The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Double shooting early Sunday morning





Shootings have moved to Plainfield's east end, with a report of a double shooting at 12:30 AM today.

Two males, known to police as gang members, were shot near East 2nd Street and Johnston Avenue; the wounds are said to be non-life-threatening.

Further, I am told the county's
street crimes unit, which spent a few days here several weeks ago, has been disbanded.

Police are feeling understaffed (with firings, suspensions, injuries, retirements and vacations, one estimate is the force is 30 officers below strength -- which would put it around 120 effective officers) and morale is suffering with all the turmoil in the division.

Additionally, cops point out to me that although the Housing Authority has been hiring off-duty cops for patrol and security for several years, it is not every night, and the job often has gone uncovered for lack of interest. The camera system already in place is viewed as OK by officers, but is used only to try and identify persons of interest AFTER AN INCIDENT as there is no funding to have people sit and watch the monitors.

The City's talk about cameras has been on-again, off-again for years. Originally investigated at the insistence of the downtown merchants and the late Charles Billups of the East 6th Street Block Association, the Council has yet to be presented with an actual feasibility study with cost estimates.

After Mayor Robinson-Briggs spent $460,000 on outfitting the basement of Tepper's (in June 2007, with a federal grant that was about to expire), there was talk of using the space for the closed-circuit camera system, but no action ever ensued.

Meanwhile, the mayor is calling for 100 male volunteers to meet at City Hall Monday at 6:30 PM to plan a march through the city's violence-prone areas.

Women need not come out?




-- Dan Damon [follow]

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

In the spirit of offering suggestions beyond what has already been done/considered (curfew, security feasibility study, assigning more detectives, requesting State and Federal law enforcement assistance, etc.), has the following been considered:

* Has anyone or organization, with gang-intervention expertise, tried to negotiate a truce between the two warring sets? This has been done in other cities with a measure of success in reducing and/or eliminating gang-related violence. As an example, check this link out: http://www.gripe4rkids.org/index.html [I'm not endorsing this group. Don't know anything about them. Just illustrates what I'm suggesting].

* Have public housing property owners been asked to contribute to or pay for the cost for surveillance systems to protect their own property?

* Not enough personnel to man surveillance systems 24/7? What about asking for volunteers? Do a background check, provide basic surveillance training and deputize them. There should be a lot of former and/or retired military, law enforcement and the like willing to volunteer their time during this crisis.

* Don't know if this is legal but, as done with registered sex-offenders, create a gang member registry for confirmed Plainfield gang members and place their pictures, gang affiliation and addresses online so citizens can effectively identify and report gang activity.

* Do gangs fall under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-rico.htm)? This would raise the criminal and civil penalties associated with being a gang member and the parent(s) of gang members who are juveniles. Fight fire with more fire.

* Curfews, 100-man marches and the like are short-term/temporary measures. Gangs have been growing in Plainfield and surrounding communities for years. What long-term measures/programs are in place to deal with gangs? Why does it always take for someone to get shot or killed before anything is done?

* Enact legislation that strips gangs of their precious identity (colors, cars, etc.). With the court's blessing, I believe Los Angeles made the wearing/displaying of the Mongols MC cut/colors illegal, i.e., anything from colors worn by members to bikes to clubhouses were subject to immediate seizure if the Mongols' logo was displayed. They were stripped of their identity. Do the same with gang colors, clothing, paraphernalia/jewelry and the like.

Anon

Anonymous said...

I was at Muhlenburg Hospital this morning and saw the police there. I was told that two people got stabbed and had to take a taxi to the hospital.

Bob said...

Anonymous has some good ideas, but don't expect much from this mayor. If it's not buying votes with food giveaways or a bake sale, she's not much with original ideas. She and Jerry Green were responsible for our lack of a police chief and keeping Hellwig, who is ineffective and allowed to get away with actions that others have lost their jobs for. Let's hope this administration can get their act together. Out safety depends on it and who would want to moved into this city now?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Curtis Sliwa offer, at one time, to come to Plainfield with the Guardian Angles to help 'police" the streets only to be turned down by Sharon??

Anonymous said...

How about this? Send out an announcement, wide spread, everywhere. All men who want to prove themselves and qualify for gang membership come to Cedar Brook Park at 2 am, some night or other. Tell them to come armed. Then let them shoot it out and get it over with. Make sure that people in the surrounding neighborhoods know to keep their heads down that night.
Life sucks, and people will do what they have to do to feel like they belong: Church; gangs; politics; the military; marriage. It's all the same. This will never end until someone answers the big question, "why does life suck so much, and what can anyone do to make that better?"

Anonymous said...

It is not the loss of the "Chief" that has created the mess in the P.D. but rather a lack of leadership created by the depleation

of command level officers(see Springfield).The Chief was let go for valid reasons.The demotions which followed at the direection of the unqulified and incompatant Director are the major reason for the depatment not handling the current situation well.