Earlier this year, Newark Mayor Luis Quintana and community leaders, including prominent faith leader Bishop Jethro James of Paradise Baptist Church, called for the state to address excessive gun violence in Newark.
According to statistics, homicides across New Jersey spiked to a seven-year high in 2013, and at least 409 people died violently last year. More than a quarter of those killings took place in Newark, where the homicide total was 111. Newark saw the most violent 12-month stretch in nearly a quarter-century.
Last week, Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced he would implement a new program in Newark’s highest crime-ridden areas. Called TIDE-TAG, the program uses shared intelligence with other law enforcement agencies to focus on street-level drug and gun crimes. TIDE refers to “Targeted Integrated Deployment Effort,” while TAG stands for “Targeted Anti-Gun.”
“We will do everything in our power to eliminate the sound of gunfire on a daily basis and to replace it with the sound of people walking outside with their children, talking, laughing, simply enjoying their environment,” said Hoffman at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, flanked by leaders from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, state police and the Newark Police Department .
Hoffman said he will deploy state troopers in Newark, who will aggressively arrest gang members, repeat offenders and drug dealers who carry guns in public. Those convicted of carrying guns in public will face longer mandatory state prison terms and possible prosecution at the federal level.