Newark Public Safety Dept. Launches Community Roll Call, Foot Patrol For Summer Season

“It’s not just for us to be here and worry about crime initiatives but also quality of life issues whether they have garbage pickup or street sweeping needs to come by,” Malave told TAPinto Newark.

The initiative also takes a more traditional approach towards having officers become a more familiar, trustworthy face in their respective precincts by walking the streets and engaging with more residents. The sessions are planned to reach each of the city’s five wards but will be targeted in areas where the department receives increased calls from residents, Malave said.

By increasing engagement between officers and residents, the interim public safety director noted that community knowledge provided to officers can be invaluable.

“Policing isn’t going to solve all of a neighborhood’s issues. We know that it takes a village,” he said. “Public safety is part of that. The community, on the flip side, is a big part of public safety. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve given us tips of locations of guns or people we’re looking for.”

The initiative comes at a time when the city experienced a slight uptick in violent crime and non-fatal shootings in 2021. According to the data reported by city officials, violent crime in Newark rose by 4% in 2021 compared to 2020, with homicides up by 6%. Non-fatal shootings also rose by 13% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to authorities.

Some South Ward residents who looked on as authorities conducted Monday’s roll call session are hopeful that increased police presence and more community engagement with officers will benefit their neighborhood.

“Hopefully it stops the violence. We all got kids out here,” said Craig Holmes, a longtime South Ward resident and father of three children. “We don’t want our kids to get hurt, so it’s a good thing because we got a lot going on.”

Many local parents, like Holmes, were shaken up by the recent shooting incident that occurred two weeks ago in the city’s South Ward on Clinton Place which resulted in nine individuals wounded. There has also been a recent uptick in certain crimes in the city's 5th Precinct, located near the Lower Clinton Hill neighborhood, between June 27 and July 3 compared to last year.

According to crime data published on the Public Safety Department’s website, there was a 48% uptick in reported auto theft incidents as well as an 8% increase in reported carjackings in the 5th Precinct compared to last year.

“It makes me very concerned,” Holmes said. “That’s why me, as one of the bigger bros out here, I make sure I try to stop as much as I can for one person.”

Part of the department’s initiative will also bring more resources to residents in underserved neighborhoods. Hope One Newark, a program partnering with the initiative, is a mobile unit that offers addiction recovery services to residents.

Providing residents with more resources and raising awareness of certain programs that can assist them can go a long way in preventing crime.

“[Police] see that if they provide resources in lieu of arrests, that right there is healing. And a lot of those folks won’t want to make those same mistakes again,” said Cass Severe, chair of the Newark Anti Violence Coalition (NAVC), a local group that advocates for better public safety and social justice, who attended the roll call session kick-off event.

Standing alongside Severe was NAVC Vice Chair Karimah Williams, who donned a black protective vest with the group's initials stitched across the chest in bold white print.

“Our role is to stop the violence in the community and let the community know about different programs and opportunities so that they can have something positive to do instead of finding something negative to do,” Williams said.

As residents anticipate more police presence out on the streets in the coming weeks, the NAVC vice chair backed the initiative, noting that it can help foster more trust between the community and law enforcement.

“We’re trying to inform the community that working with the police is a good idea and that it’s important for them to know us and for them to know our role as well,” she said.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-07-12 02:59:11 -0700