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Crime And Law Enforcement

WNYC News

Police: Sandy Flooding May Have Damaged Evidence

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sandy may have wiped out DNA and other physical evidence stored at a facility in Brooklyn, police officials said Tuesday.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

New York's Crime Lessons

Monday, December 12, 2011

Frank Zimring, professor of law and criminal justice at UC-Berkeley and the author of The City that Became Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control, studied New York City's drop in crime for lessons about policing and drug enforcement for other cities. 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Crown Heights: Guns and Crime

Thursday, September 08, 2011

NY State Senator Eric Adams (D 20th) talks about the outbreak of gun violence over the weekend and why many are calling for fewer stop-and-frisks.

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The Takeaway

Documentary Reveals Systemic Failures at Coroners' Offices

Monday, January 31, 2011

Every day, nearly 7,000 people in America die. And when the deaths are unexpected, sudden or suspicious, it’s presumed that a thorough investigation will take place.

Though you might expect a thorgough and high-level investigation from TV shows like CSI, the reality is quite different. In over 1,300 counties across the United States, elected coroners are in charge of death investigations — many with no medical or scientific background. To run for coroner in most counties, all you need is a high school diploma.

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The Takeaway

DNA Evidence Exonerates 21st Prisoner in Dallas, Texas

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What if you found yourself accused of a crime you didn’t commit? What if the only thing standing between you and freedom was your word against the word of the victim? What if the court ruled against you? Craig Watkins feels that scenario happens far too often in our country, and since he was elected district attorney of Dallas, Texas, he’s done everything he can to correct those mistakes.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Killer of Little Shepherds

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Douglas Starr, codirector of the Center for Science and Medical Journalism, recounts the birth of the field of modern forensics in his book, The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Modern Forensics. It gives an account of serial murderer Joseph Vacher, known as the killer of "little shepherds," and the desperate search by police in France to stop his terrifying killing spree.

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The Takeaway

True Second Chances Rare for Convicted Felons

Thursday, December 30, 2010

President Obama stirred some controversy recently by calling Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to commend him for giving Michael Vick a second chance, after Vick was released from prison for his involvement in an illegal dogfighting ring. Some were far on the other side of the Vick story, like pundit Tucker Carlson, who suggested that Vick should have been executed for his crimes. Outside of the public debate, many who work with formerly incarcerated Americans say that Vick is very lucky — and that second chances are rare.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Google Street View

Friday, November 12, 2010

Google street view was used to nab drug suspects in East Williamsburg this week. Kim Zetter, technology writer for wired.com, adresses the nature of the technology used, and the implications of its use for law-enforcement.

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The Takeaway

Race and the 'Flint Serial Killer'

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Police believe there is a serial killer on the loose in the vicinity of Flint, Michigan. Law enforcement officials say they believe the killer to be responsible for the deaths of five men as well as attacks on more than a dozen others. All but two of the attacker's victims were black, but authorities in Michigan are not saying the motives of the killer are racial. The attacker may also be involved in a spate of recent attacks in Virginia and Ohio.

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The Takeaway

Serial Killer Arrest Ignites Ethical Debate Over Familial DNA Searches

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Last week, a California serial killer was caught after his son was convicted of a felony weapons charge. A DNA lab was able to discover a genetic link between the son's DNA and evidence from old crime scenes, which led them to investigate Lonnie D. Franklin, Jr.  Franklin has allegedly killed at least 10 people in California over the last 25 years. The police made the connection through the state’s familial search program, which allows police to take DNA from a crime scene and compare it to millions of DNA samples in a database. If there is even a partial match, police can get leads to the criminal by way of a family member.

The search has also raised ethical questions. Critics say it could lead to a form of racial profiling, because a higher proporation of inmates are African American, and linking their DNA to their family members could wrongly lead to suspicions of others in the black community.

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The Takeaway

Investigating Nail Salons as Cover For Sex and Labor Trafficking

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Today our partner WGBH Radio begins an investigative series about the growing national and international criminal enterprise of human and sexual trafficking, and examines how nail salons in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are being used to hide and legitimize illegal activities. Women are being trafficked to work in salons during the day and then pulled into prostitution at night, and because a salon is a cash-based business, it is a perfect place to launder the money brought in through prostitution. 

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The Takeaway

Tensions High On US-Mexico Border After Fatal Shooting of Mexican Teen

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tension is growing along the American border with Mexico after a U.S. border agent shot and killed a 15-year-old Mexican boy on Monday evening. The incident, which took place near the El Paso border crossing, is complicated by the fact that U.S. authorities, Mexican authorities and eyewitnesses all tell different accounts of the incident. The U.S. says the teen was with a group of youths who threw rocks at border agents while they were trying to arrest two illegal migrants. Mexican authorities have condemned the shooting, calling it excessive use of force.

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The Takeaway

Aiding Suicide... With Words?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A former nurse appears in court in Minnesota this morning charged with two counts of aiding suicide. His weapon? Words. For years, William Melchert-Dinkel, 47, allegedly spent hours in online chat rooms with suicide themes, posing as a young female nurse and befriending vulnerable people contemplating suicide. He encouraged them to end their own lives, gave them tips on how to do it, and entered into suicide pacts with some - pacts police say he never intended to keep. At least two of the people he advised took their own lives – a 32-year-old British man in 2005, and an 18-year-old college student in Canada in 2008. Now Melchert-Dinkel is being charged with their deaths.

 

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The Takeaway

SEC Brings Fraud Suit Against Goldman Sachs

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Friday the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a civil suit against Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, after uncovering what the SEC calls significant evidence of fraud during the run-up to the current financial crisis.

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The Takeaway

American Children Victims of Human Trafficking

Friday, February 12, 2010

For most Americans, human trafficking is a horrific practice that nearly always seems to happen overseas and far away. However, a recent report by the Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission says about 1,000 American-born children are forced into the sex trade every year in Ohio alone.

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The Takeaway

Despite Recession, National Crime Stats Down

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The FBI is reporting that crime fell nationally in the first six months of 2009, when compared to the same time last year. The decline happening in the midst of a terrible recession and high unemployment. With those factors, people usually expect crime to increase... So what's going on? To help answer that is New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. And while crime went down nationally it also rose someplace you might not expect it to – Seattle, WA. Jonah Spangenthal-Lee from SeattleCrime.com looks at why Seattle's crime is rising.

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The Takeaway

Immigration Enforcement, Prosecutions Up Sharply

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The rate of federal prosecutions is at an all-time high, showing an increase of nine percent since last year. According to a new study by Syracuse University's TRAC project, this increase is primarily related to an increase in arrests of immigration violators. We talk with John Schwartz of The New York Times and Valeria Fernández of the Feet in 2 Worlds Program about the increase, and what it signifies for the Obama administration's stance towards immigration reform.

Read John Schwartz's article in The New York Times.

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The Takeaway

One Year After Madoff's Arrest

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hard to believe, but it's been one year since Ponzi scheme 'mastermind' Bernie Madoff was arrested for scamming over $50 billion from investors. We thought it'd be the perfect time to check in and see how Madoff's victims and associates are doing, one year after his arrest. Aaron Lucchetti is a reporter for The Wall Street Journal whose latest article says the Madoff sons are having an incredibly hard time finding themsleves new jobs. Cynthia Crane was one of Madoff's many victims; she decided to adapt her story for the theatre in a show titled, "John Denver, Bernie Madoff, and Me."

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The Takeaway

'Sexting,' Cyberbullying and Other Digital Dangers

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This week Facebook announced the formation of a new Safety Advisory Board to monitor online crimes, such as cyber-bullying and stalking.  That announcement got us thinking about the people most likely to use those sites, and the most vulnerable to those crimes: teenagers. 

The issue becomes even more serious when you consider the statistics.  According to a new survey conducted by MTV and the Associated Press, almost half of sexually active young people report being involved in sexting, or sending nude photos of themselves or their sexual partners via cell phone.

 Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist at The Pew Research Center’s The Internet and American Life Project and Bryan Taylor, Unit Chief for Crimes Against Persons in the Canyon County Prosecutors Office, say that these digital-world problems are on the rise and educating kids about them is the only way to prepare them.

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The Takeaway

Baltimore Mayor Convicted of Gift Card Theft

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon has been convicted of one count of embezzlement. Dixon was found guilty of stealing around $630 worth of gift cards intended for needy families in Baltimore, then using the cards at stores like Target and Old Navy. Though the charge was only a misdemeanor, Dixon could be forced from office. We're joined by Marc Steiner, host of The Marc Steiner show on WEAA. He's a long-time Baltimore resident and he's been taking the pulse of a city that has, at times, been deeply divided over the mayor's trial.

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