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This Just In: November 19 - 26 

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A Grave Situation

Summary: "Target 11" examines crime in city cemeteries. Station: Rick Earle, WPXI Channel 11 Airtime: 2 minutes, 34 seconds on Nov. 12 Visuals: * Sundry shots of leafy, local cemeteries. Highlights: * When Earle announces, "[This woman] carries this rock in the trunk of her car as a reminder of the day she became a victim." * When the woman says, "[T]he reason I kept it was because I thought to myself, 'When I come here, if I have a lapse of memory and I look in my trunk, the first thing I'm gonna remember is what happened to me.'" * When Earle elaborates, "It happened here at Calvary Cemetery in Hazelwood, while she was visiting her husband's grave. He had been a police officer for 20 years, and [she] says she should have known better. She was here on the hillside when she spotted someone standing next to her car." * When the woman recounts saying "'Get away from my car,' and at that point in time, he took a rock. He threw it through the passenger-side window, reached in and grabbed my handbag and took off." * When Earle continues, "Target 11 crunched the numbers at five of the city's largest cemeteries, and during the past four years there have been 67 incidents. By far the most common cemetery crime? Thefts. There were 37 of them. ... The next, vandalism -- 15 separate incidents ... followed by seven harassment cases." * When Earle breaks down the numbers further: "So what cemeteries have the most crime? Homewood Cemetery and Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville each had nine. At South Side Cemetery near Carrick, 14 incidents. And the most crimes occurred in Calvary Cemetery. ... Police investigated 31 incidents here." * When a woman representing the Catholic Cemeteries Association laments that "people would come into what we consider to be a sacred space and conduct these crimes." She then lists precautions they've posted at Calvary for visitors. * When the widow, who now carries pepper spray with her, sums up: "I was lucky -- the rock went through my window, it didn't go into my head. I wasn't raped, I wasn't beaten, or God forbid, killed. But that doesn't mean it couldn't happen again." What We Learned: Digging up a good story during sweeps month isn't always easy. Unanswered Question: Is anything sacred anymore? News Value: 1. "Crunched the numbers?" That's a stretch. These statistics, over a four-year period, don't seem to be out of line enough to warrant an "investigation." Don't get me wrong: I'm disgusted by the crimes, which is what WPXI is banking on. But regurgitating a few numbers does not an "investigation" make.

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