JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said this weekend that when it comes to crime, July has been a “difficult month” for the municipality.
Fulop’s remarks to WCBS 880 came after an announcement that Jersey City police, in conjunction with the Hudson County prosecutor’s office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, have arrested 35 people on an assortment of charges.
Police say they seized two handguns, a replica Uzi, a crossbow handgun, 14 knives, 19 pairs of handcuffs, a blackjack, 15 bags of marijuana and two bags of cocaine.
Fulop said the arrests are part of an effort to target areas of the city that experience the highest levels of crime.
“July has been a difficult month for us with escalated gang activity,” Fulop said. “We’ve been monitoring certain hotspots throughout the city, and you know, we’ve escalated our visibility; our presence. We’ve gone out and we’ve pursued some of the people who have caused issues there, ranging from drug charges to possession to distribution.”
Currently, some residents do not feel safe in their homes, Fulop said.
“The ultimate goal is to take back the streets so residents feel safe, and it’s been an ongoing issue, as residents of certain parts of the city don’t feel comfortable; feel as if the criminal element has more control of the streets than residents do,” he said. “So what we need to do is escalate visibility, escalate police presence, and make sure that the people that are causing problems that make residents feel unsafe are no longer on the streets.”
The city has seen several homicides and escalated gun violence this month, and more drug activity over the past couple of years, Fulop said. But a new class of police officers and a new Public Safety Director James Shea should help curb that trend, he said.
“We have a new class that we’re going to be hiring in the police department, so additional officers, increased visibility,” he said. “We’ve reshuffled organization. We’ve done a national search for a new public safety director; we just hired him last week – a senior member of the New York Police Department; ran the units responsible for gang activities in youth like this.”
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