Mayor Ras Baraka unveils 45-day plan to reduce violence
Cyril Josh Barker | 2/4/2016, 9:47 a.m.
Amsterdam News Staff
Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka unveiled details of the city’s 45-day plan to reduce crime and violence this week.
Named “Operation Forge Ahead,” the nine-point plan to reduce crime and violence in Newark, N.J., will focus on reorganizing the city’s public safety activities to make them more effective and efficient. The plan will also increase citizen involvement with law enforcement to restore trust, improve community-police communication and make the public a stronger source of intelligence about crime and violence.
“Reorganizing our public safety efforts into a single department is a milestone in Newark’s 350-year history,” Baraka said. “For the first time ever, we have coordinated and united the fire, police and emergency operations agencies into a single organization, merging administrative staffs for greater efficiency and effectiveness.”
The plan promises to “unify the command staffs of police, fire and emergency management, gathering better intelligence on gangs and narcotics, conducting citizen surveys on police performance and a Public Safety Academy to train residents on how to get involved.”
“We will also be able to combine our public safety resources with other city agencies, county, state and federal emergency response partners, as well as with clergy, community leaders, colleges, universities and our entire community,” Baraka said.
Numbers from the Newark Police Department indicate that nearly 380 people were shot in the city in 2015. An examination of statistical data from 2015 revealed that before becoming homicide victims, many had been shot in the days and months preceding their deaths. Data also show that the longer these perpetrators remained at large, retaliatory acts such as shootings and homicide incidents increased. This finding further supports the necessity to increase the unit’s manpower.