Return to Transcripts main page


Crime Rates Drop in 28 Major U.S. Cities; Trump Scolds China; North Korea Prepares Possible Missile Launch; Israel to Name Train Station After Trump; Moore Alabama Election Challenge Rejected. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired December 28, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: According to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice, the overall crime rate in 28 of the largest 30 U.S. cities fell 27 percent. And violent crime overall dipped 1.7 percent. In New York, plunging to lows not seen since the 1950s. That's when shows like "Leave It to Beaver" and "I Love Lucy" were on the air. In Boston, violent crime down nearly 8 percent this year. Also down in Philadelphia, Las Vegas, San Diego. In our nation's capital, Washington, D.C., violent crime dropped nearly 24 percent.

Let's talk it over with Lauren-Brooke Eisen, a senior counsel for the Brennan Center Justice Program.

Lauren-Brooke, thank you for spending time with us.

It sounds like good news. Based on the research, what is behind the falling crime rates in many of the country's biggest cities?

LAUREN-BROOKE EISEN, SENIOR COUNSEL, BRENNAN CENTER JUSTICE PROGRAM: You are absolutely right. Crime is down nationwide, according to the Brennan Center analysis. And as you mentioned, about 2.7 percent nationwide. And one of the reasons we think that crime is down across the nation in the 30 cities that we analyzed in our analysis is because of many factors, including inflation, including unemployment rates, including the economic factors. Plus, the addition of changing policing tactics that we saw in the 1990s and comp stat. And in New York City, we've seen an incredible decrease in violent crime. In fact, on track this year, in New York, to see less than 300 murders in 2017 in New York. That's unprecedented. In fact, since we have been collecting crime statistics, New York City has never seen a murder rate as low as under 300.

CABRERA: And yet, there are some cities seeing an uptick, Chicago and Los Angeles, according to your analysis, slight increases in violent crime. Any specific reasons behind that?

EISEN: In Chicago, in 2017, we did see an uptick of about 50 percent in the murder rate. And in Baltimore, we also saw an uptick. And nobody really knows exactly why murder is increasing in some large cities across the nation. Again, these are very few cities. Crime is down nationwide in most cities. But we know the police departments in Chicago, in Baltimore are thinking about their strategies and hiring more officers to fight some of these trends in crime. However, very smart people in academics have been studying crime trends for decades, including the Brennan Center, and it's hard to understand exactly why a crime may be up or down from year to year. But we do think it's some sort of combination of economic factors as well as policing factors that do drive crime up and down.

CABRERA: All right. Lauren-Brooke Eisen, thank you for the insight. And we appreciate that. And we appreciate you joining us especially on a holiday week.

Up next, President Trump scolds China in a tweet for not being tough enough on North Korea. This, as new fears mount another missile test could be coming soon. We'll take you live to the Pentagon when we come back.


[14:37:18] CABRERA: President Trump has taken to Twitter to shame China over its reluctance to stop propping up North Korea. The president tweeting this morning, "Caught red handed. Very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea if this continues to happen."

Let's bring in Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon correspondent.

So, Barbara, you are hearing that North Korea may be preparing to launch another missile. What can you tell us?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Ana. There are indications, and we have to say they are preliminary. Officials are telling us they are not sure what it means, that North Korea could be preparing for, yes, another provocation of an intercontinental ballistic missile launch test, maybe even a satellite launch. They are seeing initial indications of equipment, potentially vehicles moving around that could be early indicators that the North is preparing for another weapons test.

But it comes at a very sensitive time because of what exactly what you are saying, the U.S. definitely trying to pressure China to clamp down on North Korea's ability to earn any currency to finance its weapons program. And of course, after the first of the year, we have the Olympic Games coming up in South Korea. So folks are looking for a period of time of calm and stability on the peninsula as the Olympic Games approach, as those games go on. And trying to calm things down a bit, partially so diplomacy can take its course and so the games go on without any interruption -- Ana?

CABRERA: And even though the president is still tweeting rather aggressive statements, you are hearing from Pentagon officials that the U.S. is trying to tone things down. You talk about creating stability. And in fact, they'll try to be more discreet in conducting military drills with allies in the region. What would that look like?

STARR: Well, you know, up until now, whenever the U.S. has so-called war game or training with the South Koreans, with the Japanese, aimed at demonstrating allied military capability in the region, they make a big point, actually, at the Pentagon of talking about it, making sure everybody knows that it is training, that it's not upcoming real-world military operations, if you will. Now, the idea is to talk about that less, give China a little more room for diplomacy, try and calm things down with North Korea, which always reacts badly to U.S. war games. But it's a bit risky, officials tell us, because they really do want the North to understand the difference between real military operations and just training. And of course, even though this is the idea right now of what they want to achieve, it will be up to President Trump to decide if he wants to continue with that or he could take to Twitter again -- Ana?

[14:40:08] CABRERA: It's always unpredictable.

Thank you, Barbara Starr for your report. Good to see you.

STARR: Sure.

CABRERA: Up next, CNN uncovers what appears to be a systemic problem on airlines. No clear policy on how to deal with sexual harassment and assaults on flights. We'll share the stories of four women who dealt with it firsthand. Stay with us.


CABRERA: From Hollywood to the halls of Congress, the #metoo movement is reshaping how our nation deals with sexual harassment and assault, even 30,000 feet above the ground. Four women coming forward sharing their stories about being groped or harassed on commercial flights without little or any intervention from the airlines.

CNN aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, reports.



[14:45:03] RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A man arrested last week, accused of fondling two female passengers onboard a United Airlines flight from Newark to Buffalo, New York.

Katie Campos was one of them.

KATIE CAMPOS, SEXUALLY HARASSED ON FLIGHT: He grabbed my upper thigh, like the crotch area. And he grabbed it pretty forcefully.

MARSH: A police report says the man told the other woman he would like to kiss her. When she declined, he started stroking her leg. The man charged with disorderly conduct.

United airlines told CNN, "We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and our pilot requested that local law enforcement meet the aircraft on arrival."

Not enough for Campos, who tweeted, "Do better United Airlines."

She says the flight attendant did not offer her to switch seats. She had to demand it.

She was then placed directly behind the harasser, the airlines says, because there were few empty seats. The touching continued.

CAMPOS: At the end of the day, they didn't protect my safety or those around me, and I don't think that's a good excuse.

MARSH: Like Campos, these three women told CNN they were sexually harassed or assaulted on commercial flights and all of them complained the flight crew did little or nothing to help.

AYANNA HART, SEXUALLY HARASSED ON FLIGHT: He grabbed my arm and my side right under my left breast, right next to my left breast.

MARSH: Ayanna Hart was on a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Denver in May. She said the flight attendant was of no help.

HART: The flight attendant said, oh, don't worry about him. He flies with us all the time.

MARSH: Hart has a pending lawsuit against Delta for failing to intervene and continuing to serve them alcohol.

The airline would not comment on this sighting pending litigation but says it takes these incidents seriously and with law enforcement investigates them.

ALLISON DUBLASIA (ph), SEXUALLY HARASSED ON FLIGHT: I was dozing off when I felt a hand in my crotch. And realized that the man next to me was grabbing my crotch.

MARSH: Allison Dublasia (ph) filed a complaint with Delta after her flight from Seattle to Amsterdam.

DUBLASIA (ph): There was not a clear procedure for what they should do. They asked me what I wanted them to do.

MARSH: A month later, she received an e-mail saying it's not fair when one person's behavior effects another. And as a goodwill gesture, offered her 10,000 miles.

DUBLASIA (ph): If somebody reports a crime to an airline, then it should be flagged and should not treated as if it's lost luggage.

MARSH: The airline told CNN, "We continue to be disheartened by the events Miss Dublasia (ph) has described."

JENNIFER RUFIAN (ph), SEXUALLY HARASSED ON FLIGHT: He started to touch my leg, stroke my leg, tickle it.

MARSH: Jennifer Rufian (ph) was from a flight from Newark to Phoenix. She, too, said the flight crew did not move her away from her harasser. Instead, the airline made her an offer.

RUFIAN (ph): He gave me four $100 gift certificates on travel for upcoming United flight. And he refused to let me talk to a manager. MARSH: But shortly after a news article about her ordeal was

published, United management called to, in their words, "check on her."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This message is for Miss Jennifer Rufian (ph). Calling from United Airlines executive offices. I can't even imagine what you went through when you were on the flight with the gentleman seated next to you.

SARA NELSON, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: At thousands of feet in the air, you can't call for help. You can't remove the problem.

MARSH: Sara Nelson is president of one of the largest flight attendant unions.

NELSON: I my 22 years as a flight attendant, I have never taken part in conversation or training or otherwise about how though handle sexual harassment or sexual assault.

MARSH: The union survived nearly 2,000 flight attendants. One out of five said they received a report of a passenger sexual assault but law enforcement was contacted less than hatch the time.

CNN reached out to all of the major U.S. airlines and the industry trade group that represents them, none agreed to go on camera, but all released statements with a similar message, passenger safety and security is their priority. And they say flight attendants are trained to handle these incidents. But none gave a detailed explanation of the policies or guidelines.

No federal regulatory agency tracks how many midair sexual assaults happen nationwide. But the FBI does track how many it investigates. Federal data shows a 66 percent increase from 2014 to 2017. The FBI says it's unclear what's behind the rise.

But what is clear, for these women, flight crews need to do more, because at 30,000 feet, there is no escape.

(on camera): Well, I want to thank you all four women for sharing their stories with CNN. The four women in this piece say they want three things. One, flight crews should always separate the victim from the harasser. Two, do not allow drunk people on flights. Alcohol played a role in a lot of these cases. And, three, call law enforcement to report these cases upon landing every time.

They also advise, try to avoid the window or middle seat. Sitting in the aisle allows for easier get away if necessary.

We do want to point out several lawmakers have been pushing for legislation that would beef up flight crew training and mandate better tracking of these incidents.


[14:50:27] CABRERA: An important story. Rene Marsh, thank you.

Up next, Israel looks to return the favor to President Trump after his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. Coming soon, Donald Trump, the high-speed rail station. And the naming frenzy may not end there. We'll take you live to Jerusalem. next.


[14:55:13] CABRERA: Israel announced plans today for a Donald Trump train station in Jerusalem. Now Israel's transportation minister says this is a thank-you of sorts to President Trump for controversial announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel capitol. While Trump's decision on Jerusalem is popular among Israel's, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn Trump's move.

Let's go to CNN's Oren Liebermann, in Jerusalem, to talk about the new rail station inside the walls of Jerusalem old city.

Oren, talk about the significance of that location specifically.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the old city itself is probably the most sensitive point in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and any change to its status or to the city itself leads to widespread demonstrations and condemnations, not only locally but throughout the international community. That's why these plans -- and we're still a few years away from see these plans put into effect -- but these plans are so sensitive. It's an extension of the high-speed rail line, which starts running next year, that will go straight into the old city. The station itself will be 50 or 60 meters underground but will let passengers off within the old city walls just a few feet away from the Western Wall, the holiest site at which Jews can pray. In May, President Trump made history as the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall. And a few weeks ago, when he recognized Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, it led Israel's of minister of transportation to say this is how we'll say thank you. We'll take a $215 million train station and name it Donald J. Trump Station.

Of course, anything here that makes the Israel's happy tends to anger the Palestinians, and this is no exception. A senior Muslim cleric said naming it after Trump and building a high-speed railway in the old city, doesn't change the fact that East Jerusalem is occupied territory -- Ana?

CABRERA: And I understand this Trump naming trend is sweeping across Jerusalem and other parts of Israel. What other projects could get the Trump name?

LIEBERMANN: The big one, of course, is the high-speed rail station. But there is a park in northern Israel in a city that will be named after President Trump. That starts construction next month. A city council here in Jerusalem wants to change the name of a street to Donald Trump Street. And there's a plan in a southern Israeli city to also name a street after Trump, a new street that would be.

So it seems this is a bit of a frenzy, all of a sudden, with Trump's declaration a few weeks ago.

CABRERA: Oren Liebermann, interesting development from Jerusalem. Thank you.

Stay with us. NEWSROOM, next.

And we are almost to the top of the hour. I'm Ana Cabrera, in for Brooke Baldwin.

It's not over until it's over. But the state of Alabama has just certified Democrat Doug Jones as Senator-elect. We brought this to you live within the last hour here on CNN.

His opponent, Republican Roy Moore, made a last-minute push to invalidate the results. But minutes before the election was officially certified, a judge rejected Moore's legal complaint that had alleged rampant voter fraud across the state. Moore was also disputing the accusations that he sexually abused and assaulted teen girls when he was in his '30s, and said took a polygraph test to prove his innocence.

Well, a short while ago, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill was asked if all the conflicts in this race put a black eye on the state's reputation.


JOHN MERRILL, ALABAMA SECRETARY OF STATE: That is up to the people who write the history of the state of Alabama. And when that book is written, it will go in that bookcases right there where all the other Alabama history books are.

I'll tell you this. I don't think there is any doubt in anybody's mind that has followed this election objectively, that this election has been conducted with the utmost integrity, that it's been safe, secure, it's been credible. The results have the kind of integrity and credibility that the people of Alabama expect and demand. And that the people of the United States of America know has occurred in our state.

And if there has ever been a doubt as to whether or not the people of Alabama are given the opportunity to participate at the level that they choose to, and that they have been able to do so without any hindrance whatsoever, that's all been eliminated. And anybody else that continues to perpetuate that myth is doing just that. And if they want to write their book we'll add their fictional account to that library as well.


CABRERA: Important to note, the secretary of state was a Roy Moore voter.

Let's go to CNN Dianne Gallagher, live in Montgomery where that happened.

Dianne, what are you hearing from Doug Jones today, the Senator-elect?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Ana, the Senator-elect basically saying they are ready to move on. They said that this morning when Roy Moore had filed that temporary restraining order motion, trying to delay the certification of this election.

I want to point something out very interesting to you, though, from these election results, the official results here. Roy Moore lost to Doug Jones by just roughly 21,924 votes. The number of write-in votes --