Senate Candidate Booker Presides Over Rising Crime in Newark

Image: Senate Candidate Booker Presides Over Rising Crime in Newark

Tuesday, 06 Aug 2013 10:11 AM

By John Gizzi

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Newark Mayor Cory Booker seems to be cruising to victory over rival Democrats in the upcoming U. S. Senate primary in New Jersey, but little has yet been made of the explosive increase in the city's crime rate during his tenure in office, an issue that potentially could be damaging.

Polls universally show Booker the runaway favorite over three lawmakers for the Democratic nomination but, almost incredibly, none of Booker's primary opponents or any of the two Republicans vying for the Senate nod has brought up how, during Booker's tenure in City Hall, crime in Newark has been steadily on the rise.

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According to the annual Uniform Crime Report issued annually by the New Jersey State Police, the total number of crimes committed in the city of 277,000 rose from 12,364 in 2009 to 13,199 in 2010 to 14,512 in 2011 — more than a 17 percent increase in those years.

Broken down by category, the report found, violent crime rose from 2,679 in 2009 to 2,974 in 2010 and to 3,360 in 2011 — a 25 percent hike.

The report also found that murder went up in Newark from 80 in 2009 to 91 in 2010 to 95 in 2011 — nearly a 19 percent increase in that time frame.

The sharper increase is found in robberies in Newark: 1,373 in 2009; 1,655 in 2010; and 2,038 in 2011 — a 48 percent rise.

The problems associated with the rising crime rate in Newark go beyond the borders of the city, according to the sheriff of a rural county west of Newark that has seen a spike in crime.

Sussex County Sheriff Mike Strada told Newsmax about the rise in burglaries in his county of 24 municipalities and 148,000 residents — including cable TV fixtures Lou Dobbs and Judge Andrew Napolitano — saying that anyone can burglarize a home in Sussex County "and then go into a pawnshop in Newark, get money for the stolen goods, and go out and buy heroin."

Strada said that about 80 percent of the inmates in county jails are there for heroin-related crimes.

Strada's assessment of Newark's crime saga is backed up by a report released last month by the State Commission of Investigation, which stated that the prescription-pill and heroin epidemic has spread from Newark and Paterson into suburban Sussex County.

The 55-page report "highlights the dire circumstances gripping the state — crooked doctors dishing out painkillers like candy, teens who are only a text away from scoring heroin, street gangs openly dealing in mall parking lots, and armed robberies and pharmacy holdups fueling addicts who are out of money or drugs."

"We're constantly trying to stay on top of what is coming out of Newark and Paterson, but it's difficult," Strada told Newsmax. "We're so rural, so open that just about anyone can come here and benefit from the [drug] market."

Despite the rising crime rate in Newark, Booker is far ahead in his bid for the Senate seat of the late Frank Lautenberg, who died in June. For the Aug. 13 primary, Booker had a 37 percentage point lead in July's Monmouth Poll over his closest rival, Rep. Frank Pallone. Also in the race are Democratic Rep. Rush Holt and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.

Holt launched his first television campaign ad on Monday against Booker, and attacked the Newark mayor for not being a true "progressive."

"We need to pass a carbon tax to stop climate change, break up the Wall Street banks, and stop the government spying on innocent Americans. Cory Booker doesn’t support any of these ideas," said Holt in the ad, again not raising the issue of rising crime in Newark.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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