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Concerned Residents Decry Spike In Violence In Paterson, N.J.

Homicide Victim's Sister: 24-Hour Businesses Draw Gang Violence
Paterson Police Car (credit: CBS 2)

Paterson Police Car (credit: CBS 2)

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PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A jump in violent crimes in Paterson, N.J. has led city officials and victims’ loved ones to say enough is enough.

As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported Saturday, concerned residents are trying to figure out ways to stop the violence as a lot of Paterson residents do not feel safe.

There were even two murders just over two weeks ago on the day of the National Night Out – the campaign to stop violence.

“It has to stop,” said Nicole Bethea.

Bethea’s brother, Mark Harris Jr., was shot and killed outside a 24-hour corner market on July 14 on Rosa Parks Boulevard. She wonders why.

“Why do we need a store like that to stay open 24 hours? That’s where all the violence occurs; where the gangs hang out,” she said. “Why are there no police there? Why are the cameras not working?”

Paterson Councilwoman Ruby Cotton said some new regulations are warranted.

“Once we can regulate the hours, some of our problems will be solved,” she said, adding that the City Council has been trying to work out some regulatory snags to pass an ordinance on the subject.

But Bethea said Cotton’s calls for regulation are just words. She promised she will not stop until eyewitnesses step up with tips to catch her 30-year-old brother’s killer.

“I don’t care if it takes the rest of my life,” she said.

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