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NYPD offers a new way to report crimes: Texting

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As this column is being written, southeast Queens is still looking for two rapists who have been evading capture. The police, hoping someone who may know some vital piece of information that could give them the clue they need to apprehend these criminals, announced text messaging to the Crime Stoppers program (1-800-577-TIPS).

The public may send anonymous crime tips to the police by texting CRIMES (274637) followed by TIP577.

Besides that, if 911 callers have photos or videos of something related to a crime and would like to share that information with police, once the 911 operator is informed, the operator will enter a special code to directly connect to the NYPD's internal communications system, which will provide 911 with the caller's phone number. A detective will follow up on that call and provide an address to which the caller may send the photo or video.

Let us hope that these electronic wonders and an alert observer will be the missing piece of the puzzle in putting these criminals where they belong: in jail. Although I am a law and order person, I hope those criminals, once caught and punished appropriately, could be rehabilitated so they could become contributing members of society.

By coincidence, this morning, while listening to the radio station WNYC, I heard an interview with an admitted murderer who is still incarcerated. He had already served several years of his sentence with more to come. He was, however, soft-spoken as he told about the appearance of an orange cat in the prison exercise yard.

The cat was near a dumpster and looked so forlorn that this man walked over to and patted the cat. The cat purred and rolled over. The prisoner marvelled at the comfort he felt after not having had an opportunity to pat either a cat or dog after many years. He was also surprised to see other prisoners gravitate toward the cat and talk to each other and smile.

He said milk and bread began to appear and was put under the edge of the dumpster so the seagulls flying overhead would not get any before the cat. Even the guard stood by smiling, not interrupting these acts of kindness. Eventually, the cat was taken from the exercise yard and, said the prisoner, "hopefully to go to a new, good home".

He said this incident made him realize that being needed is what makes people feel they are trying to be good.

Some prisons have programs where prisoners work with animals, tend to a garden, etc. Some years ago, when I toured Rikers Island with the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, I noted similar programs there. I hope there will be more.

Compassion can be a marvelous teacher, as the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah exemplifies. Half-Jewish actor Paul Newman, talented in many fields and rich, gave millions of dollars to help those in need. Unlike many, he and his actress wife, Joann Woodward were a devoted couple for more than 50 years, only to be separated by the vow of till death do them part.

Their daughters spoke lovingly of their father and many admiring fans echoed their words that he was amazing and will never be forgotten. May everyone enjoy the blessings of doing good deeds and improving themselves.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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