The recent execution-style killings of three college-bound young people in Newark prompted youth football coach Don Franklin to tell the Washington Post that, “Murder is the norm. Just because these kids are college kids, it’s getting more attention.” Schoolyard killings in Newark have caused an outcry about the homicide rate, which remains stubbornly high despite the election of Mayor Cory Booker, who took office asking to be judged by his ability to reduce crime.
Other cities, including Boston, Philadelphia, and Orlando, have experienced a spike in slayings after years of falling homicide rates. In Newark, there have been 60 homicides this year. Last year at this time, 63 people had been killed, a number that grew to 105 by year’s end, the highest total since the crack epidemic of the mid-1990s. Every other category of crime has dropped this year, and violent crime is down 16 percent. Still, 61 percent of those recently polled by the Newark Star-Ledger said crime is the city’s biggest problem — up from 27 percent 10 years ago — and 48 percent said if they had the money, they would leave town.