Crime Prevention Expert Helping City Says Times Free Press Actions "Undermining Violence Prevention Efforts And Are Extremely Dangerous"

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A crime prevention expert helping Mayor Andy Berke carry out a local High Point Initiative said in an email to officials of the Chattanooga Times Free Press that interviewing and giving the full names of those cooperating in the effort is "extremely dangerous."

David M. Kennedy, an official of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control, said the newspaper's action "are undermining Chattanooga’s violence prevention efforts."

Times Fress Press officials, in the Sunday paper, defended their coverage, saying that the public had a right to know details of the crime fighting effort.

Here is the Kennedy email:

From: David Kennedy <>
Date: Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 2:25 PM
To: "" <>, "" <>
Subject: The Times Free Press and the Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative

Dear Ms. Gerber and Mr. Taylor,

Over the last several days, in its coverage of the launch of Chattanooga’s Violence Reduction Initiative, the Chattanooga Times Free Press has – against our advice to the city, the city’s guidance to the media, standard national practice, and all common sense – sent two reporters and a photographer to the first group member call-in, stopped and attempted to interview those called in as they left the event, and most recently printed their full names.  The paper’s actions are undermining Chattanooga’s violence prevention efforts and are in fact extremely dangerous.  

·      Those called in are on probation and parole and are required to attend as a condition of their court supervision.  It is hugely inappropriate, and a violation of trust, to put them in a position where that exposes them to media.  The press should no more be there than it should shoulder into a one-on-one office visit between a probationer and his probation officer.

·      Supervisees who know they may end up on camera and named in the paper are less likely to attend future call-ins.  They and their groups will not hear the warnings and offers of support the city is delivering and are more likely to be sanctioned for noncompliance.  The Chattanooga Times Free Press is enhancing the chances that these individuals will be hurt and go to jail.

·      Street offenders (and many others in their communities) tend to lump the outside world into one large “them.”  It is beyond their comprehension that the city and the police cannot stop reporters from interrogating them, asking them their names or sticking a camera in their faces.  The paper is undercutting the trust in the authorities the Violence Reduction Initiative is carefully designed to produce.

·      Street offenders know only one situation in which their peers are brought into conversations with law enforcement and leave free men: when they snitch.  Snitches get killed.  The Chattanooga Times Free Press is putting the men who chose to attend the call-in at enormous personal risk.

I trust that these consequences were unintended, and that your organization will not produce them again going forward.

David M. Kennedy

David M. Kennedy
Center for Crime Prevention and Control
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ABERCROMBIE, KIMBERLY M  4114 10TH AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 41 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FUGITIVE (CATOOSA COUNTY GA) --- ANDERSON, BRIAN CHRISTOPHER  299 BRELAND STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37415  Age at Arrest: 26 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge ... (click for more)

Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Freeman). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. “2015 World AIDS Day” By Council for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention V. Ordinances – Final Reading: PLANNING a. 2015-124 Belle Investment Company and BYD Cowart, GP (Lift Condition). ... (click for more)

Lung Cancer, The Deadliest Cancer In The United States

This time of year, I remember to give thanks for my faith, my family and friends and my health. Recently, I learned that lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer in the United States; in fact, more Americans die each year from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. One in 13 men and one in 16 women will develop the disease in their lifetime. It’s important to learn about ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Can’t ‘Ban The Box’

I know a man who has over 20 former convicts from federal prisons who either work for him or who have retired with their dignity, pride, and self-worth restored. Better yet, I know some of them, men who have done “hard time” in prisons so wretched none of us would dare to go. So on the surface I applaud City Councilman Yusef Hakeem for seeing ways to get formerly incarcerated men ... (click for more)

Red Bank Comeback Trips Hixson In Vandergriff Duals

The last time Red Bank's wrestling Lions faced the Hixson Wildcats in the Hixson gym, Hixson won a close match to earn a spot in the State Duals. These same two teams squared off at Hixson Saturday afternoon in the championship match of the Vandergriff Duals, but the results were different as the Lions rallied for a 34-31 win. Red Bank had won its pool at Hixson Middle ... (click for more)

UTC Defeats Fordham, 50-20

Senior quarterback Jacob Huesman threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another 154 yards to lead UTC to a 50-20 victory against visiting Fordham Saturday at Finley Stadium in a FCS first round playoff game. The Mocs played a near flawless first half, scored on four straight possessions to lead 31-0 at intermission. First half highlights ... (click for more)