Newark’s longstanding narrative of progress has had many names (anyone remember the “Renaissance City?”), but a singular, pernicious problem: how can any administration claim progress in the city when the crime problem has showed unsteady improvement?
Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy joins me to discuss how the city is approaching the crime problem and his expectations for the future. More after the jump.
When the Booker administration arrived in City Hall, they inherited a city with a rising murder rate and a reputation for lawlessness. In his inauguration speech in 2006, the Mayor promised to add hundreds of officers to the street and implement zero-tolerance policing:
His focus landed squarely on crime. Citing the city’s rising murder rate, and naming victims who died young, he said, ‘‘We have work to do in America when any child is killed.’‘
Specifically, Mr. Booker said his administration would immediately implement zero-tolerance policing. Reiterating his campaign promise to add hundreds of officers to the streets, he said, ‘‘I will enforce all laws, from traffic laws, with people speeding down our suburban streets, to littering laws.’‘
Much of the mayor’s success in his first term hinges on crime reduction, particularly after the tragic murder of three college-bound Newarkers in 2007, which made national headlines and devastated the city.
Since taking the civilian post in 2006, Mr. McCarthy has made strategic changes to the Newark Police Department to focus resources on the city’s most difficult issues. The Star Ledger recently reported the 2009 results by highlighting an increase in homicides, though every major crime category — including shootings — was substantially down for the year.
The director joined me on the podcast to discuss how these numbers square — how can you have more murders with fewer shootings? — and how the NPD is sustaining its focus going into 2010 in order to see further crime reduction.