New police recruits are central to a plan aimed at addressing the problem, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Monday.READ MORE: 2-Year-Old Shot In Newark
In 2020 homicides were up a record 42% when compared to the year before. Shooting were up 30%.
Now, the violent crimes are no longer isolated to the evening and overnight hours.
“What happened is, over the last couple of weeks, I saw these Sunday afternoon shootings,” said Jerry Speziale, public safety director in Paterson.
Monday, Paterson officials announced 19 new police recruits will partner with veteran officers to patrol business corridors and hot spot neighborhoods from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
It’s part of a community policing strategy, which is also in response to the national conversation about police reform.READ MORE: Teen Shot In The Hand On Upper East Side Monday Morning
“The officers on the scene are approachable. Get to know them, they’ll get to know you,” said Deputy Chief Ronald Van Kluyve of the Paterson Police Department. “It’s a really good way to strengthen the relationships that we already have in the community.”
This new initiative is meant to complement other recent efforts police say have been successful in getting guns off the streets.
“We used to see broken, rusty revolvers. We’re now seeing 30 round magazines that could let out and clear a corner,” Speziale said.
Law enforcement says ammunition comes from outside the city. Over the past year, COVID quarantines and illnesses within the police department hampered sustained efforts to tackle the issue of gun violence.
That’s why the public safety director says extra officers are needed.
“Drugs, guns, gangs are synonymous. They go together and they are part of the problem,” said Speziale.MORE NEWS: Met Gala Making Its Comeback In September
It’s a problem authorities are trying to get ahead of before the summer, when violent crime usually spikes.