crime

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News

Law enforcement and elected officials have again found themselves trying to keep ahead of an outbreak of synthetic drugs in central New York.

Local legislative action and federal law enforcement raids of area head shops three years ago quelled a rash of overdoses in upstate New York on synthetic drugs, often called bath salts.

belsondesign.com

Updated, 5:57 p.m.

After conducting a thorough sweep with bomb-sniffing dogs, the New York State Police recommended that Hamilton College fully lift its shelter-in-place order.

Updated, 5:35 p.m.

College officials say canine units are still searching building on the South Campus, which remains locked down. The shelter-in-place order has been lifted for North Campus.

Updated, 3:25 p.m.:

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Local police and Sen. Charles Schumer are asking the Secret Service to investigate a rash of counterfeit money that has turned up recently.

A handful of local businesses, from Wegman’s to Empire Brewery have been fooled in the past few weeks by fake bills. In all, law enforcement says 10 businesses in central New York have fallen victim to counterfeit currency in the past month. 

Also victim has been Byrne Dairy, where regional manager James Kehoe says each register has a counterfeit detection pen for employees to use, which he demonstrates on a new $100 bill. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Enhanced enforcement by the Syracuse Police Department this winter, as part of the TRUCE initiative, has led to the arrest of 20 Bricktown and Bootcamp gang members.

Syracuse TRUCE started two years ago, as a collaboration between police and community service organizations with the aim of reducing gun violence in the city.

Derek Bridges / via Flickr

By using people with firsthand knowledge of guns and gangs, a program is trying to interrupt violence on Syracuse’s streets.

The national Cure Violence program was created by a former public health doctor and so it’s modeled off of treating infectious disease: you have to treat the cause of the illness, not just the symptoms.

www.co.oswego.ny.us

The Oswego County hearing in the case of Heidi Allen resumes Tuesday after a six-week break. Gary Thibodeau is seeking a new trial, claiming there is new evidence pointing toward his innocence. He was convicted of kidnapping Allen from the convenience store where she worked in New Haven more than 20 years ago. The defense wrapped its case last month, but Syracuse Post-Standard reporter John O'Brien, who has been covering the hearing, reports that Thibodeau's attorney has asked the judge if she can call new witnesses before the prosecution begins its case.

Hearing in Heidi Allen case scheduled to resume Tuesday

Mar 23, 2015
www.co.oswego.ny.us

The Oswego County hearing in the case of Heidi Allen resumes tomorrow after a six-week break. Gary Thibodeau is seeking a new trial. He was convicted of kidnapping Allen more than 20 years ago. Allen was 18 when she disappeared while working at a convenience store in New Haven. WRVO news director Catherine Loper spoke with Syracuse Post-Standard reporter John O'Brien who has been covering this hearing from the beginning.

Catherine Loper: Can you bring us up to date on what happened when the hearing ended?

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It was graduation day for a group of recruits from the Syracuse Police Academy.

Fifty-seven men and women were given their badges during a ceremony at the Palace Theater. Among them is Dan Medlock, who is joining the Syracuse Police Department. He says all the scrutiny police officers have been given in recent months was on his mind during the training.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Local law enforcement and Sen. Charles Schumer are pushing for more disclosure about homes that were previously used as meth labs.

Schumer, a Democrat, wants there to be a law on the books that requires someone selling a home to let the buyer know if the home has ever been used as a meth lab – assuming it was busted for being so.

"Knowing if your home was the site of a former meth lab before you purchase it, before you’re forced to deal with the health consequences and the cost of cleanup is critical," he said.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Onondaga County’s top public prosecutor isn’t entirely on board with some proposals to make the grand jury process more transparent.

New York's chief judge has proposed that records of now secret grand jury proceedings be released when nobody is charged. He’s also called for direct judicial oversight when police are investigated for killings or felony assaults.

Hearing in Heidi Allen case resumes this morning

Feb 3, 2015
www.co.oswego.ny.us

The Oswego County court hearing in the 20-year old case of missing teenager Heidi Allen resumes today after a two-week break. Gary Thibodeau, who was convicted of kidnapping Allen, has always maintained his innocence. WRVO news director Catherine Loper interviewed Syracuse Post-Standard reporter John O'Brien, who has been covering the story non-stop since last May, and has been in the courtroom everyday of this hearing.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse Police Department will soon be using a data-driven approach to reducing gun and other violent crime.

The police department will launch a program that it says will help it better pinpoint where in the city to target crime prevention efforts, which Mayor Stephanie Miner spoke about it in her recent state of the city address.

"This data-oriented strategy will enable our officers to systematically diagnose trends in gun violence," she said.

It’s called the Problem Oriented Policing program, or POP.

azipaybarah / Flickr

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested Thursday morning and $3.8 million in eight different bank accounts held by Silver have been frozen, as federal prosecutors accuse the speaker of running two fraudulent and corrupt schemes.

Silver was released on $200,000 bail Thursday afternoon.

Jason Lawrence

Four state lawmakers are proposing that all police cars in New York state be retrofitted with bulletproof glass after two New York City officers were gunned down in their car.

The bill is being drafted by Republican Assembly members including Jim Tedisco of the Capital Region, who says police are most vulnerable when sitting in thier vehicles. He believes if New York City police cars were equipped with bulletproof glass, the slain officers would be alive today.   

Ellen Abbott

Research shows a connection between early childhood education and crime. Central New York boosters of universal pre-kindergarten say that should be an important consideration when it comes to funding quality programs.

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says the statistics logically lead to the conclusion that pre-K prevents crime.

Tuned to Yesterday

Nov 27, 2014

#1216, Crime, Nick Harris, Detective “The Young Shoplifter” (Part 1) 7/1/38 Syndicated, Nick Harris, Detective “The Young Shoplifter” (Part 2) 7/8/38 Syndicated, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar “The Fiddle Faddle Matter” 7/9/61 CBS.

Tuned To Yesterday features programs from radio's golden era. Drama, Comedy, Western, Sci-Fi and more. Produced by Mark Lavonier.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse activists want events in Ferguson, Missouri to lead to more dialogue and understanding between the community and law enforcement.

They renewed those calls Tuesday afternoon with a few chants of "No justice, no peace" downtown.

It was a much more restrained affair in Syracuse than the destructive protests outside St. Louis, Missouri Monday and Tuesday.

Tuned to Yesterday

Nov 13, 2014

#1206, Crime, I Was a Communist for the FBI “A Riot Made to Order” 6/1/52 Syndicated, Counterspy “Case of the Sweepstake Murder” 10/4/49 ABC

Tuned To Yesterday features programs from radio's golden era. Drama, Comedy, Western, Sci-Fi and more. Produced by Mark Lavonier.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Members of the Syracuse faith community and the city’s police department want to be “proactive” in improving the relationship between the community and police department.

African-African faith leaders will hold a series of monthly community meetings at different churches in the city beginning next month with the goal of facilitating a dialog between the police department and community members.

Attorney General candidate John Cahill is proposing a plan to fight the heroin epidemic that’s ravaging communities across the state.  

Cahill, a Republican, says the five-point plan attacks the problem from a number of angles. It starts with tougher laws that go after the drug traffickers, including tougher sentences and changes in the classification of the drug in penal law.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

More police cameras are heading to crime-ridden Syracuse neighborhoods, spreading into more areas on the city’s Northside.

Patricia Simmons is pastor of a church in the Washington Square neighborhood of Syracuse. She’s happy the crime-deterring cameras are coming.

"Our church is on the corner of Park and Turtle,” Simmons said. “Outside our door we see prostitution, we see drug activities happen. If we have a big event, the folks come out to solicit and I think the cameras would also help to alleviate some of that.” 

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A St. Lawrence County couple, accused of kidnapping two Amish sisters, has been indicted on federal child sexual exploitation and child pornography charges. The indictment shows that the pair is also accused of exploitation of a third child.

Twenty-five-year-old Nicole Vaisey and 39-year-old Stephen Howells, Jr. already face state charges for allegedly kidnapping the sisters from their rural family farm stand in St. Lawrence County last month. A five-count federal indictment handed down this week also accuses the couple of sexual exploitation of another girl starting in 2012.  

New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says SUNY's 29 state-operated colleges are doing a better job of reporting crimes on and around their campuses, but there is still more work to do. DiNapoli's office recently released an audit regarding the Clery Act, which he says was a follow up to an audit performed in 2008.
 

A large class of new recruits has begun training to become Syracuse police officers, but if you ask Syracuse police chief Frank Fowler, it's still not enough cops.

"Keep bringing them," he said. "I tell you, I can find work for every police officer that you send my way. But this is a great start and I’m glad to have it."

Fowler was speaking after the swearing in of a new class of officers. Syracuse is buffeting its police ranks more than normal. It swore in 35 officers to begin six months of training on Thursday.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Officials in Oswego County have ended their search of a collapsed clubhouse in Mexico without finding anything linking the property to the disappearance 20 years ago of Heidi Allen. 

"There was never any credible evidence that Heidi Allen's remains would be found here, but based on certain tips we did come here to make sure that we exhausted every possibility and left no stone unturned," said Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes.

Onondaga County Sheriff's Office

The New York State Police helicopter operation based in has moved to Rochester, which will cause a gap in air support for police investigations and rescues in central New York. Onondaga County’s Air One helicopter will still fly, but needs more funding to provide those services.

Before the state police helicopter moved, the troopers generally took care of calls during the day, and Onondaga County’s Air One handled them in the evening. County Sheriff Kevin Walsh says the county’s crime fighting helicopter can’t fill those day time hours at this time.

Mike Fleming / via Flickr

The Syracuse Police Department says its network of security cameras in the city are helping fight crime. And some neighborhood advocates are asking for more.

Nearly 40 cameras have been installed in parts of the city since 2011. They’re on the Near Westside, in the Pioneer Homes complex and along Butternut Street on the north side.

Twenty more cameras will be online by the end of the summer, mostly downtown and along East Fayette Street.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Several local politicians, including Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appeared at city hall in downtown Syracuse to throw their support behind the federal Smartphone Theft Prevention Act.

The act would require smartphone makers to install a “kill switch” on their devices that would allow customers to delete data and deactivate their phone remotely.

Schneiderman says the major manufactures have the technology to do this but are choosing not to.

Syracuse homicide rate at recent high in 2013

Feb 11, 2014
Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

The homicide rate in Syracuse was at a recent high in 2013. The city had 22 homicides in 2013, a 60 percent increase from the 13 homicides in 2012.

Sargent Tom Connellan, the public information officer for the Syracuse Police Department, said it is very difficult to predict a homicide.

"We can target gun violence, we can target a lot of other crimes, but sometimes these are just crimes of opportunity or crimes of passion. Some involved domestic related incidents. I don't want to trivialize any of these homicides because one is one too many," he said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The trial of Hancock drone war crimes resisters continues later today in a town of DeWitt courtroom. The men and women, mostly from upstate New York, are defending themselves from trespass charges, after an October protest of the use of unmanned aerial drones at the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Mattydale.

The 16 defendants contend their blockade of the entrance to the air base is not a crime.

“The actual crime is the killing of civilians, the war of aggression, the violation of national sovereignty,” said Clare Grady, of Ithaca.

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