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In 30 Years East Palo Alto Went From ‘Murder Capital’ to Zero Homicides in 2023: A Complete Turnaround

in People/Place 67 views

When an American uses the phrase “murder capital” to describe a city, it tends to be cities with periods of very sad history like Chicago or Los Angeles, but I’ll bet you’ve never heard anyone say East Palo Alto in that sentence.

In 1992 the murder rate in East Palo Alto was the highest in the country, but today, 31 years later, the rate has fallen significantly.

How significantly? Try 100%.

Now called the safest city on the peninsula, East Palo Alto is located on the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo County between Palo Alto and the big tech centers of the nation.

In 1992 there were 42 homicides out of a population of just 24,000 people. The majority-black city suffered as black neighborhoods did all across the country from the crack cocaine epidemic, but after initial action to increase the police presence, an all-hands-on-deck approach from local nonprofits, faith-based groups, neighborhood watch organizations, and what few business leaders there were eventually saw the number plummet down to single digits even while drug sales continued to flourish.

One innovative tactic was from a neighborhood watch-type organization called “Just Us” that would frequent street corners and copy the license plates of any car that came to buy drugs. The police would then find the owner of the car, and simply write them a strongly worded letter letting them know that their car was recorded in a high-crime, high-drug use area.

Once of these letters, the LA Times reports, arrived at the desk of a city judge, whose son as it turns out was using the judge’s car to buy crack.

“East Palo Alto has always been a resilient community. People there are really concerned and care about the community where they live,” Sharifa Wilson, the city mayor during these troubled years, told the Times.

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Watertown Battalion Fire Chief talks firework safety

in Local News 245 views

This weekend, fireworks are expected to go off around the country, and they can be nice to look at. However, City of Watertown Battalion Fire Chief Ron Wareham is warning people that if not set off correctly, fireworks can turn dangerous.

One of the most common mistakes people make is drinking before setting off fireworks.

“Anybody who’s lighting fireworks shouldn’t be drinking, or should be drinking responsibly, not getting drunk,” Wareham said.

He said that even though fireworks sold in New York are New York state compliance, people bring in fireworks from outside the state.

Wareham added that even though the fireworks sold in the state are safer, it’s only safer if it’s fired off properly.

“They all have the potential to cause a fire or cause serious bodily injury or even death if it’s done wrong,” he said.

Other mistakes include not having a clear, safe area to launch the fireworks. People also shouldn’t have any kids up close, and when you go to light the firework making sure that everyone is far enough away.

Wareham said if you live on a small street and you have a big firework, you’ll be close to houses, you won’t know where it’s going to land, and if it tips over it could be launched at a house or people.

He also said not to hold a bottle rocket while setting them off.

“They’re not designed to be held by a human when they get launched,” he said. “They shouldn’t be holding onto them and then throwing them. They should be lit and moved away from, because you never know how quick a fuse is going to go off.”

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Free Life Jackets Loaned to Anyone in Need – Now Saving Lives in 1,000 Locations Across the US

in travel 185 views

What began in 2008 as a single life jacket loaner booth for boaters to borrow any size preserver before going on the water, has now turned into the world’s largest life jacket loaner program.

And, they crossed a huge milestone last month, setting up location number 1,000 at the beach in Clearwater, Florida.

The program now operates loaner stations in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands—all thanks to a Long Island, New York captain.

Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer kept seeing boating accidents and tragedies that could have been prevented, so he decided to start the nonprofit Sea Tow Foundation in 2007 to provide the education and resources to eliminate them.

He started the Life Jacket Loaner program the following year to prevent drowning by providing free life jackets that boaters of any size can borrow and return at the end of their outing.

The lifelong seafaring New Yorker passed away in 2015, but his legacy lives on through the efforts of the foundation and his daughter Kristen, who is now president of the board.

“Since 2008, we’ve distributed over 90,000 life jackets,” said Gail Kulp, the group’s Executive Director.

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