick has to be seen in context—the number of shootings, murders and other crimes is still way, way lower than it was not just in The Bad Old Days but even just a few years.

What is striking though, when one digs a little deeper into the shooting statistics is how uneven they are across the city. No, it's not surprising that some areas have more crime than others. What is a little shocking is that, even in a bloodier summer, so many areas have absolutely no reported gun violence.

The Death and Life of Stop-and-Frisk

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Fxp42/City Limits

Back in 2007 or so when the uproar over stop-and-frisk was just picking up, the NYPD made a point of referring to it as the "stop, question and frisk" program—to emphasize that the strategy was not focused on patting people down, but rather allowing police officers to ask questions of people who came under suspicion.

A new report by the New York Civil Liberties Union looks back on the whole history of stop-and-frisk (or stop-and-question-and-frisk) and reveals that among the more than 5 million stops the NYPD made from 2003 through 2013, 52 percent involved a frisk.

Resisting Arrest: Is There a Trend?

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Michael Fleischhacker/City Limits

Police commissioner William Bratton told the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC yesterday that there's a trend of people resisting arrest.

"What we’re seeing … over the last several months [is] a number of individuals just failing to understand that you must submit to an arrest, that you cannot resist it," Bratton said.

Is there such a trend?

According to data provided to by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, there was a spike is arrests for NY Penal Code section 205.30, resisting arrest, between February and March, a drop in April, and another jump in May before a decline in June.

Report Finds 'Epidemic' of Aging in Prison

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Peter Greenberg/City Limits

The guard tower at Sing Sing Correctional Facility on the banks of the Hudson in Ossining.
The aging of people behind bars is "a national human-made epidemic decades in the making" associated with a swelling fiscal impact and a spreading moral stain, according to a report released Thursday by the Osborne Association.

The prison population aged 55 or older quadrupled from 1995 to 2010 and is expected to represent a third of the entire prison census by 2030, "amounting to a staggering 4,400 percent increase over a 50-year span," the report found. "Even as crime has drastically declined and the U.S. prison population has begun to shrink, the aging prison population continues to rise at a disproportionate rate."

What Was the Bloomberg Admin. Saying About Jail Violence?

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Jarrett Murphy/City Limits

The devastating Times investigation of violence at Rikers Island and yesterday's chilling U.S. Attorney's report on the same might make one wonder why the deteriorating conditions in the city's jails didn't send up red flags or set off alarm bells during, say, the 2011-2013 period covered by Preet Bharara's probe.

Cloudy Views On Broken-Windows Policing

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Tomas Castelazo/City Limits

Everybody knows what Immaculate Conception is. They must because they reference it all the time. Except they often get it wrong. People will jokingly allude to Immaculate Conception when describing someone being born without their parents having, you know, done it. But that's not Immaculate Conception, it's Virgin Birth, which the Bible says occurred in Jesus's case. Immaculate Conception refers to Mary—that's Jesus's mom, for the uninitiated—having been born (after being conceived the traditional way) without original sin. The confusion is enough to drive an ex-Catholic to prayer.

Some Police Agencies Revive Restraints Involving Neck

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USMC/City Limits

Troops in training demonstrate a lateral vascular neck restraint, or LVNR.
Outrage over the death last week of Eric Garner while in police custody hasn’t been echoed on listservs and bulletin boards frequented by police officers and their supporters. "Looking at this video, there is no criminal action on the part of the officer(s) in my opinion," wrote one poster at Thee Rant, where some posters disparaged the dead man and there was general concern that the cop at the center of the case might be unfairly blamed for Garner's demise.

There’s no way to tell whether the posters at sites like Thee Rant are cops, retired cops, wannabes, buffs or trolls. But one post raised a question that may resonate as the uproar over Garner’s death lives on.

NYC Pols React, Unevenly, to Mideast Violence

New York City—a tourist magnet and center of global finance boasting a large immigrant population, a number of major international organizations and a history of being targeted by foreign terrorists—is a place where international politics and local sentiment regularly run into each other on the sidewalk.

This is especially true when it comes to Middle Eastern affairs. Rudy Giuliani once threw PLO leader Yasser Arafat out of a concert at Lincoln Center. Mike Bloomberg had to retreat to a Sderot bomb shelter on a mayoral visit to Israel. Shortly after taking office, Bill de Blasio told a pro-Israel lobby group he saw defending the Jewish state as one of his duties as mayor.

Clashing Claims at Heart of '90 Murder Case Under Review

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Jarrett Murphy/City Limits

Lawyers for an incarcerated man hope a state judge will permit a hearing on the dueling recollections of several witnesses to what happened in this subway stations nearly 24 years ago.
Many of the players in the case of the man who says he was wrongly convicted of a 1990 murder have changed their story over the years. The question at the heart of the latest filing by attorneys for Johnny Hincapie is which versions ought to be accepted, and which should be dismissed.

Hincapie, 41, is one of seven men convicted in the killing of Brian Watkins, a young Utah tourist who died defending his family from a pack of teenaged muggers in a killing that came to epitomize the fear and disorder of early 1990s New York. Currently serving a sentence of 25-years-to-life, Hincapie claims he was not part of the mugging but made a false confession to the crime after mistreatment by NYPD detectives. He hopes to vacate his conviction.

CL Honored for Story on How Parents' Arrests Affect Kids

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Klaus with K/City Limits

Twenty-five years ago, one out of every 125 children in the United States had an incarcerated parent. Today, that number is one out of every 28. It's easy to imagine the effects on a child of having a parent behind bars for years. But what about the moment when it begins, when mom or dad is in handcuffs?

Such was the focus of Rachel Blustain's April 2013 article, "Pushing Cops to Consider Kids When Arresting Parents," which won first place in the "best article on a social issue" category at last night's Ippie Awards, run by the Center for Community and Ethnic Media at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.

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