Which Town in Central Jersey is Safer in Terms of Crime: Edison or North Plainfield?

Oftentimes, many parents with newborns want to be able to live in a town with low crime rates so their children can grow up in a safe and livable environment. The process can be difficult and daunting for new parents who do not have a lot of time. This was especially true for my parents when they were deciding on where to live in New Jersey. In this article, I have chosen two towns closest to each other in Central New Jersey which may have growing populations.

North Plainfield is in Central New Jersey and in recent events, is known to have an increased number of crime rates. The small town of of North Plainfield is stationed next to Plainfield, another town known for higher crime rates. Below is an interactive graph of the crime rates from January to March of 2016 vs. January to March of 2017.

Larceny Theft is one of the major crimes in North Plainfield. Larceny theft crimes are higher than any other crime listed in the chart above. To put the crimes in perspective, here is an entirely different graph since the numbers from Larceny theft would overpower every other crime and make the bar graph even smaller than it is.

There is a lot of larceny theft in North Plainfield, with not a decrease, but an increase in from January of 2016 to January of 2017. A photo of the graph is shown below.

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Edison is further up North in New Jersey, about a 30 minute drive from North Plainfield. A bustling local town, many people do choose to reside here rather than North Plainfield. A more urban feel is added to Edison than North Plainfield. Edison seems to be busier and filled with more cars and streets than North Plainfield. Below are the crime rates of Edison from January through March of 2016 vs. 2017.

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Although these two towns are only 30 minutes away, there are differing results for the crimes documented. Comparing both datas from both years will bring a better perspective into the analysis. In 2016, North Plainfield’s total number of crimes reached 144. Edison had 324 crimes in total. In 2017, North Plainfield’s number had increased from 2016. The total had risen to 170. Edison’s number of crimes had risen to 409. Both numbers have risen tremendously. However, one must keep in mind that even though both North Plainfield and Edison are towns, they have different population numbers.

Edison has 99,967 people living in the town as of the 2010 Census. North Plainfield has far less. The small town of North Plainfield 21,936 people according to the 2010 Census. These numbers should put the crime rates and numbers in a clearer lens. According to the New Jersey State Police site, the crime rate of North Plainfield has risen 18.1% whereas Edison’s crime rate has risen 26.2%.

According to these numbers and statistics alone, North Plainfield is the safer town to live in. Nevertheless, the place in which one wants to live in is dependent on one’s own feelings and intuition on the town itself.

Note: These two towns were chosen because they had similar crimes documented. Therefore, it was easier to graph and look at the data without having to erase too many crimes, thus not giving the correct data. 

Note 2**: Note that the vertical axis are now different. This was the author’s choice because the amount of larceny theft in Edison exceeded the amount of that of North Plainfield. The author decided to choose a vertical axis that could pertain to both data results. However, if the graph was placed at 200, there would have been two full graphs and that would not have shown the difference between 2016 and 2017. 

Note 3: All data was retrieved from:  http://www.njsp.org/ucr/pdf/current/20170501_crimetrend.pdf

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What do Americans Think about Global Warming and Climate Change?

Climate change is a serious issue and will affect the state of Earth in a matter of a few years. If we do take precautions and drastic measures for climate change, there won’t be a world to rule anymore.

Since New York Times has a certain credibility to its name, I would like to believe that the polls and results gathered from each state is true to its word and credible in a sense. However, I cannot say this because humans are liars. We sometimes lie to be socially acceptable and not be socially outcasted. Therefore, the results gathered from the data may not be reliable. There are certain aspects and errors that bring up many questions. For example, how did they get to every single state? It would be nearly impossible to reach every state and every person in said state and gather the information.

Looking at the six different maps, I would say that the chart is fairly easy to read. I do not think they accounted for people who are colorblind, but other than that, I think that the maps are relatively easy to read and does get the message across. When reading and examining the maps, I would say that it does not encourage exploration. This is solely from personal experience. I look at the maps and I absorb it and I am done. The colors are based from cool colors to hotter colors. The “cooler” the color, the less percentage there is of adults disagreeing with the current question. A few of the maps (Map 2 – effects worldwide vs. affecting me personally for example) create a very interesting contrast and comparison, urging the readers to think more about how thoughts of climate change and global warming correlate with the effects felt by individuals. This calls for a reevaluation of priorities.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/21/climate/how-americans-think-about-climate-change-in-six-maps.html

 

 

Interview with a Clerk Supervisor at Hofstra University (Video Project)

I went around Hofstra University looking for interesting people and stopped to see Roslyn Wilson. She is a part time clerk supervisor of the Axinn Library and also receives her education at the local Nassau Community College. Working and getting an education is a difficult task to maintain and I was set on learning from her life. So, I interviewed her. Majoring in business administration at the Nassau Community College and working part time at the Hofstra Library, Wilson is able to have the best of both worlds. She stays positive in her busy lifestyle through the friends that she has made throughout her time at Hofstra. One friend, Natalie Lorenzo, keeps her company on Monday evenings. Wilson has said many good things about her, one of which is Lorenzo being a talented singer and guitar player. Click the link down below to see the video interview with Roslyn Wilson.

 

 

 

Stockholm Crash (NYT Video Critique)

April 7th, 2017 marked the day of the Stockholm Crash. At least three people were killed in this accident. Although the event may be seen as an accident to many, New York Times believes that the ‘accident’ was a terror attack. The video title suggests that with, “‘Everything Indicates’ Terror Attack in Stockholm.” The quote is taken from the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven.

Most of the video is raw footage from many residents of the area who heard and saw the crash happen. Words fade in as videos run, slowly giving the audience time to take in the horrors of the terror attack. The raw footage accentuates the accident and makes it even more real than it should be for the audience. The words that appear do not seem to be biased and is rather neutral, simply stating the facts.

The video transitions are very abrupt and go from one scene to another. The video also adds in the lower thirds rule for mentioning names. Above the name is the direct translation. Even though I find that this is a nice strategy, I also find this set up technique also kind of blocky and condensed. The name title and the translation are a bit too close to each other, but where else is one going to put it?

The first few seconds of the video that show the raw footage does not seem to have a lot of sound. However, when the residents are running into a shop and the train goes by, the audience can hear that the train sounds and volume gets progressively higher. The train sounds runs over the next raw footage a little bit, but as the video progresses, the ambulance is the only sound that is much more prominent than the rest, giving the viewers a sense of urgency and anticipation. I like the strategy that the producer has made, making the ambulance siren sound louder than anything else. Ambulances give mostly everyone a sense of anticipation and apprehension, which drives up the fear and anxiety in the video. Fear and anxiety will work well with the video and make the viewers a little more empathetic and distressed. Therefore, the viewers will be much more likely to share the video, thus gaining more views.

After the ambulance siren scene, the video switches to an aerial view of a town or city in Sweden where the attack has occurred. The first scene shows the area of the attack and then transitions into a more detailed and precise version of where the vehicle crashed. The transition between the two scenes is important and subtle at the same time. The transition is a fade in, suggesting a passage of time. The ambulance sirens can still be heard in the background, which again, increases anticipation, fear, anxiety, and apprehension.  

The video abruptly transitions into the next scene of the Prime Minister of Sweden talking and then prominently to the outside, where residents and police are gathered. The people in the video are obviously curious and distressed. The video then ends abruptly as the police is answering one of the curious bystanders. The ending of the video makes the viewers wonder what happened in the aftermath of the crash. 

Back to the Basics

Picking out picture books, playing with blocks on an illustrated town carpet, and summer reading. The library: the only place where the activities are as abundant as the information held.  Many people have gone to the library to find information for a book report or on something that he or she is really passionate about.

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For this article, I decided to choose my town library and, as the title suggests, go back to the basics. As a young Asian kid growing up in central New Jersey, there were many problems I faced, one of which would be verbal abuse or verbal bullying. I was not one of the cool kids, since I had recently moved from China to New Jersey. Being the “new” kid was hard. I didn’t learn or even know any English and was made fun of for not speaking any English as well as being Asian in a predominantly Hispanic and Black community.

Life at home became difficult as well with the added pressures of becoming a straight A student. Life was hard, but as young as I was, I still had hope. I found hope in my own town library, properly named North Plainfield Library.

I loved borrowing books and the library was the only place where I could have my peace and quiet. Diving into a fantasy story where I could escape the troubles of reality? Yes, please! As W. Somerset Maugham beautifully stated, “To acquire the habit of reading is to create for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life”

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I did not know that the library would have such a big impact on my life. I would soon come to know the staff and even volunteer from middle school to high school at NPL.

One of the newer additions to the staff, Errol Logan, came in around June of 2016. Although many were not as excited in the beginning to see Miss Katie (the previous teen services person) replaced, students and kids were able to warm up to him in no time at all.

Errol was able to create a bond with the kids through playing games with them. In his own free time, he plays every type of game imaginable, so it is difficult to not relate and bond with this fellow librarian! Mr. Logan plays board games such as Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride, among many more. He also plays PC games such as first or third person shooters, World of Warcraft (WOW), and even Star Wars: The New Republic.

His love for Dungeons and Dragons also trickles down into the program that he hosts after school on Wednesdays at 3:30PM. Here, Dungeons and Dragons fans will be able to play and battle as well as build necessary skills such as teamwork and critical thinking.

As for his educational background? Mr. Logan majored in Library Sciences at Rutgers University because “it was the only school in New Jersey for Library Sciences”.

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One of the many libraries on campus, Rutgers has Library Sciences Programs. Rutgers is the only school in New Jersey that has a good Library Sciences program. This is not surprising, since New Jersey is more well known for its STEM focused fields.

 

 

Now, many students and readers will think something along the lines of “Why would one need to go to school to learn how to become a librarian? Isn’t it self explanatory?” I admit, I was one of these people back in the day, until I gained some insight and learned what the job required its employers to do. Being a librarian is not as simple as it seems.

There are about seven (and counting) jobs that a librarian is responsible for completing. Librarians “advocate for the value of our service”, as Logan describes. “We provide quality information to patrons, as the information can be of various kinds.” Although Google may always be one click away, there is a sense of security in talking with a librarian about one’s special needs. A level of secrecy is revealed between the two. With the help of the librarian, you will be sure to get the information that you need as well as maintain full knowledge that the privacy of the conversation will stay private.

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As a librarian, one must have good communication skills and talk to library goers (of all ages) and connect. Communication is an important tool for a librarian to have, since any of their customers, young and old, may need help.

Librarians also teach kids and adults alike practical life skills such as cooking and taxes. Classes or programs are created by librarians to teach anyone of all ages how to maintain certain life skills.

One of the main responsibilities of librarians is to make sure that the children and teenagers are disciplined (if need be) and safe. Errol, himself, takes care of documenting behavioral issues within the library. He is responsible for calling and informing parents about the child’s disruptive behavior.

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Sometimes, books and magazines will have misplaced pages scattered throughout. Librarians are responsible for putting the correct pages in the correct order.

In a regular day, programs are run by librarians. Mr. Logan has even created a program for kids of many ages for Maker Day, one day a year where unique programs are held such as the Intro to Craft Foam Cosplay Armor Making.

Before the program even starts, Errol goes downstairs to the program room a few minutes early to set things up for the attendees.

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As the scheduled program time creeps closer, Errol makes sure the displays and examples are ready to go.

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The displays that are being used are not bought. Since North Plainfield Library does not have a lot of money, many of the programs are lowly funded. Errol made the gauntlet and brace himself by using his own time and money to create pieces. When recounting the days, Errol stated, “it took me about two to four hours to complete the gauntlet.” Now, that’s what I call dedication!

The kids and adults stream into the program, ready, eager, and excited to start. Kids and adults of all ages and races come by to enjoy the Maker Day program that Errol has set up,created, and advertised himself.

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Instructions and safety are a must in every program as he is shown demonstrating safety procedures and warnings for some of the dangerous tools the attendees are going to be using.

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By the end of the program, everyone is pretty satisfied and content with what they have made. Maybe some will even try them at home!

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Cleaning up is not always fun, but at the end of the day, if anyone and everyone is happy and smiling, then the responsibilities that go along with the program is worth it.

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Through showing the kids how to use the glue gun and the heater, Errol has hurt himself demonstrating what not to do. Soaking one’s hands in cold water is a surefire way to get hot glue out of your hands!

After the program, Mr. Logan goes back to work and becomes a regular librarian once again.

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Being a librarian is difficult. There are a lot of hidden tasks and responsibilities that a librarian must take on. But, at the end of the day, if you love what you do, then that’s really all that matters, right?

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Pollution Photo Series Critique

On February 28th, 2017, Anmar Frangoul posted ten pictures of the damage of pollution around the world.

In an overall view, most of the pictures are wide or medium shots, with barely any (if at all) creative shots to surprise the viewers. However, the images do show a variety in its subject. The photo series does tell a story, but could be much more detailed if in depth captions are written. 

Anmar Frangoul decided to capture some photos with an animal as the main subject changing the human emotion from careless to empathetic. One example of empathy in action can be found here. 

In Bangladesh, pollution takes over the mountains of trash and dirt. The kids are playing on top of the trash and seem to be malnourished as well. This photo is evidently a nice wide shot of both the kids and the background.

India shows a little bit more of a variety than the previous image, as the shot is now from the waist up. The background is hazed (and that’s not even on purpose!). The runners are the main focus and the colors of their shirts is the first thing that jumps out at the viewer. This is a good photo with contrasts.

Vietnam shows a close medium shot of motorists during morning rush hour. Viewers can see that many natives have a cloth over their mouths. This is most likely the result of the pollution in the air. This image is particularly boring, but busy.

With Pakistan, the photographer goes back to the a wide shot of uniformed schoolboys with a caption that merely states what is happening in the photo.

Indonesia has a wide shot as well, but the picture is intriguing. The passage near the shops is filled with dirty water and trash. The gloomy ambience of the photo brings a certain sadness to the photo and the lives of these Indonesian people.

Brazil sports a dead sea turtle washed ashore on the beach of Ipojuca in January 2017.  The close up shot of the dead sea turtle may startle viewers. The amount of plastic can be reduced by humans, and seeing the sea turtle killed by plastic wrapped around its neck does not make the guilt any less distinguished.

Waste continues to land on the beaches of Troon, Scotland. A picture of balled up plastic is shown in a close up view, making the colorful plastic the main event. The caption for this particular photo is decent, since the caption shows statistics of plastic on the effects of amphipods.

China seems to be the most problematic with pollution, but the Chinese do not seem to be bothered, as the photo shows. The image is once again a wide shot, but still focuses on the couple in the foreground. The picture creates a nice contrast by showing dancers (a relatively happy sport) in a thick cloud of smog.

In Nigeria, a resident shows the dirt and soot from the air on his car. The photo is a medium shot and shows the background. The contrast between the color of the sky, the residents’ skin, and the soot is shocking. All factors are completely different, but the eyes are immediately drawn to the soot on the hand of the resident since it contrasts completely with the sky.

Chinese buildings are covered in smog. The viewers can barely see the buildings themselves…just the outline.