Last Friday night began a campaign by Trenton police officers to “Send a Message” to criminals and would-be criminals alike. The message—that officer layoffs doesn’t detract from the departments commitment to violent crime enforcement.
From Friday evening until Sunday night, the department served 9 search warrants, recovered 8 guns, and made 41 arrests.
Next month, 108 officers are scheduled to be laid off. Acting Police Director Joseph Juniak says, “Regardless, we had to let the criminal element know, even with layoffs looming, our focus is on violent offenders in the city and will continue to be.”
Since the beginning of the year, officers have taken 179 guns off the streets, yet there has continued to be an increase in gun violence. As of the publishing of this article on NJ.com on Wednesday, there had been 503 shots fired calls since the beginning of the year. Some of those calls were unfounded, but others resulted in injuries and even deaths.
In 2010, 42 people had been shot in Trenton between January and mid-August. This year, in that same timeframe, the number has jumped considerably to 83—a 95% increase.
The city can’t afford the 108 officers who are expecting lay-offs. But they hope it doesn’t come at an even greater cost—further increasing the violence in the already volatile streets of Trenton. The people of the city, no doubt, feel the same way.
The majority of the arrests made over the past weekend were for drug related offenses. Juniak says most of the violence is related to the drug trade and gangs. He calls the current situation “alarming”. Once the 108 officers are gone, it will be interesting to see how effective operations similar to “Send a Message” are.
Because violent gun crimes are so high right now in the area and police can’t stay on top of all of the offenses being committed, you can bet prosecutors will be clamping down on those cases they do get. For this reason, if you are charged with a gun crime or even a drug offense that could tie you into the larger drug trade, you could be made an example of in the courts.
If you are charged with any criminal offense in Trenton, now is the time to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney. All hope is not lost. Even if you have a criminal history, there is a chance we could work out a favorable plea agreement with the prosecution.
Contact our offices today to discuss the specifics of your case and how we might be able to help.