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Well we all know about Hartford & New Haven streets? Right?
How can gun violence be dealt with in those great Connecticut towns? No one wants to turn our fine cities into a South West Asian war zone, but the bad guys have already done that. Unfortunately we must react in a seemingly ugly manner or our streets will continue to be the total embarrassment of the country. Our reputation as the richest state in USA is already sullied by the fact that it has the highest poverty rate in America too! Maybe that’s why the violence is so bad? Who knows. But we aren’t going to be able to fix poverty overnight. However, there are things we can do overnight.
Listen up mayors of Hartford and New Haven:
What about reinforced steel plate bullet-proof screens mounted on street poles on every street corner in only targeted neighborhoods? You may ask: “What good is that?” Well it seems that collateral damage (i.e. innocent bystanders) have no retreat alternatives on city streets and get hit by stray bullets from the not-very-marksman-like gun totters in these cities. When you hear the tell-tale “pop pop pop” and car wheels screeching … dive behind one of these bullet-proof screens (ideally in a L-shape to protect two angles) and just maybe some innocent kid will survive the encounter. I like to call it DUCK AND COVER. Remember that? This will be taking away the target-rich environment from the bad-guys.
Then since these bad guys are not very good marksmen, mount temporary rubber humps on targeted streets. This way when they are carelessly careening down the street firing away, their aim is thwarted by the road hump sending them flying into the air. These temporary humps will also allow for police to slow them down a bit for capture – maybe…
Steel plates and rubber humps are a no-brainer for Public Works Departments – right?
What about all of these CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras being installed on Hartford and New Haven streets? Why aren’t they being more effectively deployed and utilized? Maybe the mayors’ excuse is: “We just don’t have the funding and manpower to staff these cameras on a 7 by 24 basis…”. I say CRAP to that! Volunteerism is high in Connecticut. Just allow a select group of volunteers to have Internet access to these Public Works camera feeds and they’ll report any suspicious behavior to a police telephone tip line or some sort of web site monitored by police officers on duty. Like your own volunteer “intelligence division”?
What about an “eye-in-the-sky” or EITS? How come some sort of high-powered remote-controlled PTZ (pan tilt zoom) CCTV camera with telephoto lens can’t be installed on several of those huge high-rise buildings (and here too) in these towns? I’m sure the owners (insurance companies with a vested interest in crime related claims) will contribute the space on their roofs. Maybe even the equipment too. Aetna Insurance Company contributed police car cameras once.
For the EITS to work, a team of camera installers just need to coordinate and survey “presets” into the cameras to allow the viewer to know which way they are aiming and what part of town they are looking at. Maybe even coded placard signs could be placed on street corners atop street signs which the cameras can use to know what street corner they are aimed at. If the streets are kept well-lit it would be a no-brainer for the volunteer CCTV snoops to zoom in on street crime, video record it, and maybe even a little shenanigans to thwart a crime in progress? Huh? Yeah… mount a bright remote controlled LASER pointer on the EITS and turn it on a group of bad guys and watch the “oh somebody is watching us” effect. Of course not just anybody would activate the LASER to avoid any eye damage.
Now how about the GUNS themselves?
But what about the kids illegally totting hidden guns into city streets then into theaters, malls, and schools? Well a landmark US Supreme Court decision was made in 1968 regarding LEGAL search and seizure of weapons from SUSPECTED perps (i.e. perpetrators). This law gives local law enforcement the right to search people based on a “perceived” suspicion that you are carrying a weapon. See the Terry Stop (Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)). I mean without bringing racial profiling into this a police officer can pretty much KNOW (and him too) who is carrying a weapon. Do the math. It’s not rocket science!
Now how can you search for a weapon without actually touching the perp? Metal detection portals are difficult to setup quickly and cheaply – but can be done with a little planning and portable police trailers. Well how come no one has thought of portable metal detector wands? They are cheap and easy to whip out and quickly scan a perp for hidden weapons without violating his/her Constitutional Rights, by using the wands with the Terry Stop in mind.
All and all, none of this is a quick solution to the problem. It will take a due diligence effort to maintain this attack on crime and not let OTHER agendas creep in and put this on a back-burner, as they say. The Gun Shot Detection System donated to Hartford was a good example. If you don’t take the due-diligence effort to really understand the technology and how to use it CORRECTLY then it will be useless to Hartford Police, which it appears to be right now. It only needs to be interfaced with CCTV camera system to be most effective in intelligence gathering. It will probably not be a “catch ’em in the act” technology.
I hope my technology brainstorming here helps you. Please pass this article on to your Connecticut Congress person and elected officials. Maybe something positive will come of it. Or not…