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Newark Aims To Cut Gun Violence With New Initiative

Police investigate a fatal shooting in Newark, N.J., on Dec. 25, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

Police investigate a fatal shooting in Newark, N.J., on Dec. 25, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — State officials are taking aim at gun violence in New Jersey’s largest city.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman on Wednesday announced a strategy that will target Newark’s most violent neighborhoods, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.

Hoffman said more state troopers and police officers will be deployed and they’ll aggressively arrest gang members, repeat offenders and drug dealers who carry guns in public.

Those arrested and convicted of carrying guns in public will also face longer mandatory prison terms. One-year plea deals for gun possessions will be a thing of the past, officials said.

“We are here, and we want and we plan to make the consequences of carrying a firearm swift and severe so the word gets out,” said Carolyn Murray, Essex County’s acting prosecutor.

There were 111 homicides last year in Newark, the most in the city since 1990.

State Police Col. Rick Fuentes said agencies will use predictive analytics in an effort to cut that number.

“We can predict where the next shooting is going to occur, and we’ve used that around the state,” he said.

Hoffman said authorities will also target bars and corner stars notorious for attracting shady patrons. He credits a similar initiative with stemming gun violence in Trenton, which had 37 murders in 2013.

It’s “a strategy that puts additional officers on the street and focuses on arresting and aggressively prosecuting criminals who carry guns,” Hoffman said.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)