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swimmer8866

Crime and justice in the Triangle

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This person was taken into custody by the police 5 times from the beginning of January 2008 and late Feb 2008! Each time he was let go! Sorry I am from a different area of the country and I must say the awful system down south breeds this stuff. He should never have been walking the streets on March 5th. Period. How many more of these types of people like Lovette are walking the streets of the Triangle tonight?

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This thread needs to be deleted, but before it is....."awful system down south"??.....that is so completely ridiculous I am stunned that anyone actually thinks those types of things. If anything Justice in America needs to rebuilt from the bottom up. People write volumes on this topic.

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This person was taken into custody by the police 5 times from the beginning of January 2008 and late Feb 2008! Each time he was let go! Sorry I am from a different area of the country and I must say the awful system down south breeds this stuff. He should never have been walking the streets on March 5th. Period. How many more of these types of people like Lovette are walking the streets of the Triangle tonight?

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There is a point about the incompetent/corrupt morons that run the police department/courts in Durham. I used to have the "this happens everywhere" attitude but the critical mass of disgustingness that surrounds this town and its criminal justice system is too much to ignore. One point that should be made though as well is that press covers the sensational murders and generally ignores the typical low-life on low-life crime that exists everyday. No one cares if a crackhead murders another crackhead-only when it drifts into your neighborhood does anyone care.

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I'm going to let this go for now because I think the topic is relevant given events of the last week. Be advised to keep things above board please, and be respectful of other's opinions. If things get out of hand, I will issue warnings and/or delete this topic.

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There is a point about the incompetent/corrupt morons that run the police department/courts in Durham. I used to have the "this happens everywhere" attitude but the critical mass of disgustingness that surrounds this town and its criminal justice system is too much to ignore.

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I will take back the down south part , yes it happens in most places here in the states. I will say though I am disgusted that this kid was picked up 5 times in that time frame and released each time. Why? The system is broken. In addition I know the inner cities of America worked in one for 30 years, yes the poor are killed on a daily basis and because it might be a poor person in Baltimore, or Cleveland etc not much press.

Gangs, Bet he was a member, what will the city do about the gangs? As much as they can.

A sad story, probably a hate crime, kill an atractive young college women kill an Indian graduate student, the kid has issues.

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I will take back the down south part , yes it happens in most places here in the states. I will say though I am disgusted that this kid was picked up 5 times in that time frame and released each time. Why? The system is broken. In addition I know the inner cities of America worked in one for 30 years, yes the poor are killed on a daily basis and because it might be a poor person in Baltimore, or Cleveland etc not much press.

Gangs, Bet he was a member, what will the city do about the gangs? As much as they can.

A sad story, probably a hate crime, kill an atractive young college women kill an Indian graduate student, the kid has issues.

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Crime goes up ever year when it starts to get warmer and daylight lasts longer. People cooped up all winter start to get out, people feel the need to "prove themselves" and/or stake a claim to territory. This is nothing new, yet is treated as such by the media every year...

With the larger number of people in the Triangle, crime will follow. For every high profile crime, there are dozens more than might register a blip everywhere. The slowing economy, with more people fighting for fewer resources will only get worse. Even if the local economy does not slide into recession, the increased population, and the lifestyle some people grew accustomed to, "paid for" with cheap gas and easy credit, will be a lot harder to come by going forward.

Durham has one of the better gang units in the state, if not the country, but that doesn't help when criminals with only tangental (if that) gang affiliaiton commits crimes elsewhere (Chapel Hill). Wake County also has a gang unit, but it is more of a "suppression" force -- document gangs and their members, keep them from getting so large/powerful as to be unmanagable (see parts of Los Angeles and other cities) -- than a "prevention" force.

The worst will come from underpoliced urbran (the serial killer apprehended a few months ago in Raleigh), suburban, and rual areas where safety nets are not in place and criminals can operate under the radar.

The closing of Dix won't help either, since more Wendal Williams-like borderline personalities won't be able to get the treatment they need to be functioning members of society.

It is sad that some victims get a lot of national media attention because they were students at a school with a prominent basketball program while others don't because they have the misfortune of taking an early-hours newspaper delivery job to support an unborn child.

EDIT: I also belive in the right to a fair trial. If we start incarcerating people without a trial "just because", that system could be abused easily. That being said, there needs to be some way to reduce paperwork, possibly electronically, to keep people who should be in jail from being released due to technicalities.

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I would really like to know all the events that transpired leading up to both the Duke and UNC incidents. I don't think they've released those details yet though, if they've been divulged at all to police.

Every time I think about it, I just get so ticked off. I also notice myself being more cautious when I go to campus (NCSU) at night to do work. Places where I used to walk, I'll avoid all together. I used to go to campus almost every weeknight to work, but now I try and avoid it if I can. My friends and I also are more paranoid when we go out downtown now. It's really made us rethink what we've been doing.

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Every time I think about it, I just get so ticked off. I also notice myself being more cautious when I go to campus (NCSU) at night to do work. Places where I used to walk, I'll avoid all together. I used to go to campus almost every weeknight to work, but now I try and avoid it if I can. My friends and I also are more paranoid when we go out downtown now. It's really made us rethink what we've been doing.

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The way to get rid of gangs is to use RICO statutes just like they have done with the mob or the Hells Angels. Currently they wait until they commit a murder until they arrest these scumbags.

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Plenty of criminals are *arrested*.

The problems are:

- they can easily post bail before their day in court with drug money

- play "let's make a deal" with the district attorney's office for reduced sentances/parole

- receive reduced sentances due to prison overcrowding if they are found guilty

- prisons have become "finishing schools" for younger criminials to learn how to not get caught next time

- society has a hard time accepting ex-cons, leaving them with few options to get their life back in order.

- "gang culture" makes it hard to avoid in certain neighborhoods, and impossible to get out/escape.

I don't know why anyone from the Triangle would wear an old school Houston Astros hat as seen in the ATM picture. There are several theories to its meaning, though a teenage fan of a baseball team hundreds of miles away *and* prefering that team's older logo is probably the least likely. Gang members can commit non gang-related crimes.

As always, there is safety in numbers. Being on campus at Duke, NC State or UNC is safer than just off campus, since the pedestrain activity signficantly declines. Centennial Campus gets empty at night since there are few residents on campus.

I got jumped once in the neighborhood north of Hillsborough Street/west of Cameron Village. Someone followed me on foot for a few blocks and then pulled a fake gun on me. I was by myself and pretty drunk (Five O's old Sunday dollar night), but knew it was fake because it was all one piece of molded plastic. He kept trying to tell me to get on the ground, which I refused because it would make it a lot easier for him to kick me vs. his unwillingness to try to punch. My face got cut open just below my eye, but he didn't get anything other than a long walk back to his homies.

Why do gangs thrive? Because the officer who took my report at the hospital while I got stitches said I should have given my wallet. The risk/reward for street crime is waaay too rewarding for people with no morals or drive to improve themselves. And "gangster" has somehow crossed over from bad guy to a punk-like anti-hero during the last 5-10 years.

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The gang members around here wear random sports teams even US Olympic team b-ball jerseys. Another way they are able to avoid prosecution is by buying off and/or threatening witnesses.

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Oh yeah, I forogt the whole "stop snitching" movement. That more than anything has given gangs their vice-like grip on lower income neighborhoods by rewriting the rules (via threats, force, or money) in their favor. It is really hard to put criminals away when "no one saw nothin'."

Not being a tattle tale is one thing when you are a kid, but turning a blind eye to crime is the same as endorsing it. This is another reason why gangs start recruiting in middle schools -- kids haven't learned the difference between right and wrong, so who better to teach them than a "big brother" who seems to care about his "shorties".

Why people don't understand that the "protection" afforded them by someone who has demonstrated violent tendancies will not turn their abuse toward the "non-snitcher" at any time is beyond me. That pattern of behavior only leads to more lawlessness. The most vunderable areas are ones with few stake holders -- apartment complexes near college campuses, new, quickly developed tract housing subdivisions where a sense of community has yet to be established (see the Suburban slums at all costs thread), low income neighborhoods where people move out as soon as they can afford it, and communities with a disproportionate elderly population that is physically unable to be as sociable with their neighbors as they once were.

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I'm not about to over-analyze a case when I only know what I've seen in the papers and on TV, and here especially, I'll make an effort to be precise and specific in my reactions.

So - to a few points that have arisen in this thread:

One point that should be made though as well is that press covers the sensational murders and generally ignores the typical low-life on low-life crime that exists everyday. No one cares if a crackhead murders another crackhead-only when it drifts into your neighborhood does anyone care.

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I'm not about to over-analyze a case when I only know what I've seen in the papers and on TV, and here especially, I'll make an effort to be precise and specific in my reactions.

So - to a few points that have arisen in this thread:

This is a great point, and very depressing. Dan also mentioned RICO statutes, and I've wondered the same thing. I haven't studied RICO in great detail, but it is my understanding that this was a long term commitment on the part of the federal authorities, and that one success did tend to encourage another: communities that were once intimidated into silence gradually were emboldened by successes, and thus tended to (gradually) contribute to more success in seriously dismantling entrenched criminality. If authorities want to succeed in this kind of thing, they need to follow through in protecting the people that they say they are going to protect, and there's not a lot of people around who have any faith in that.

What that question - and the above quote - suggest collectively to me, is that we only care when we have to. The legal framework exists to deal with organized criminality, and obstacles like (the equivalent of) stop snitiching campaigns or witness buying/intimidation have been around as long as crime has been. And budgets have always been tight, education has always been imperfect, social services and mental health services and youth programs have always been strapped or inefficient to a point of occasional ineffectiveness. There have always been lousy, irresponsible families.

But when we have these sensational crimes (there have been plenty of others in the area), we go through this time and time again - bureaucrats or administrators or police offer the usual round of excuses, the blame (blame is pointless - in and of itself it's nothing but an attempt as saving one's rear end) sails up or down the chain of command, and the same patterns re-establish themselves. Maybe it's just me, but it seems we hear fewer analyses and a lot more excuses - this indicates both apathy towards victims, and an underlying and offensive attitude that crime in the ghetto is somehow less objectionable. If crime is prevalent in low-income areas, it's not because that it's natural home, but because it is tolerated there, by people within and outside of the neighborhood.

Speaking as someone who doesn't have much money and has lived rather involuntarily in plenty of crap neighborhoods, I'd have to insist that crime is objectionable anywhere, for whatever my opinion happens to be worth. I have gotten to know and had lengthy conversations with police officers who are smart, perceptive, great folks, and nonetheless occasionally of the opinion that they are essentially putting band-aids on a head wound. It's not any leap at all from that sentiment to "why should I bother." The "why should I bother" on one side of whatever kind of 'system' we have in place seems to be met by an equally strong, abject sense that "there's no future for me, so whatever I do isn't going to matter." And thus, we have a perfect environment for inevitable tragedies.

Not only do we have two bright students who should still be students, we also have two young men who are of an age that they should also be students. No one should be out in the streets sticking up anybody. If these two are indeed guilty as charged, lock 'em up and toss the key away. But there are more absolute failures going on here than we can count.

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You know I listened to Reverand Wrights ramblings, I listened to Obamas speech the other day and have to wonder, do they see what many see? When have we heard Mr Obama talk about gang related crime in the black community? How about him talking about the crime these guys commited? Yea yea I know, innocent until proven guilty, but come on say something.

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Those are only symptoms. Obama's approach is get to try and get to the root of the issues--such as addressing the role of fathers in the home (or lack thereof). That has a direct correlation with young males, particularly Black and Hispanic males, getting involved in gangs.

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One point that should be made though as well is that press covers the sensational murders and generally ignores the typical low-life on low-life crime that exists everyday. No one cares if a crackhead murders another crackhead-only when it drifts into your neighborhood does anyone care.

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I was going to post the WRAL story but Miamiblue beat me to it.

I live a few blocks north of there and know there are a lot of issues with that neighborhood. Whether or not the area is considered "downtown" depends on if that will help sensationalize a story... otherwise the "downtown" border is drawn at Blount or Person Street. The crime that happens there has no effect on City Market. Fayetville Street, the warehouse district, and Glenwood South might as well be a world away from there.

The neighborhood was/is historically black, though some parts the history only goes back to African-American "blockbusting" of the 60s and 70s that led to white flight. The former Chavis Heights public housing project was poorly managed and brought the surrounding neighborhood down with it. Gangs and their intimidation/fear took over. When Chavis Heights were torn down, the gangs moved into run down houses and apartments on/near Lenior, Chavis Height's northern border. According to police, it was Crip territory, noting somewhat jokingly that the area was safe for NC State fans. In the last few years, the gang unit was cracking down on street dealers and gang safe houses. When the police reducing one gang, others tried to fill the void. This led to an open "battle ground" and resulted in several murders, with incidents on Camden Street and Beauty Avenue getting the "most" attention in the community in recent years, yet little in the city overall.

Through all that, everyone who could move out did, leaving slumlords two options -- board up their properties or rent to whoever is willing to pay. The vacuum led to a quick influx of Latino residents in the area, mostly close to MLK Blvd. A mini-Latino grocery recently opened on Rock Quarry north of MLK. The traditional "community" has not liked this since they don't speak English and are taking cheap housing away from others. So there hasn't been much "snitching" since the victims and their friends know little English, as the story notes they have their savings in cash due to not having bank accounts, and the rest of the community, accustomed to keeping their collective mouths shut, are even less willing to help their new neighbors. The older, long time residents of the neighborhood have been quite welcoming to everyone who moves in and wants to make the neighborhood a better place, but they are not as active, especially on the streets, as the gangs. And recent generations have given up on the neighborhood.

Added to all that, the border between police districts runs through the neighborhood. The line between districts 2-4 and 2-5 (the Downtown District) runs along Swain Street. The distance from the district's HQ off Rock Quarry outside the beltline makes response times difficult to catch criminals in the act. And with a lot of crime in the area, officers are often already working a previous call when a new one comes in. This has led to the community not calling the police because they are "too slow". Also the gangs have spotters posted in strategic locations to alert criminals in the area to seek cover by the time an officer is in the area.

As the weather warms up, more people on the streets later at night means more opportunities for crimes. And gangs initiations often include committing crimes, which may account for the home break ins. Since the neighborhood has been African-American for decades, anyone else who is "different" sticks out easily and becomes prey.

Raleigh Police Chief Dolan spoke to our CAC shortly after taking office and said he was a firm beliver in the "broken window" theory. Broken windows happen everywhere, but are fixed in some places quicker than others. If a broken window is quickly fixed, no one notices. However, if people see a broken window left alone for weeks or months, they are less likely to pick up trash in the street, keep their yards neat, etc. and the effects become compounded. This neighborhood has a *lot* of broken windows, the community has fought hard to keep out people who want to fix them, and then wonders why the city hasn't fixed the area's windows yet.

Dolan and other officers have also said they need some help from the community, since residents can assess their streets every day vs. a stretched thin police force. But there is a lot of mistrust of the police due to past actions and slow response/inaction, and are weary of city "renewal" plans that have left the area with a lot of low-income public housing that overwhelms the afterschool programs, job training, mental health facilities, etc. in the area.

The rise of downtown has yet to make its way east, due to community action/inaction, a history of crime, and an overall lack of hope. My neighbors and I try to do what we can, but we can only do so much.

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Agree here bigtime.

You know I listened to Reverend Wrights ramblings, I listened to Obamas speech the other day and have to wonder, do they see what many see? When have we heard Mr Obama talk about gang related crime in the black community? How about him talking about the crime these guys committed? Yea yea I know, innocent until proven guilty, but come on say something.

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Do we really want to repeat the mistakes of the Duke LAX case? Innocent until proven guilty... wink, wink, nod, nod, indeed. Hmm, those words are only the foundation of our entire criminal justice system.

As heinous as these crimes were, I think people need to take a long slow deep breath and not overreact or rush to judgment. If it's an open and shut case (as it seem this could be), then I'm sure the proper justice will be done in these cases.

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