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Posted on: August 31, 2022

Homicides and Shootings Decline in New Jersey’s Capital City

TRENTON, NJ – Mayor Reed Gusciora announced today that the City of Trenton has made significant progress in reducing violent crime, specifically gun-related homicides, through collaborative initiatives and social intervention efforts.

The Gusciora administration deployed several social interventions with the primary or ancillary goal of affecting a noticeable decline in violent crime. Since June 1, 2022, there have been no homicides in the City of Trenton.

“While violent crime has continued to surge in other cities across America this summer, Trenton is doing what it takes to become a leader in urban violent crime reduction,” Mayor Reed Gusciora said. “We are pulling out all the stops to ensure that the Capital City is a safe place for all who live, work, learn, and play here. With the help of our law enforcement partners and members of our community, we are innovating to establish a new public safety standard and we are doing it together.”

Relative both to historical levels of crime occurring last summer and to this time last year, homicides and shootings are down. Year-to-date, the City has seen a 62% reduction in shooting homicides, down from 21 last year to eight this year. The City has also seen a 46% reduction in overall homicides year-to-date, down from 22 last year to 12 this year.

The City of Trenton adopted the Strategic Integrated Policing philosophy, which aims to address crime through a two-level approach in addition to stepping up enforcement: (1) target the deployment of City resources, such as recreational opportunities, mental health and public health services, and blight reduction efforts towards vulnerable communities, and (2) collaborate with local, county, state, and federal law enforcement to prevent gun violence and de-escalate situations.

“The Trenton Police Department’s investments in long-term public safety and neighborhood wellness are paying off, and our collaborations with other law enforcement agencies have enhanced the Department’s capacity to prevent crimes from taking place and find the offenders when they do,” Trenton Police Director Steve Wilson said. “The efforts of our officers out in the community make our streets safer every day for residents, business owners, and visitors to the Capital City.”

The Real Time Crime Center, one such collaboration, is an informational nerve center tying in the Trenton Police Department, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, and New Jersey State Police.

This operational asset has fostered unprecedented cooperation through the ability to share high-quality intelligence that prevents crime and increases violent crime clearance rates. The City, in conjunction with Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, currently has a clearance rate of 35% for incidents of persons struck with a bullet, higher than the national average of 25% to 30%.

The administration recently launched Trenton Community Street Teams, a community violence intervention initiative that is a collaboration between the Trenton Health and Human Services Department, Trenton Police Department, and Trenton-based community development and environmental organization Isles, Inc.

The initiative empowers civilian leaders (including formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted citizens) in Trenton to mediate conflicts in areas at high-risk for violent crime. The teams also provide support for community members affected by violent crime and will be ensuring safe passage for children in the coming school year.

As part of their outreach, the Trenton Community Street Teams are hosting public safety forums with higher education institutions and engaging in weekly community walks in areas impacted by violence. This initiative will foster critical conversations with the goal of preventing violence and supporting vulnerable community members.

Another such measure underway is Trenton’s CHANGE Committee, an 11-member civilian public safety panel that is charged with reviewing and making recommendations on public safety in the Capital City. After kicking off in June, the committee is currently establishing subcommittees through which other residents may contribute and will being issuing their first report this Fall.

During the summer season, the City hired more than 200 city youth for summer employment with federal grant funding. Research suggests that offering youth a summer job can even reduce urban violent crime even after the summer ended.

Additionally, the City operated its Summer Youth Camp, which ran from June 20 to August 26, provided breakfast and lunch to 6- to 12-year-olds and engaged the children in field trips, arts and crafts projects, and swimming. Recreation Supervisor La’Keisha Sutton, a Trenton native and a former Harlem Globetrotter, oversaw ten weeks of free summer basketball offered from June 20 through September 1.

Prior to the summer, the Health and Human Services Department hired multiple mental health counselors and the Police Department increased the number of new officers.

“We are not done, not by a mile,” Gusciora said, “but we are proud of the progress being made . I want to thank the leaders out there doing the work and I want to encourage more members of our community to become a part of the multi-faceted solution. We can do this together.”

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