crime

    Elmore Leonard, who died Tuesday at age 87 from complications from a recent stroke, influenced an entire generation of crime writers with his gritty crime novels and shoot-'em up Westerns. Works like “Get Shorty,” “Freaky Deaky” and “Glitz” established him as a modern master of American genre writing. His novels were often adapted for the large and small screen, including a short story, “Fire in the Hole” which was adapted for television as the FX show “Justified” which won a Peabody Award in 2011 in its second season.

Joe Donahue speaking with Elmore Leonard on the occasion of the publication of Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. We re-air a portion of that interview in memoriam.

City of Springfield

More Massachusetts state troopers will be deployed to Springfield in response to an uptick in gun violence this summer. Funding was previously approved by the Massachusetts legislature

Members of the Massachusetts State Police Community Action Team will be assigned to Springfield following a personal appeal Monday, in writing and on the telephone, to the head of the state police from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

    Falling Back is a new book based based on over three years of ethnographic research with black and Latino males on the cusp of adulthood and incarcerated at a rural reform school designed to address “criminal thinking errors” among juvenile drug offenders.

State University at Albany professor Jamie Fader observed these young men as they transitioned back to their urban Philadelphia neighborhoods, resuming their daily lives and struggling to adopt adult masculine roles.

She looks to portray the complexities of human decision-making as these men strove to “fall back,” or avoid reoffending, and become productive adults. Jamie Fader is an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University at Albany, SUNY.

WAMC

A program that has reduced recidivism rates was praised today by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.  The governor toured the program operated by the office of Hampden County Sheriff  Michael Ashe. 

Since 2007, the Hampden County Sheriff’s office has operated a one-stop center for newly released inmates. Located in a nondescript one- story brick building in a tough Springfield neighborhood, the center helps former inmates transition back into the community with a range of support services.

Wikimedia Commons/Kadellar

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City police have given an all-clear after an abandoned vehicle closed the Brooklyn Bridge at the tail end of the Memorial Day long weekend.

Police say the Dodge Durango found stopped along the Manhattan-bound side of the span had no license plates when they investigated Monday evening.

Investigators say they received the call around 5:15 p.m. and halted traffic in both directions around 6 p.m. Police gave the all-clear as of 7 p.m.

WAMC

An anti-crime task force was  launched on Friday to help almost 50 mostly small towns in western Massachusetts combat drugs, guns and gangs. 

   The members of the task force, most of whom will be working undercover, were sworn in Friday at the Northampton office of the Northwestern District Attorney.  The top priority is to disrupt the distribution of drugs, which District Attorney David Sullivan said is at the root of most crime in Hampshire and Franklin Counties.

wikipedia commons

Police in Springfield Massachusetts are expanding the use of gunshot detection technology.

   The area of Springfield now covered by the  gun shot detection system has been roughly doubled. The expansion was paid for by $120,000 in private donations collected by the New North Citizens Council as part of the civic organization’s safe neighborhood initiative. Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet said the technology can put police on a crime scene in time to make an arrest and seize a gun

    James “Whitey” Bulger is to crime in the latter half of the twentieth century what Al Capone was to the first. Journalist, Kevin Cullen, is the co-author of a new portrait of Bulger, from his criminal beginnings as a neighborhood tough to his nine years in federal prison—including Alcatraz—for bank robbery.

Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice is the story of how Bulger became the most wanted person in America and evaded capture for nearly two decades.

Wikimedia Commons / Lee Brimelow

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The lawyer for one of three men charged with a Berkshire County triple slaying has asked a judge to move his client's trial out of the county because "incessant" and "inflammatory" media coverage has "impaired" the ability to get a fair trial.

Prison Bars
Gemma Longman Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York officials project the state's prisons will shed 1,000 more inmates over the next four years, partly because of relaxed drug laws.

That follows a 25 percent drop since 1999.

The inmate population is below 55,000 after peaking at more than 72,000 in 1999 under the harsh Rockefeller-era drug laws.

WAMC

Four teenagers have been arrested for the rape of an 18 year old UMass Amherst student in a campus residence hall.  University officials say they’ll undertake a comprehensive review of security.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

Concerned about a recent string of arsons, and violent crime in their streets, people who call the city of Troy’s north-central neighborhood home came together for a meeting last night at a church in Lansingburgh. The focus of the gathering was what people can do about these problems. Danielle Sanzone is a reporter for The Record newspaper, and was at the meeting that was organized after the fires and crimes. She spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

WAMC

        Massachusetts is going to have a so-called “ three strikes” crime law.  Governor Deval Patrick says he will sign a controversial crime bill aimed at keeping repeat violent criminals off the streets. People working to prevent violence in one western Massachusetts city say the real solution to improved public safety is community partnerships.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

The Massachusetts Legislature has rejected Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed amendment to a bill barring parole for three-time violent felons, leaving the fate of the bill in doubt as the legislative session nears an end.

Patrick's so-called "safety valve" amendment would have given limited discretion to judges to grant parole to felons after serving two-thirds of their maximum prison sentence or after serving 25 years of a life sentence.

The House rejected the amendment on a 132-23 vote on Monday. The Senate defeated it on a voice vote.

To combat crime  a number of police departments across the county are using a counterinsurgency strategy similar to what US troops used in Iraq.   The tactics are different, but the idea is to build community support and trust and take away the safe havens for the gangs and drug dealers.  Springfield Massachusetts is one city that has seen success with the strategy.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

A new law in Albany County is aimed at making it harder for thieves to sell stolen merchandise. The law, approved last night by the county legislature, will place new mandates on pawn shops and jewelers in Albany County. Also, sellers must be at least 18 year old. County lawmaker, Democrat Gary Domalewicz , is  the lead sponsor of the legislation. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

WAMC

An inner city neighborhood once lost to blight and crime has undergone a transformation that officials believe could serve as a model  for the entire country.  The neighborhood revitalization  in Springfield Massachusetts required substantial public financing, without which officials insist it could not have happened.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

We speak about Most Wanted: Pursuing Whitey Bulger, the Murderous Mob Chief the FBI Secretly Protected with Thomas J. Foley, a former Massachusetts state police colonel and the investigator who sparked Bulger’s flight from Boston.

Several top law enforcement officials in Western Massachusetts met Monday to explore new strategies for crime prevention.  WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports…

At a conference in Springfield, the retired police chief of High Point North Carolina, James Fealy said his department implemented a strategy of strong community partnerships and focused deterrence to shut down open air drug markets.   The result, violent crime over the last decade is down 47 percent in High Point.

“There’s been dramatic impact.”

WAMC

Law enforcement officials and community leaders from the greater Springfield Massachusetts area met Monday to consider ways to deter crime.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

 

      Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni  believes a policing model that employs strong community partnerships and focused deterrence can be a successful strategy  to reduce violence in high crime areas of Springfield and Holyoke.

A series of proposals aimed at cracking down on crime are pending before the city council in western Massachusetts' largest city. Several of the public safety initiatives proposed in Springfield are intended to reduce illegal guns, and are being considered in the aftermath of recent horrific gun violence. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

  Law enforcement is slowly embracing social media as a crime
fighting tool. The latest example was announced Monday in Northampton
Massachusetts, as we hear from WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul
Tuthill.

        The Northwestern District Attorney, David Sullivan announced the
launch of a text-a-tip program designed to help police solve crimes in
the 47 cities and towns in Hampshire and Franklin counties.

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