Reporting Peter Haskell
WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell With The Police Union Vice President
Recently released numbers show that murders are up 71 percent, shootings have increased 29 percent and auto thefts jumped 39 percent for the first three months of this year as compared to last year.
On the other hand, arrests are down 22 percent.
The dramatic numbers come on the heels of 167 officers being laid off as part of Mayor Cory Booker‘s effort to save $9.5 million.
The mayor said he’d shift other officers to get them out on the street, but the numbers seem to indicate the job isn’t getting done.
Police union vice president James Stewart, Jr. says the bad guys have been paying attention.
“You can’t lay off 12 percent of your police department and think no one is going to notice the difference,” he said. “The mayor likes to make the argument that crime has been going up since last year and that may be accurate, but what’s our answer to that? Layoff 12 percent of our department? How does that fight the problem?”
Stewart contends that this changes the mindset of criminals.
“The bad guys know there’s not as many of us out there right now. They’re more brazen carrying weapons. They’re not afraid to stand on the corners armed,” Stewart told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell. “In the past, they never knew when the cops were coming up on the corner. Now, they see the police coming, they know we’re just on our way to another job. We’re simply going job to job to job because that’s the manpower we have right now.”
Booker had blamed the union for the cuts, saying it was unwilling to make concessions during tough financial times.
WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell On The Political Battle Over Crime In Newark
“We will continue to employ innovative policing measures to ensure that Newark will not accept anything less than strength, peace and security,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.