PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating a double shooting in Paterson that left one woman dead and a man hurt.
It happened in a year where shootings are on the rise in the city.
As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported Sunday, a shortage of police officers could be to blame for the spike in violence.
“It’s like a war zone out here already,” Kevin Torres said.
That’s how some residents describe the streets of Paterson, after gun violence claimed yet another victim.
A 35-year-old local woman was found dead in an alley off Butler Street in the early morning hours on Sunday. Police said she had multiple gunshot wounds.
A man was also shot, but survived.
Sunday’s homicide follows a double shooting just last week in Eastside Park. That was the 44th shooting of the year, a number the city didn’t see until July in 2020.
For longtime residents, the ongoing crime problem means taking a walk or going to work doesn’t feel safe.
“Absolutely not. I’ve got to get up at 4 in the morning. I’m always watching my back as I step out the door,” Torres said.
“I’ve lived here so long, you kind of get used to it. You know? At night, while I do walk, I always have to look behind my back,” added resident Joseph Mitma.
“They threatened to shoot me if they would see me in this area,” cab driver Frank Quattrocchi said.
Quattrocchi has lived in and driven a cab in Paterson since the 1990s. He said it felt safe back then.
“But things are different now. Doors are always locked,” he said.
Last week, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh placed some of the blame on a shortage of police.
The city is hanging on to about 400 officers. Compare that to nearly 1,000 officers on the streets of Jersey City, which is slightly more populated.
City officials said hostility towards police makes it hard to recruit new officers, and the coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on existing ones, Caloway reported.
An upcoming police academy class started off with 16 cadets, but half of them failed, leaving only eight incoming officers.
But with crime numbers on the wrong track, many residents CBS2 talked to don’t care why. They just want the city to do more to make the streets feel safe.
Police said Sunday morning’s double shooting is still under investigation, and prosecutors did not release any details about a possible shooter.
CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report