Citing two mass shootings in that left one person dead and 14 others wounded during Memorial Day Weekend, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito Thursday announced a new collaborative initiative to fight violence in Trenton.
While the announcement follows the violent weekend in the capital city, Attorney General Grewal and U.S. Attorney Carpenito said the partnering agencies have been developing the Trenton Violent Crime Initiative for several months.
“We are committed to using every tool at our disposal to fight violence in Trenton, which means collaborating across all levels of law enforcement and sharing intelligence and resources through our new Violent Crime Initiative,” Grewal said. “The time to act is now, before more lives are lost. We cannot stop every shooting, but we want city residents to know that we stand with them, and we will work with the Trenton Police, the County Prosecutor’s Office, and all of our partners to arrest the gun-toting criminals who are bringing violence and fear to their neighborhoods.”
Carpenito said partnering with state and local law enforcement is a proven strategy for reducing gun violence. In 2018, three “project safe neighborhood” programs were started in Newark, Camden and Jersey City. “These violent crime initiatives resulted in significant reductions in crime in all three cities,” Carpenito said. “Crime is down 15 percent in Newark from 2017 to 2018 and violent crime was down 18 percent in Camden from 2017 to 2018. Crime in both cities are at a 50-year low. In addition, shooting incidents are down 69 percent in Jersey City between comparable periods in 2018 and 2019. We intend to work closely with Attorney General Grewal, and all our federal, state and local partners with the goal of achieving similar results.”
He said the Trenton initiative is based on a model that has been deployed successfully in Newark and Jersey City by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, New Jersey State Police, and law enforcement partners. Leaders from the participating agencies will meet regularly to review intelligence regarding the most violent offenders in Trenton, their accomplices, crime trends, and potential leads that can be acted on by the partnering agencies. The partnering agencies will look at all of those involved in shootings, including victims as well as shooters, because victims in many cases may be likely participants in future gun violence, officials said.
The initiative will rely on intelligence and analysis from the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center, which will work with the Trenton Police Department to identify the top violent offenders and violent crime suspects in Trenton, including gang members, drug dealers, and serial offenders. Federal, state, and county prosecutors will then make determinations regarding which prosecuting agency should pursue potential leads regarding those violent offenders.
Partnering agencies – including state, federal, county and local law enforcement – will use the intelligence and plans developed through the meetings to investigate violent offenders and conduct other law enforcement operations to dismantle and disrupt violent criminal elements in the city, including execution of warrants and crime suppression efforts focused on likely violence “hot spots,” officials said.