Very good news for Newarkers: Newark murders decline as police focus on drug-related shootings.
Since then, representatives of local, county and federal law enforcement agencies have gotten together every couple of weeks to divvy up the city’s worst drug spots. The initiative, called Violent Enterprise Strategic Targeting, focused on busting lots of street-level crews and their managers—picking up four or five at a time on whatever charges would stick, from murder and assault to carrying drugs or holding a gun.
“It seemed to follow that if you reduce the number of narcotics-related shootings, you’ll reduce the number of murders,” McCarthy said.
And it seems to be working. The number of shootings, including drug-related attacks, dropped significantly last year, driving the murder rate further down. As of today, Newark had 67 murders in 2008, compared to 99 the year before, and 107 in 2006. Of this year’s 67 murders, 36 percent were drug related, compared to nearly half of 2007’s killings, police say.
While murder showed a steep decline, we’ll finish the year with a double-digit increase in both burglary and robbery, according to the Newark Police Department homepage, an issue which Police Director McCarthy attributes to better statistical tracking.