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.
Frederick Rickmeyer, our hats are off to you and your note-taking ways.
Shortly after the turn of the last century, Frederick started documenting his wife's recipes on the blank memoranda pages of a cookbook. He included titles like My Wife's Own Original Spanish Bun and comments like "as good as ever," along with the ingredients and dates.
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.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., speaks to the media after a Republican caucus luncheon last year. He's joined by (from left): Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:51 am
When Thursday dawned in Washington, some things seemed certain: The fiscal cliff fight would continue; the National Christmas Tree would be aglow by evening, and Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina would continue to be the Senate's most important Tea Party voice.
So much for Washington certainties.
With his surprise announcement that he was exiting the Senate to head the Heritage Foundation think tank, a job that paid his predecessor $1 million annually, DeMint brought to an end his role as the Tea Party's godfather in the Senate.
As Syrian fighting intensifies in Syria, diplomatic efforts are also heating up.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the main international envoy to Syria were all in Dublin for an international gathering Thursday. The meeting came as Syria's opposition tries to get better organized to offer a real alternative to President Bashar Assad's regime.
White House spokesman Jay Carney briefs reporters Thursday at the White House. "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period," he said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney put an end to intense speculation Thursday about whether President Obama would do an end run around Congress with one simple line: "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period."
Some Democrats had been urging Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit — a bold move that would take away Republican leverage in the ongoing negotiations over taxes and spending.
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.
A Syrian soldier aims his rifle during clashes with rebel forces in the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Sunday. Syrian soldiers have been taking over private homes and apartments, and have sometimes looted and trashed them, according to Syrian civilians.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:35 pm
Editor's Note: Throughout the Syrian uprising, the government has allowed few foreign journalists and other outsiders into the country. In this report, a Syrian citizen describes life in the capital, Damascus. For security reasons, NPR is not identifying the author.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:04 pm
Hypothermia kills an estimated 700 people experiencing, or at-risk of homelessness each year, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. Every day, street outreach workers in cities across the nation go out into communities to encourage people on the street to take shelter, but many homeless people refuse.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 1:58 pm
House Republicans and the White House are at a stalemate over how best to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. As the deficit deadline approaches, the priority for Senate Budget Committee member Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), is to protect the middle class.
When the New York Post published a freelancer's photograph of a man trapped in the path of an oncoming subway train, many photojournalists, editors and consumers decried the decision as unethical. Others argue that the photo was essential to the story.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:26 pm
History was made at midnight in Washington on two fronts last night: Bans on both gay marriage and recreational marijuana use were lifted.
As you might expect, as the sun set and the clock struck 12, there were scenes of celebration across the state's biggest city. The pictures tell the story, so with that here are five photographs from Seattle.
A hacker associated with the collective Anonymous has been convicted in Britain today for attacks against the websites of PayPal, Mastercard and Visa.
Christopher Weatherhead was found guilty following the guilty pleas of three others — Jake Birchall, Ashley Rhodes and Peter Gibson. If you remember, the four were arrested for orchestrating denial of service attacks against the companies because they had stopped processing payments for WikiLeaks.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:10 pm
The earthy smell of a fresh beet may spark delicious thoughts for us, but for a fruit fly, that smell screams danger.
Geosmin, a naturally occurring chemical that gives beets, fresh soil and corked wine their distinctive smell, is also cranked out by bacteria deadly to fruit flies. And it turns out that the tiny flies have a direct pathway from nose to brain made just to detect that smell — and avoid the toxic microbes that produce it.
"Were going to blink and be 90," Debbie tells Paul. "We have to make a choice to make things different."
Credit Suzanne Hanover / Universal Studios
Pete's friend Barry (Robert Smigel) offers some advice on entering middle age.
Credit Suzanne Hanover / Universal Studios
Five years after Judd Apatow's Knocked Up, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles as married couple Pete and Debbie. Now years into their marriage with two kids (played by Iris and Maude Apatow), Pete and Debbie approach 40 less than gracefully.
Since earning a cult following for his acclaimed television show Freaks and Geeks, writer, producer, and director Judd Apatow has become a brand name. He has a new movie out this month — This Is 40 — and also guest-edits the January "Comedy Issue" of Vanity Fair.
He's an executive producer for the HBO show Girls and previously wrote, produced and directed the 2005 comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
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.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 1:50 pm
It's no surprise that how much a person eats determines how full they feel right after a meal. But it's the memory of that meal, and not the meal itself, that matters a couple of hours later. So does this mean you trick yourself into thinness? Probably not. But it does tell us something about the role that manipulating memory may play in calorie intake.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:59 am
Sorry, royal fans, we're not planning to follow every bit of news about the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy.
But we do want to note that Kate, "holding a bouquet of flowers, left King Edward VII hospital in central London on Thursday morning with her husband, Prince William," the BBC says. "Less than 12 weeks pregnant, she was admitted with acute morning sickness — hyperemesis gravidarum — on Monday."