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Suffolk Police To Deploy License Plate Readers Amid Recent Gang Slayings In Brentwood

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County police plans to introduce a controversial new tool as part of its latest crackdown on violent gangs: automatic license plate readers. The integration of the new surveillance technology in Brentwood, Central Islip and Bay Shore comes amid a spate of murders—six in total—since September. The half-dozen slayings are believed to be gang-related, authorities have said. The department plans to roll out at least 50 license plate readers across the three communities, paid for with a $1 million state grant secured by State Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood). The short-term goal is to use the devices to solve open cases, officials said. But ultimately, authorities hope to “decimate the gangs that have committed these crimes,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said outside the department’s third precinct in Bay Shore Monday morning. The police department has only recently begun discussions of selecting a vendor, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said, adding that the department additionally has the ability to collaborate with municipalities that have also expressed interest in the technology. “This is a gigantic shot in the arm,” Sini told reporters. Speaking directly to gang members, he warned: “Do not commit crime in this area. We will catch you.” Since the high-profile slayings, beginning in September, the department has aggressively targeted known gang members and boosted patrols in and around Brentwood. Crackdown on GangsThe latest anti-gang initiative began after the brutally beaten bodies of two best friends—15-year-old Nisa Mickens and 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas—were discovered in Brentwood just one day apart. Their murders are believed to be gang-related, police said. Authorities have since discovered skeletal remains of three missing teens on the grounds of Pilgrim Psychiatric Center on Crooked Hill Road, including that of 18-year-old Jose Pena-Hernandez, an alleged MS-13 gang member. In the wake of Mickens’ and Cuevas’ murders, police have flooded the Brentwood area, increased patrols, and developed a list of known gang members that gang officers have used to target specific individuals, Sini said. “This pressure is allowing us to gather unbelievable amount of information,” Sini said. “That’s why we have discovered certain crimes that have occurred in the Brentwood area.”To date, 30 purported gang members have been arrested for various crimes, ranging from weapons possession to trespassing, Sini said. Additionally, five gang members have been taken into federal custody on racketeering charges. Sini reiterated Monday that the department will not release the names of those in federal custody until authorities believe doing so wouldn’t jeopardize investigations. When gang violence in Suffolk ratcheted up nearly a decade ago, the crackdown then included rudimentary police work, such as traffic stops. But technology has progressed so much that police believe license plate readers can be used as a “virtual net” encircling the perimeter of targeted neighborhoods to make it difficult for known gang members to pass through unnoticed. Ramos said the community has grown “weary” of the hastily arranged community meetings and ubiquitous task forces spawned from past slayings, characterizing such efforts as “lip service.” “We need to get real about this problem and realize that we have to do more than talk about it,” Ramos told reporters.Privacy ConcernsCivil liberties groups have expressed concern about the integration of plate readers because of the technology’s ability to suck up the plate numbers of every vehicle that passes through a virtual checkpoint. How the information is stored, and for how long, has also raised serious privacy questions. Anyone in possession of such data can access a specific vehicle’s travel history, and, for example, use it to ascertain the driver’s religious and political affiliation, thereby creating a profile of that person. Ramos said it’s not Suffolk police’s goal to use the technology, which can be outfitted on patrol vehicles and on roadside poles, to monitor the community. “We must respect the civil rights of our community,” he said. “Anybody that’s concerned with these cameras spying on them—they will absolutely not be used for anything other than solving a crime.” In order to access the database, an officer would require very specific information, including a case number, officials said. Sini noted that the department would periodically run audits to analyze which officers accessed the database to ensure its proper use. The three Suffolk communities won’t be the first on Long Island to use these devices. The Village of Freeport installed more than two-dozen license plate readers around the perimeter of the community late last year, and within 90 days scanned an astounding 15 million license plates. The village lauded how it was able to issue more than 2,000 summonses over that time period and impound hundreds of cars as well as make several arrests related to stolen vehicles. In one instance, the readers helped catch a man wanted for murder in Virgina, village officials said. But the department of less than 100 officers has reportedly been flooded with thousands of hits through its system, which can cross-reference up to 20,000 plate numbers per minute from federal and state motor vehicle records. The deluge has raised concerns about overburdening the village’s small police force. In Suffolk, the plan is not to track every single hit, but to input case numbers in order to find specific individuals wanted for serious crimes. “The residents of Brentwood, Bay Shore and Central Islip need not be concerned about these cameras unless one is committing a crime,” Ramos stressed. “We need to get buy-in…this is an asset for the residents of Brentwood,” Sini added. Officials will hold community meetings as the technology is rolled out to address concerns and obtain input. In the meantime, police are continuing to put pressure on gangs, Sini said. In the last month, violent crime is down 75-percent in Brentwood, he claimed, adding that the department is continuing to collect intelligence. “You don’t stumble upon skeletal remains in a densely wooded area by accident,” he said. (Featured photo: Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini requested tips in the murder of two Brentwood teens on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016.)last_img read more

16 health screenings all women need

first_img Share Sharing is caring! HealthLifestyle 16 health screenings all women need by: – July 21, 2014 60 Views   no discussions You feel perfectly fine – and maybe you are.But that’s not always the case, hence why health screenings – physical exams, tests and procedures used to detect disease early – are so important. From mammograms to colonoscopies and Pap smears, U.S. News talked with the experts about 16 screenings all women need.Gynecological healthAll women need regular check-ups with their OB-GYN, starting at age 13 to 15, says Shannon Clark, an associate professor in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at University of Texas Medical Branch Hospitals.Frequency varies until age 21, when appointments – which cater to preventive health services – should become annual. “It’s very important that all women establish care with an OB-GYN and be routinely seen,” Clark says.History and physical exam“History changes for everyone,” says Mary Rosser, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Montefiore Medical Center. An annual reassessment “may flag risk factors early, before they cause harm or lead to serious or chronic medical conditions.” In addition to reviewing changes in family history, doctors should inquire about menstrual history, sexual practices and orientation, social habits, and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The other component – the physical exam – is an opportunity to assess blood pressure, weight and body mass index, Rosser says.Clinical breast examDuring this physical exam, a doctor will look at and feel your breasts and under your arms for lumps or anything that seems unusual. CBEs should begin at age 20 and be repeated every one to three years for women ages 20 to 39, and yearly beginning at age 40, Clark says. Self-checks, meanwhile, are easy to do at home – and you ought to check for lumps every month or so.MammogramMammograms are key to the prevention – and early detection – of breast cancer, Rosser says. This is a low-dose X-ray exam of the breasts, and beginning at age 40, women should undergo yearly mammograms. If you’re at high risk – with a family history of breast cancer, for example – your doctor may recommend earlier mammograms.STD screeningAll women need to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases once they become sexually active, Clark says. Those 25 and younger should receive yearly gonorrhea and chlamydia screenings; after that age, screening depends on risk factors or symptoms. Screening “consists of a cervical culture or urine test for gonorrhea and chlamydia, and a blood test for HIV,” Clark says.Colorectal cancerA colonoscopy can lead to the early detection and treatment of colon cancer, which is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S. The screening should start at age 13 to 18 for those with pancolitis or who have a history of familial adenomatous polyposis – a genetic condition that’s diagnosed when someone develops more than 100 adenomatous colon polyps. Women ages 19 to 49, meanwhile, should be screened if they’re high risk – which includes having inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease. In general, women should undergo a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50, or age 45 for African-Americans, who have increased incidence and earlier age of onset.DiabetesBeginning at age 45, women should be screened for diabetes every three years, Rosser says – and earlier if someone is at high risk with factors such as obesity or family history. The disease is “the leading cause of heart disease and on the rise in the U.S. due to the obesity epidemic,” Rosser says. “Early intervention is crucial.”Testing is typically done via a fasting plasma glucose test or hemoglobin A1C test.Lipid profile assessmentThis panel of blood tests will assess your risk of developing heart disease, plus measure your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Start at age 13 to 44 if you’re at high risk – for example, obese or have a genetic predisposition. Routine screening, repeated every five years, starts at age 45, Rosser says. “There are dietary changes which may reduce these levels,” she adds. “Medications are available if diet changes aren’t working.”Hepatitis B and CWomen at high risk need to think about these screenings beginning at ages 13 to 18, Clark says. Hepatitis B risk factors, for example, include injection drug users, those born in countries where the prevalence of infection is 2 percent or greater, and HIV-positive people. And risk of hepatitis C increases if you’ve been exposed to an infected needle, perhaps via tattoo; your birth mother had the disease; or you had a blood transfusion before 1992. Screening frequency depends on your doctor’s recommendations.Pap smearDuring a Pap smear, cells are scraped from the opening of the cervix to screen for cervical cancer.Though annual screening is common, theUnited States Preventive Services Task Force recommends a Pap smear every three years, starting at age 21 and ending at 65. “Any mild irregularities will prompt an HPV test to check for the high-risk strains of the HPV virus,” says Keri Peterson, an internist based in.HPVHuman papillomavirus, the most common STD in the U.S., causes cervical and other types of cancer. An HPV test – often done at the same time as a Pap smear – is recommended every five years for women ages 30 to 65. Since HPV is so common in women under 30, and experts say it often goes away on its own, the test typically isn’t recommended for this age group unless there’s an abnormal Pap test result.Pelvic organ prolapseAbout one-third of women are affected by prolapse or a similar condition over their lifetime, which means one or more of their pelvic organs – bladder, uterus, vagina, small bowel and rectum – stop working properly. Beginning at age 65, women should be screened yearly, Peterson says. Often, patients are aware there’s a problem – and notice a change in bladder or bowel habits – but aren’t sure what it traces back to.Bone densityWomen ages 65 and up should have a bone density scan every two years, Rosser says. And if you have risk factors for osteoporosis – such as an eating disorder or sedentary lifestyle – your doctor may recommend the test at a younger age. During a bone density scan, X-rays measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are in a segment of bone; these tests often center on the spine, hip and forearm.Thyroid-stimulating hormone testingThis blood test checks for thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. It should begin as recommended between ages 19 to 49 in high-risk women – such as those with an autoimmune disease or family history – and every five years starting at age 50, Clark says.Skin cancerVisit a dermatologist for a thorough skin exam every other year, Peterson says – or sooner if you notice any suspicious spots. “Once a month, check for any new or unusual spots,” she says. “Remember A-B-C-D-E: asymmetry, border irregularity, uneven color, diameter bigger than 6 millimeters and evolving shape and size.”Visual acuityYou know this test: It measures the smallest letters you can read on a standardized chart held 20 feet away.The American Optometric Association recommends eye exams at least once every two years, Peterson says – though annual exams are suggested for anyone with current vision problems. After the basic test, you’ll likely look at an eye chart through a variety of lenses, which will help your doctor determine your glasses or contact lens prescription.Healthyliving.msn.comcenter_img Share Share Tweetlast_img read more