St. Louis Shaw Area Residents Raise Money For Crime Cameras

In St. Louis’ Shaw neighborhood, neighbors are making it their goal to put criminals in jail because they have had enough of violence. With this, they want to address the problem by raising money to put up security cameras.
 
An article by ksdk.com states that “The neighbors decided to bypass the bureaucracy of going through the city and fast-track their efforts for some immediate action.”
 
According to the article, “Tim Horwedel says enough is enough. Horwedel is an organizer of the effort to raise 4 thousand dollars to equip Shaw and Klemm with a camera system to be hooked into the city’s network of cameras, the real-time crime center.”
 
“Our goal in this project is to sort of identify people who were involved in major crimes and get them locked up, get them out of our community,” said Horwedel.
 
The article also states that “What happened at the corner of Shaw and Klemm has led to many things like marches and a memorial. It’s where a police report spells out how 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers pointed a gun and fired at an officer and died when the officer shot back. 
 
Since then, it’s been the site of more violence, a fatal double-shooting last month as well as another shooting the month before that broke out during a memorial service for Myers.”
 
However, it was also mentioned in the article that “Not everyone at the fundraiser Monday night had made up their minds as they weigh safety with privacy.”
 
Read the full article here — ksdk.com.
 
It is easy to understand why the neighborhood would come up with a plan to put up security cameras. First, nobody really wants to live with violence for the rest of their lives. And second, crime and violence come unexpected. You never know who could commit it and when they will strike. In fact, even in jail, some people can still think of committing crime and violence.
 
For example, in Edwardsville, a bond hearing for a murder defendant was ordered by a judge.
 
security cameras to fight crime in St. Louis
 
In an article by thetelegraph.com, “Eva Dean Heisch, 45, a former exotic dancer at a Washington Park club, is in the Madison County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, accused of first-degree murder and armed robbery of a 69-year-old man.
 
She needed $100,000 cash to get out of jail, pending trial, but court documents state she solicited another intended victim to cash in his investments and bring $100,000 cash to the jail. He was to post the case on Dec. 8, the document states.”
 
More specifically, the article states that according to the court documents, “On Dec. 5, two inmates in the Madison County Jail informed deputies that Eva told them that once she bonded out she was going to marry (the victim) use his medication to overdose and then take his money. The document also states that the intended victim did, in fact, come to the jail to post her bond.”
 
With this, according to the article, “The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office has filed an application for denial of bail, claiming that Heisch, of Collinsville, poses “a real and present threat to the physical safety of persons.” Prosecutors argued that no conditions of bail could reasonably assure the safety of any other person.
 
The State’s Attorney’s Office is asking that the bond be revoked, or that the bail be increased pending further hearing. Associate Judge Neil Schroeder ordered Heisch’s bond revoked and ordered further hearing on the matter.”
 
With the unpredictable nature of crime and violence in today’s society, and the increasing fearlessness of criminals whether they are in or out of jail, it is a must for both the community and the government to upgrade their efforts and their strategies in deterring crime and violence.

 

 

 


 
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Governor-Elect Greiten’s Wife Robbed In St. Louis, MO

 
The Greitens administration said on Tuesday that Sheena Greitens was on her way to a coffee shop near her home to do some work when the robbery incident took place. According to the couple, because of the incident on Monday night in St. Louis, Mo, their resolve to fight violent crimes in the state of Missouri has intensified. Greitens is planning to have a talk with the suspects’ families to discuss what the best thing do to to put a stop to children pursuing a life of crime.
 
According to an article by abc17news.com, “Governor-elect Eric Greitens and his wife, Sheena Greitens, vowed Tuesday to toughen up on crime in the state after Sheena Greitens was robbed at gunpoint Monday night.”
 
 
crime scene in st. louis mo
 
 

The governor told the reporters that “If we continue down our current path, it will continue to lead to more disorder, more lawlessness, more chaos, people living farther and farther apart from each other, divided by fear,”
 
The article also states that “Greitens told reporters when he got the phone call last night, his first thought was for his wife’s safety, his second was for justice.”
 
“I’m glad that the men and women of law enforcement found these young men before I did,” he said.
 
Moreover, the article gives a brief review about the incident that happened to the governor’s wife, stating that “According to the St. Louis Police Department, it happened just before 6:20 p.m. after Eric Greiten’s wife had left a restaurant in the 3900 block of West Pine Blvd. She was in her car looking at her phone, when her door was suddenly opened by a black male suspect. Police said he pointed a gun at her and demanded property. She gave him her laptop and phone. She told officers she saw several black males run from the scene.”
 
“We are also aware that what happened to me and my family last night happens to far too many people across the city and across the state,” Sheena Greitens said. “That cannot continue.”
 
With this, “We are, now more than ever, disturbed by the violence and chaos in our communities. And we are, now more than ever, focused on the mission of creating safer neighborhoods for all of our families and all of our children.” said Governor Greitens.
 
Read the full article here — abc17news.com.
 
Speaking of fighting violent crimes, justice can never be served if it is only one-sided justice. Along with crime-fighting and serving justice to the public, appropriate investigation must be conducted as well.
 
Kim Foxx, the cook county states attorney said in a brief interview with Sun-Times,  she believes her office should  arrive earlier during the investigation so as to make sure that it is done properly, and accurately, instead of just waiting for the investigation reports.  The top prosecutor is also hoping that more transparency be allowed, and this can be achieved by giving the public access to the case management database of the office.
 
In a recent article by chicago.suntimes.com, “Newly elected Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said on Monday that she plans to be more engaged in the early stages of investigations dealing with police-involved shootings instead of waiting until the Independent Police Review Authority complete its reports.”
“Again, not every police involved-shooting is unjustified. But certainly looking at the evidence after a long gap in time in investigations that you have not taken part in, I think, handicaps our ability to look at these cases in an efficient and effective way.” Foxx said.
 
Reports also said that, “Foxx, who beat out incumbent Anita Alvarez amidst criticism in the way she handled Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, has also vowed more accountability during her tenure by hiring ethics training and chief diversity officers.”
 
 


 
 

As long as those who are in power do their best to fight crime and conduct appropriate investigations, it is not impossible to create safer neighborhoods and serve justice to all.
 
 
 


 
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Man Dies In Jail Because He Could Not Post a $160 Bond

An allegedly drunk 54-year-old man who is diagnosed with a mental disorder was arrested by policemen in Calhoun, Georgia while walking down the road, supposedly a minor crime. Instead, the man spent a week in jail unable to pay the cash bond. Now the man is the center of a movement to dismantle the foundation of the American criminal justice system.
 
According to NBC News report “The man, Maurice Walker, spent a week in jail because he was unable to pay the $160 cash bond required of anyone arrested for “being a pedestrian under the influence of alcohol.
 
While he waited to see a judge, a civil rights law firm took up his case, filing a lawsuit that accused the city of violating the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection by keeping poor defendants accused of minor crimes jailed before trial.
 
The case drew interest around the country, with police and bondsmen siding with the city and the U.S. Department of Justice filing a brief in support of Walker. It has landed before a federal appeals court, where it is being watched as a potential bellwether for reform.”
 
Read full article at nbcnews.com
 
While the case above has drawn criticism about the defendant not being able to post a bail bond,a recent case in St. Louis, MO does not appear to drawing the same attention.Jo’Von Mitchell, will be face charges of armed criminal action and first-degree assault on a law officer that he shot on Thursday night in St. Louis County. The police officer, whose name was not revealed, was released after treatment for his two wounds on his left arm. Suspect’s cash bail will set at $250,000.
 
As reported in stltoday.com says that “Four officers went to his home in 10400 block of Royal Drive in Castle Point neighborhood of north St. Louis County, about 10:40 p.m. to arrest him on a warrant charging him with felony unlawful use of a weapon for allegedly firing a shot in his neighborhood that hit a vehicle on July 12. Nobody was hurt that time.After the officers knocked on his door, Mitchell came out a side door and starting shooting.”
 


 
Sgt. Shawn McGuire said “Officers did not have a chance to return fire before he went back inside. One officer used a patrol car to rush his wounded colleague to a hospital while the two others kept watch pending arrival of help. A tactical operations unit surrounded the home.At 2:15 a.m. Friday, Mitchell and two women came out voluntarily. The women were not held.”
 
Police Chief Jon Belmar says “The officer is ready to go back to work after treatment for two wounds in his left arm that might have been caused by one shot or two.” Belmar said he didnt know when the officer would return to duty and it’s possible that more charges might be filed against Mitchell later.
 
While bail is not designed to be a punishment, it is designed to encourage an individual to show up in court for any hearings until his or her case is disposed of. Whether or not cash bail, and when it is imposed is a violation of ones constitutional rights, is something that the courts will be weighing in on soon.
 
Featured image courtesy of nbc.com
 
 


 
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St. Louis Police Chief Drops Out of Mayoral Race To Focus On Crime Fighting

 
The police chief of St. Louis, Sam Dotson, recently made a decision to drop out of the mayoral race. Upon entering the race, Dotson was rebuked by Mayor Francis Slay, and because of that, he is now willing to direct his focus again towards fighting crime, just as the mayor advised. He was planning to announce his candidacy after the presidential election, however, the mayor publicly made an announcement, calling him out.
 
An article by riverfronttimes.com states that “Dotson said the mayor’s statement forced his hand, and he decided to announce early. He spent the following weeks defending his candidacy from rivals, including Alderman Antonio French, who insisted Dotson couldn’t both run a campaign and effectively police the city. French is also running for mayor.”
 
Dotson said “After giving this a great deal of thought, I decided I could best serve my city by staying on as chief, and not running for mayor,” he said. “Crime is the number one issue in our city. To combat it, we need less politics, not more.
 
Additionally, the article reports that “Dotson said Slay has urged him to work to stop violent crime.”
 
Instead of running for mayor, Mayor Slay urged me to focus on working with him to unite our city around a comprehensive plan to reduce the violence that is so corrosive to our city,” Dotson said. “This morning I told him I would.” 
 
To read more go to riverfronttimes.com.
 
With the numerous violent crimes committed in St. Louis, Mayor Slay probably cannot afford to lose one reliable police officer over a mayoral candidacy. With the lack of trusted crime-busting officials in St. Louis, there are already reports about homeowners trying to defend themselves from criminals. This is happening more and more around the St. Louis metropolitan area such as the case of a suspected car thief shot dead by the homeowner, reported by stltoday.com.
 
At about 1 a.m., Shawn Jimenez, 31, of Lake Saint Louis, is said to have tried stealing a homeowner’s  2009 Volkswagen Passat, where he was eventually found dead. The unnamed homeowner sustained no injuries. According to Chris DiGiuseppi’s account, he received a 911 call from a townhouse owner on Monterey Cyprus Drive at 12:51 a.m.
 
579ffb20d7b3f-image
 
To be more specific, basing on DiGiuseppi’s account, the article states that “At 12:51 a.m., a resident of a townhouse on Monterey Cyprus Drive called 911. He had heard his car alarm and went outside to confront a man trying to steal the car. He called to tell police shots had been fired and he needed assistance.”
 
Additionally, according to the report, “When officers arrived, they found the Passat about a block away, on Quail Meadows Court, where it had struck a home. In the driver’s seat was a man who had been shot. He died at the scene. Officials did not say if he was armed.”
 
The article also stated that the police are “investigating to determine whether the shooting was justified” and that police are also looking into “how the suspect got there and whether anyone else was involved, DiGiuseppi said.”
 
For a place in need of very urgent help when it comes to fighting violent crimes, Dotson is right when he said that St Louis needed less politics and more effective and dedicated policing. Citizens need to be able live their lives knowing they are safe and protected, instead of having to protect and defend themselves.

 

 

Featured image credit:Riverfronttimes.com

 


 
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Predictive Policing- Good or Bad For the Criminal Justice System?

 
In a period where people are gripped with fear of crime and violence, the words “predictive policing” are comforting to hear. They are a perfect combination of advanced technology and predicting human behavior, which are two of the current human obsessions nowadays. They are also believed to address crime-related issues that most countries in the Western World, particularly, the United States, are obsessing about. This can be observed by how law and order is being pushed in this year’s presidential campaign.
 
In a recent article published in the AEON blog about predictive policing, it states that “a system that effectively anticipated future crime could allow an elusive reconciliation, protecting the innocents while making sure that only the truly guilty are targeted.”
 
Additionally, reports say “based on statistical analysis of crime data and mathematical modeling of criminal activity, predictive policing is intended to forecast where and when crimes will happen. The seemingly unassailable goal is to use resources to fight crime and serve communities most effectively. Police departments and city administrations have welcomed this approach, believing it can substantially cut crime. William Bratton, who in September stepped down as commissioner of New York City’s police department – the nation’s biggest – calls it the future of policing.”
 
However, issues of concern also arise with regards to predictive policing. The article says that “the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has issued multiple warnings that predictive policing could encourage racial profiling, and could finger individuals or groups selected by the authorities as crime-prone, or even criminal, without any crime.”
 
More specifically, the article says “But even if predictive policing cuts crime as claimed, which is open to question, it raises grave concerns about its impact on civil rights and minorities.”
 
Read the full article here: aeon.co
 
Fighting and addressing crimes is important in order for citizens to be assured they are living in a safe community. Predictive policing may be necessary as long as it is implemented well and ensuring that all rights are being considered. This is not a process for authorities and courts to use as a means to convict a person even with poor evidence for racism reasons, like in the case of George Allen, who spent most of his life in jail for a crime not fully proven as his doing. While George Allen was eventually released from jail, it came a little too late.
 
According to an article published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, part of George Allen’s letter about his life in jail goes: “??Jail has stolen away my dreams … the truth is hard to swallow…with all the ferocious fighting in prison, your everyday dreams become far and few in between which is a low-down dirty shame…”?
 
58115bc4e3983-image
 
Allen, 60, died of natural causes last Oct. 16 and was laid to rest on Wednesday. He was found by his family in his bedroom. Allen faced murder and rape convictions even with very poor evidence, but he was freed after these convictions were reversed and spent four years of freedom before his death.
 
Allen’s mother, Lonzetta Taylor, 85, said, “??I prayed and cried for 29 years for God to let me see my son walk out of that prison.”
 
According to reports on his release, “George Allen is joined by family and supporters upon his release from prison in Jefferson City on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. A judge earlier in the month overturned Allen’s conviction in the murder of Mary Bell in St. Louis. Allen spent almost 30 years behind bars.”
 
While predictive policing might be the solution to reducing crime to the lowest rates, fair consideration and proper implementations should be observed to make the true criminals pay and the innocent be vindicated.

 

Featured image courtesy of govetech.com

 

 


 
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Getting Released From Jail Without Posting Bond May Soon Be a Reality

 
 
There are 9 counties in Indiana that will begin using special tools that will help them determine if someone can be released from jail without bail and not pose a threat to society. These reforms are expected to go into effect in all courts on Jan. 1, 2018. It wouldn’t be surprising to see these reforms make their way into the St. Louis area either. When, and if they do, if you are a bail bondsman in St. Louis, Mo this will most likely affect your business.
 
There are stories being reported about a stroke victim that died in jail, and he was only there for smoking pot. There is another circumstance where a Virginia man who was charged with a misdemeanor for smoking marijuana in his own home died in jail in after he could not afford $100 for bail.
 
An article in the Cleveland.com about bail reform says “Bail reform is about victims’ rights too, Pennsylvania officials say: Prominent Pennsylvania legal minds are calling on the state to reform broken bail systems that jail low-level, poor defendants while wealthier people convicted of more serious crimes pay their way out.
 
“It’s time to . . . stop locking up low-risk individuals who will be worse because they were locked up for being poor, not for being a risk to public safety,” Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections John E. Wetzel and Pennsylvania Victim Advocate Jennifer R. Storm wrote in a column for pennlive.com, in which they encouraged a panel that is examining the bail system to move forward with reforms.”
 
To read the full article go here cleveland.com
 
It is important to recognize that the bail reform proposed above seems to be only relevant to circumstances where the accused would not be a risk to public safety. It would not apply to circumstances in which the accused is charged with a violent crime or could be considered a danger to the community, like in sex trafficking crimes.
 
Over the past 10 years, law enforcement agencies from throughout the country have been faced with an upward trend of sex trafficking crimes at an alarming rate. It is common for these crimes to take place in hotel rooms, and often times the perpetrator will share the victim’s photos online. Washington University, located in St. Louis, MO has assembled a group of researchers that are using cutting edge technology and science to help prevent these crimes. They are using a high-tech approach to help combat the sex trafficking trade.
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A recent article at source.wustl.edu states “researchers from Washington University in St. Louis are using science to fight back, developing a high-tech approach to combat the sex trafficking trade. Teaming up with a nonprofit organization called the Exchange Initiative, Robert Pless, professor of computer science and engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and research associate/doctoral candidate Abby Stylianou have designed a new, web-based application that helps fight sex trafficking by targeting the places where the crimes usually occur.”

 

Robert Pless, professor of computer science and engineering at the school said “my lab works to create new ways of understanding and using images collected by webcams and smartphones.” Pless also said “In this project, we are working to build new technologies tools to fight sex trafficking — first, by making tools so everyone can contribute data to fight these horrible crimes; and second, by creating new image-analysis tools so law enforcement can best use these images in investigations.”

 

The app was described in the article as working as follows. “The app, called TraffickCam, allows travelers to upload images of their hotel rooms to a database. Law enforcement officers can search the database to pinpoint where a particular photo was taken, in order to track down where a victim has been. Developed by Pless and Stylianou to maximize the accuracy and usefulness of the imagery, TraffickCam is a user-friendly, high-tech approach that allows citizens to fight one of the fastest-growing and most heinous crimes in our country today.

 

TraffickCam is simple to download and use, and is available on both iPhones and Androids. Once installed, it allows travelers to easily take photos of their hotel rooms, provide an exact location, then upload the photos to the database, which is only accessible by law enforcement officers.”

 

While bail reform might be a good idea for petty crimes or possibly even in circumstances where the offender is not a danger to society, it is probably not a good idea to take the reform to far. People who commit serious crimes must be held accountable for their actions and justice must be served. The only way justice can be served is if the accused goes through due process in a court of law. Posting bail increases the chances that an individual will appear in court and justice will be served.

 


 
 
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St. Louis Police Officers To Pay $600,000 For Using Excessive Force During Arrest

Earlier this month a federal court jury decided that two St. Louis police officers must pay $600,000 in connection with an arrest they made in 2013 that involved the use of excessive force. A lawsuit was filed in 2014 by Calvin Fletcher who alleged the two St. Louis officers were part of a group of four involved in the incident. Calvin believes he was targeted because he was black and that the entire incident was a false arrest. He also says he was repeatedly shocked and tasered which resulted in broken bones and a damaged kidney. Calvin also alleged that video cameras in police cruisers were turned off on purpose so the incident would not be recorded. There is no mention if Fletcher needed or had to post bail.

According to an article in stltoday.com

“The officers named in the suit were Joseph Tomlinson, Joseph Carroll, Nicholas Martorano and John Moton. Fletcher won a verdict against Martorano and Moton for $600,000, which included $200,000 in actual damages and $400,000 in punitive damages. No damages were awarded in the case against Carroll or Tomlinson.

All but Moton are white. Tomlinson left the force not long after the incident and moved out of town. He could not be reached for comment. The others remain with the department.

Martorano testified that he used a Taser, and Moton testified he struck Fletcher in the leg.

The lawsuit initially named Corizon, a company that provides health care in the St. Louis Justice Center, and the city of St. Louis as defendants. Fletcher’s lawyer, Phillip Tatlow, said he dropped the case against Corizon and signed a confidentiality agreement about the terms.

He said he separately stopped pursuing a case against the city of St. Louis because he could not prove a pattern of police abuse.”

It is circumstances like this that have many people calling for the abolition of law enforcement. While that it probably not the smartest idea, and not very likely to happen, there are still those that are outspoken critics of the police. One of those people seems to be Jessica Disu. In an article published in the Chicago reader, Disu recently appeared on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly show to talk about the recent killings of several black men and police officers.

policeabolition

According to the article Disu said “I was under the impression that it would be a robust and productive conversation, even though it was Fox News,” says 27-year-old Disu, who identifies herself as a “humanitarian rap artist and peace activist” and is involved with various organizations serving youth on the south side. She prepared her message before going on the show: “It should be against the law for an officer to shoot a civilian,” she says. “That was what my message was supposed to be.”

The story goes on to report “the discussion quickly turned raucous, with panelists shouting over each other as Kelly called on participants to answer polemical questions in quick succession. Disu sat quietly, occasionally rolling her eyes, scoffing, laughing, or nodding in agreement. “A lot of my buttons were triggered and pressed,” she recalls. “This felt so comical to me—it felt like a minstrel show.”

But then people began accusing Black Lives Matter activists of calling for the death of cops, and Disu couldn’t hold her tongue

“This is the reason our young people are hopeless in America,” she began, as other panelists bickered around her. She explained that her activism in Chicago focuses on intracommunity violence. “Here’s a solution,” Disu said firmly. “We need to abolish the police.” Read more at chicagoreader.com

Whether you are pro law enforcement or anti-law enforcement there is no doubt that law enforcement practices are under fire, and are a hotly debated political topic. I believe the vast majority of law enforcement officers are good people with their heart in the right place. As such, I’d like to end this post with a tribute to the Dallas police officers who recently lost their lives in the line of duty. The video above is a great tribute.

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