iPhone app is replacing the police notebook in New York

Why the N.Y.P.D. Dropped One of Its Oldest Crime-Fighting Tools
Officers’ most-used item since the 1800s isn’t the gun or handcuffs, but the handwritten activity log. Now an iPhone app is replacing it.

For more than a century, the New York City Police Department has required its officers to keep a detailed, handwritten memo book while on patrol.

“It’s basically our bible,” said Officer Ramses Cruz, who joined a platoon of officers writing down patrol assignments in oversize black leather binders at a recent afternoon roll call at the 90th Precinct Station House in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Corey Kilgannon, NY TImes

‘Criminals and thugs have laid claim to downtown’: Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses and other Seattleites share their frustrations

I have worked on Third Avenue since 1996. During this time, I watched Third Avenue become an open-air market of drugs and stolen goods, and other criminal activities. I have witnessed shoplifting at nearly every store; stores close due to shoplifting; people defecate in the streets; people injecting heroin; and untreated addiction and mental illness cause heartbreaking misery. My suburban friends have stopped coming downtown.

Criminals and thugs have laid claim to downtown, and Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best have done little or nothing to thwart criminal activity that I, or any other brave Seattle citizen, can witness — night or day — by walking Third Avenue between Pike and Pine.

Letters to the Editor, Seattle Times

see also:
Downtown Seattle businesses and employees scared, frustrated after latest shooting

Yet some employees and managers said these new measures would do little to address the deeper problems that have made the several-block area between Pike Street and Denny Way — an area nicknamed “The Blade” — into a magnet for criminals and drug dealers as well as people struggling with homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues. Many described a sense of powerlessness in the face of a constant presence of petty criminals who often seem to operate with impunity.

Seattle Times

You know it’s a good time to move when you get this email.

I’m out of here. 

January 19, 2020

Dear Residents:

We unfortunately must inform you of a troubling occurrence that took place in the community on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Certain unidentified youth gained access to the community’s clubhouse for an unauthorized gathering during which gunshots were fired and one or two individuals were injured. The __Denver Police Dept. are currently conducting an investigation and if you have any information that might assist in the investigation, please contact the ___Denver Police Dept.___ at [REDACTED].

Unfortunately, crime has no zip code and is a problem that affects all communities. Awareness is one major way of deterring crime so we ask that you immediately report any criminal or suspicious activity by calling your local law enforcement agency, or by dialing 911 IN AN EMERGENCY. It is imperative that you call the police before contacting the management office, as time spent contacting the management office will only delay police response time. Only after reporting a matter to the police should you notify the management office of any incident.

Tabulating Crime, Difficulties With

The first problem with understanding crime is that measuring it is harder than it sounds. The Department of Justice approaches the problem in two ways. The F.B.I.’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, or U.C.R., solicits data from about twenty thousand law-enforcement agencies around the country. Simultaneously, the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, or N.C.V.S., interviews about a hundred and fifty thousand nationally representative citizens, asking them whether they have been victims of a crime.

Both datasets have problems. An obvious one is that there’s no consensus about what counts as criminal activity. In some jurisdictions, only offenses worthy of incarceration are considered crimes. In others, fined infractions also count. (Is speeding a crime? What about manspreading, for which one can be fined seventy-five dollars in Los Angeles?) Because the U.C.R. draws its data from investigators, and the N.C.V.S. relies on victims, they can present starkly different pictures of crime. According to the U.C.R., the incidence of rape nearly doubled from 1973 to 1990. The N.C.V.S., by contrast, shows that it declined by around forty per cent during the same period. Researchers at Vanderbilt University looked into the discrepancy; they found that the upward trend in the U.C.R. data correlated with upticks in the number of female police officers, and with the advent of rape crisis centers and reformed investigative styles. It could be, in short, that a modernized approach to the policing of rape drastically increased the frequency with which it was reported while reducing its incidence. But coherent stories like these only sometimes emerge from the conflicting data.

Matthew Hutson, New Yorker

Sentencing Reform in Oklahoma

TAFT, Okla. — Julie Faircloth walked out of an Oklahoma prison near the head of a line of nearly 70 women who were freed on Monday, as part of one of the largest single-day releases of prisoners in the nation’s history.

They were greeted by screams of joy from relatives who had gathered outside the prison, a minimum-security facility southeast of Tulsa. Hugging first her mother, then her husband, Ms. Faircloth, 28, said she was overwhelmed. “I can’t even put words to it,” she said.

Across Oklahoma on Monday, 462 inmates doing time for drug possession or similar nonviolent crimes had their sentences commuted as the first step in an effort by state officials to shed the title of the nation’s incarceration capital.

 

Voters forced the hand of Oklahoma lawmakers in 2016 when, by a wide margin, they approved a plan to shrink prison rolls by downgrading many felonies to misdemeanors, including simple drug possession and minor property crimes.

Nearly 500 Prisoners Freed on a Single Day
Oklahoma has one of the nation’s highest incarceration rates, but a law downgrading minor crimes is the first step in an effort to change that.
Kristi Eaton and Richard A. Oppel Jr.
NY Times