In April of last year, Newark Mayor Cory Booker bragged about how March was Newark's first murder-free month since 1966. This year, things are not so good. The Star-Ledger reports, "Three fatal shootings in the last two days pushed Newark’s homicide total to 29 this year, a 71 percent jump in killings compared with the same period in 2010, as violent crime surges following police layoffs."
Last fall, due to budget constraints (and an impasse between unions and the city), 167 Newark police officers were laid off, the most in over 30 years. It was such a huge drop in cops that the Guardian Angels said they would send its members to patrol the streets.
Overall crime has increased by 21% and police arrests (a sign of police productivity) has fallen by 22%. A Booker administration spokesperson said, "Our city has grown too strong in recent years to allow levels of violence to increase to where they were in 2006 and before. … We will continue to employ innovative policing measures to ensure that Newark will not accept anything less than strength, peace and security," but an official with Newark's police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, said, "I think it just comes down to the people on the street. The bad guys know we’re not out there, and it has an effect on how they operate. That’s why the shootings have increased dramatically, that’s why the homicides are up."
Earlier today, Booker Tweeted, "Faith can move mountains, but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel."