Camden City Police Chief Scott Thomson says he has shooting investigations "backlogging like burglary cases." Half of his force was laid off last year, and the city says expensive benefits in the police union contract are preventing them from hiring more cops.
Credit Alisa Chang / NPR
Because of the city's high crime rate, protective iron bars encase the front porches of many houses in Camden. Residents call them "bird cages."
Credit Alisa Chang / NPR
Memorials to shooting victims can be seen throughout Camden on front porches, at the side of houses and on empty lots.
As the New Jersey city of Camden blasts through its all-time-high homicide record — exceeding 60 murders so far this year — city officials have an unusual solution to rising crime: laying off the entire police department.
Year after year, Camden ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in America based on several categories: murders, rapes, assaults and robberies. But the city says it's too poor to hire more police officers. So it's dissolving its municipal police force and letting the county set up a bigger, cheaper force to replace it.
Most subway stations in New York City affected by Superstorm Sandy have opened by now, but the South Ferry station at the southern tip of Manhattan is still closed. And when you get inside, it's easy to see why.
The platform is still coated with dirt more than a month after the storm. The tile walls are covered in grime from the tracks all the way up to the ceiling 25 feet overhead. There's debris dangling from the exit signs; the escalators look like they may never work again.
Senator Jim DeMint on Thursday announced that he will not return to the new Congress, and instead will resign early next month. DeMint will instead lead the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
In the Cleveland area, there's a plan to inspire kids to start thinking about college early on by giving them seed money. Officials want to set up kindergarteners with savings accounts. Though the initial $100 deposit isn't likely to cover much, the hope is that it will inspire them to take the idea of going to college seriously.
For the past decade, Spelman College, a historically black women's school in Atlanta, has fielded NCAA teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and other sports. But when its small Division III conference started dwindling, college President Beverly Tatum says the school decided it was time to change focus.
"We have to ask ourselves: What is the cost of the program and who is benefiting? How many people are benefiting? Is the benefit worth the cost?" Tatum asks.
College athletics and academics are often at odds. One professor says it's time to end the charade and let athletes major in what they love - sports. Host Michel Martin speaks with Professor David Pargman of Florida State University, about why he thinks his proposal is more honest than what colleges are currently doing.
The U.S. birth rate is at the lowest level ever recorded, according to the Pew Research Center. One contributing factor is a sharp drop in the number of immigrant women having babies. Host Michel Martin discusses the trend with Pew researcher Gretchen Livingston and with Maria Gomez of Mary's Center, an immigrant social services organization.
Many conservative faith leaders are among those calling for immigration reform. They joined government leaders on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to map out what that reform could look like, calling it a moral as well as economic issue.
Cargo started moving again on Wednesday at the nation's largest ports. An eight-day strike by clerical workers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is over. Melissa Block talks with Kirk Siegler from the port, where clerks, longshoremen and truckers are all glad to be back on the job.
Lyndon Johnson, then the vice president-elect, with a prize-winning Hereford bull on his ranch near Johnson City, Texas, in 1960. Linguists say the twang that has long been synonymous with Texans is fading.
The new movie 'Lincoln' explores the last months of Abraham Lincoln's life and sheds light on prominent figures of the time. One lesser-known person is former slave Elizabeth Keckley. She became a close confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln. Host Michel Martin speaks with professor Clarence Lusane about Keckley's contributions to American history.
Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:04 am
Some public schools across the U.S. are setting different standards for students based on their race. The goal is to cut the achievement gap in half. Host Michel Martin speaks with Emily Richmond, of the Education Writers Association, about criticisms to this approach.
Before the attack: Two men are seen talking on a New York City subway platform Monday in this framegrab from a video released by the New York City Police Department. Moments later, police say, Ki-Suk Han (whose face is obscured) was pushed on to the tracks.
Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 1:26 pm
It's a horrifying image that has sparked a passionate debate.
By now you've probably heard about the front page photo on Tuesday's New York Post of a man struggling to climb out of an approaching subway train's way. He had been pushed on to the tracks by a stranger.
Ki-Suck Han, 58, did not make it. He died from the injuries he received.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 8:05 am
More than 10 years after she was a internal medicine resident, Dr. Vineet Arora still thinks about how her shifts used to end.
She says the best shift change was one that didn't require her to transfer single patient to the next bunch of residents. "A good sign out was 'nothing to do,' " she recalls. "When I trained, you worked here until your work was done."
Maralynn Bernstein (bottom left), the veterans services coordinator for the University of Arizona, confers with Cody Nicholls, director of the Veterans Education and Transition Services Center, at the school's Veterans Center in Tucson.
Record numbers of veterans are returning home from war and heading to college. The biggest draw: the generous benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which in three short years has helped 860,000 vets go to school.
But there's still little known about how these students are doing.
For years, Sarah Yaw has been working with veterans at Cayuga Community College, a small school in rural, upstate New York. She took a leave in 2009, around the time the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect. When she returned to the school, she found a dramatic change.
Chris Guthrie, vice president for operations at Canna Pi medical dispensary, inspects a medical marijuana product at his clinic in Seattle on Monday. Marijuana will be legal in Washington state from 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
Marijuana is legal in Washington state as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but the ballot initiative that made it legal last month contained a new DUI standard — a deal-sweetener for hesitant voters — that may actually make life riskier for regular pot users.
The new law makes it legal for adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, but illegal for that same adult to drive if the THC content of his blood reaches 5 nanograms per milliliter.
Home Depot has long offered credit cards, partly to serve customers who have just suffered major house damage. The company has recently widened those efforts. Here, a Tampa, Fla., customer buys a generator and bottled water, preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac's arrival in August.
Retailers are finding more ways to offer their customers financial products — mortgages, loans and the like. In the past, people looked to banks for this kind of product. But big-box stores are trying to find new ways of getting money to those who cannot use banks, or want to avoid them altogether.
Costco may be best known for pallets of bottled water or bulk toilet paper that can last a family an entire year. But earlier this year, it also added mortgages to its growing array of financial offerings.
The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.
North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, fueled by a booming oil economy. In fact, it's been so hard to find workers in Minot, North Dakota, in the north central part of the state, that one big box store is flying them in from Wisconsin. Dan Feldner of the Minot Daily News joins me to talk about it. And Dan, we're talking about the home improvement retailer Menards. The headquarters is in Au Claire, Wisconsin.
MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 1:11 pm
Chances are you're familiar with the phrase "a well-balanced diet." Two to three servings of meat, poultry or fish; three to five servings of vegetables — you know the drill. When we talk about being "well-balanced" today, we're usually talking about the specific nutrients we put into our body.
While this might seem like a relatively new development — a product of the past 50 years of fitness programs and diet regimes — as it turns out, this idea goes back much further.
The photo that touched many hearts: New York City Police Officer Lawrence DePrimo gives a shoeless man a pair of boots on a frigid night last month. That man was later identified as 54-year-old Jeffrey Hillman.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 10:02 am
Jeffrey Hillman's bare feet on a frigid night in New York City last month inspired a police officer to buy the seemingly homeless man a pair of warm boots — a moment captured in a heartwarming photo that went viral.