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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

When 'Sam Spade' is the police

By Alana Semuels


Retired police officer Harry Glemser, 63, works as a private detective in the Camden, N.J., area. With deep police cutbacks, Glemser is getting more work



Residents across cash-strapped states are increasingly being forced to turn to private detectives as cities and towns cut police forces to contend with deep budget cuts


JewishWorldReview.com |

C AMDEN, N.J. — (MCT) In an office in a sleepy town in southern New Jersey, Harry Glemser's phone rang. With no buxom secretary to take a message, he answered it himself.

It was a dame, looking to hire a private eye.

But this was no scene from a noir novel. The woman was calling because someone in a car kept lurking in her driveway, the engine running, when her husband wasn't home. She'd called the police, but they couldn't help. She hoped Glemser could.

Detectives like Glemser across cash-strapped states have been getting more calls like these as cities and towns cut their police forces to contend with deep budget cuts. New Jersey alone lost 4,200 officers from 2008 to 2011, according to the Policemen's Benevolent Assn., which tracks the state's most recent data. As police focus more on responding to crime rather than preventing it, private detectives and security firms are often taking on the roles that police once did, investigating robberies, checking out alibis, looking into threats.


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"The public is frustrated by the police," said Glemser, a retired cop of 63 whose gold chains, white hair and bulky body might make a stranger worry he's on the wrong side of the law. "The citizenry is quick to say that the police don't do anything for them. They should be saying the police can't do anything for them because of this budgetary issue, this manpower problem, this directive we have that came down from the chief."

Private detectives are just one piece of the private sector security and policing services that people are increasingly turning to as they worry about crime. The U.S. private security industry is expected to grow 6.3% a year to $19.9 billion by 2016, according to a study by security research group Freedonia Group Inc. Even some in the public sector are trying to tap into the industry to save money; one Tennessee power department laid off security officers last year and replaced them with security technology and private contractors.

In California, where many cash-strapped cities cut police budgets during the recession, residents are turning to detectives, security firms and even the Internet.

After police cuts in Oakland, resident Dabney Lawless encouraged 400 neighbors to sign up on a website so they could send alerts to one another when they noticed suspicious people around; she also pays extra to an alarm company to drive through the neighborhood. Ron Cancio, the manager of a Stockton security firm, said that since the city's budget battles, residents often have called his firm for minor complaints, because they know he'll respond more quickly than the police.

Of course, not everyone can afford private police help.

Roger Arrella, the owner of TSInvestigations in Corona, said he's getting a lot more calls from people who say police won't help them in investigating burglaries, suspicious suicides or identity theft. But once they hear his rates, which are around $150 an hour, they usually balk.

"We get the phone calls — people are upset that someone broke into their house, or stole their car, and the police aren't doing what they should be doing," he said. "But then you tell them the price, and they say, well, maybe it's not worth it to me."

It's another facet of how income inequality is playing out in America — as cities are forced to cut their budgets, even police protection is more accessible to those with cash.

"Wealthy neighborhoods are buying themselves more police protection than poor neighborhoods," said Samuel Walker, emeritus professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the author of 13 books on policing.

Latch Raghu, for instance, hired a private eye after his 1986 Buick Grand Regal National, worth $100,000, was stolen in Belleville, N.J. Though police had access to street cameras and Raghu had some ideas as to who might have stolen it, he couldn't get the case moving. Raghu hired Joseph Blaettler, an ex-cop who runs East Coast Private Investigations of New Jersey.

"The police came and took reports, and I went to them a week and a half later, and they weren't doing anything," Raghu said. "I had to take steps of my own."

Inequality has always been present: Millionaires hire bodyguards, rich neighborhoods pay for private security patrols. But this budget crisis makes the difference even more pronounced, Walker said.

"We've never had budget crises like this — it's a whole new situation," Walker said. "It's entirely possible people just stop calling the police because they don't expect anything, or take more protective measures, or don't go out."

Nationally, employment in local government jobs, which includes police departments, has dropped 4% since 2009 (this sector excludes education jobs). Many states didn't start cutting police budgets until the scope of their budget problems became evident, in 2009.

Employment in investigation and security services, on the other hand, started ticking up in early 2009, and has grown 5.1% since then, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The decline in police funding means cities such as Camden have to pick their battles. The city broke its own record last year when it had 67 murders.

"With our budget cuts, obviously, we have to treat things like triage," said Robert Corrales, a spokesman for the city. "We handle the more pressing situations before routine traffic stops or speeding tickets."

At times, police and private detectives can be antagonists, such as when private detectives are hired by defendants to go over police work and figure out where law enforcement might have missed evidence, or didn't follow through on a case.

Recently, a mother called Blaettler, begging him to get her son out of jail, where she said he was being held for a murder he didn't commit. Blaettler found evidence about the man's alibi that the police hadn't followed up on, and helped the man get out of jail, leaving police without a suspect.

But other times, police and private detectives work together.

Police netted the driveway lurker with Glemser's help, for instance. Once he got off the phone with the woman, Glemser settled in outside the house for an old-fashioned stakeout.

The next time the car lurked in the driveway, the woman's husband was home. He called the police, who had started paying attention because Glemser had alerted them to his work. They tracked down the bad guy by his license plate number.

Glemser took on her case for free, something some detectives are doing in this age of austerity.

In another case, Glemser headed into Camden — one of the most dangerous cities in the country — to find a prostitute who had warrants out for her arrest. Police weren't arresting her, though, and her mother hired Glemser to bring her home. The private eye posed as a john, asking others for the woman named Christine, until he found her and brought her home. Her mother has checked her into rehab.

"I didn't feel like the police were going to help me any way at all," said Christine's mother, Joanne, an administrator who lives in Milford, Pa., and wanted the family's last name kept private while her daughter goes to rehab. "In Camden, they have so few police now, and there's so much violence and drug problems, they just push it all under the rug."


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