Crime Spikes in New Jersey after Police Layoffs Mar06


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Crime Spikes in New Jersey after Police Layoffs

State lawmakers, prompted by mass police layoffs in Trenton and a rising crime rate, have met with New Jersey’s top officials in recent days to request additional manpower.

In a meeting with new Attorney General Jeff Chiesa, Sen. Shirley Turner said she “just asked that he do whatever he could to improve the safety in Trenton, particularly as it concerns the gangs and the guns and the robberies, because it’s really like the wild, wild, west.”

Turner (D., Mercer) said she’s been trying to get law-enforcement help for Trenton since Mayor Tony Mack laid off 105 police officers in September 2011 — about one-third of the police force — due to budget constraints.

“Because of the deep, deep recession we’re in, I think we see more crime now because people are desperate and there are no jobs,” Turner said Friday after meeting with Chiesa for the second time.

“People feel they have nothing to lose. And if we don’t have police in the city who can protect, then it’s just going to get worse, and the criminals know that,” Turner said. “It’s easier for them to get a gun than for them to get a book, and it’s not getting any better, and that’s the problem, and that’s why we have to do what we can to get it under control, because it’s out of control now.”

Turner spoke highly of Chiesa, saying, “He is definitely a great attorney general. He’s very responsive and very concerned about the capital city, and he gets it. He understands that not only do we have the 84,000 Trentonians … at risk but also the thousands of state workers who have to travel here.”

Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, on Monday said Turner and Chiesa “had very productive discussions” and that Chiesa “indicated he would be looking at ways to provide law-enforcement support to the City of Trenton. For strategic reasons our office cannot discuss specific plans.”

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D., Mercer) had a one-on-one meeting with Gov. Chris Christie last week to discuss several issues, including Trenton crime. “Obviously the governor knows about the Trenton police shortage,” Gusciora said Monday. He said the Republican governor “didn’t make an absolute commitment. He was aware of the gravity of the situation, and he was going to follow up with the attorney general. … It was very encouraging to have a conversation with him.”

via The Reporter – N.J. Lawmakers: Trenton needs more police.

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