TRENTON – Citing two mass shootings in Trenton that left one dead and 15 others wounded during Memorial Day Weekend, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito today announced a new collaborative initiative to fight violence in Trenton involving the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, Trenton Police, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and FBI.
While the announcement follows the violent weekend in the capital city, Attorney General Grewal and U.S. Attorney Carpenito noted that the partnering agencies have been developing the Trenton Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) for several months.
“We are committed to using every tool at our disposal to fight violence in Trenton, which means collaborating across all levels of law enforcement and sharing intelligence and resources through our new Violent Crime Initiative,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The time to act is now, before more lives are lost. We cannot stop every shooting, but we want city residents to know that we stand with them, and we will work with the Trenton Police, the County Prosecutor’s Office, and all of our partners to arrest the gun-toting criminals who are bringing violence and fear to their neighborhoods.”
“We know that partnering with state and local law enforcement works, because we’ve proven it,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “In 2018, for the first time in this office’s history, we simultaneously initiated three Project Safe Neighborhood programs in Newark, Camden and Jersey City. These violent crime initiatives resulted in significant reductions in crime in all three cities. Crime is down 15 percent in Newark from 2017 to 2018 and violent crime was down 18 percent in Camden from 2017 to 2018. Crime in both cities are at a 50-year low. In addition, shooting incidents are down 69 percent in Jersey City between comparable periods in 2018 and 2019. We intend to work closely with Attorney General Grewal, and all our federal, state and local partners with the goal of achieving similar results.”
The Trenton VCI is based on a model that has been successfully deployed in Newark and Jersey City by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, New Jersey State Police, and law enforcement partners. Leaders from the participating agencies will meet regularly to review intelligence regarding the most violent offenders in Trenton, their accomplices, crime trends, and potential leads that can be acted on by the partnering agencies. In analyzing intelligence, the partnering agencies will look at all of those involved in shootings, including victims as well as shooters, because victims in many cases may be likely participants in future gun violence.
The initiative will rely on intelligence and analysis from the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC). The ROIC will work with the Trenton Police Department to identify the top violent offenders and violent crime suspects in Trenton, including gang members, drug dealers, and serial offenders. Federal, state, and county prosecutors will then make determinations regarding which prosecuting agency should pursue potential leads regarding those violent offenders.
Ultimately, the partnering agencies – including state, federal, county and local law enforcement – will use the intelligence and plans developed through the VCI meetings to investigate violent offenders and conduct other law enforcement operations to dismantle and disrupt violent criminal elements in the city, including execution of warrants and crime suppression efforts focused on likely violence “hot spots.”