The murders of college students in Newark have inspired an ABC News crime series. Asked about the causes of increased violence in some cities, Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum said, If you ask people what was the reason for violence in the ’90s, it was almost universally crack cocaine. Today it is much more complicated than that. What we are seeing today is the re-emergence of a number of key factors. You have gangs out there. You have a higher percentage of juveniles. You have over 600,000 people coming out of prison and you’ve got a lot of guns out on the street, higher-level guns, all coming together in a combustible mixture.”
The increased emphasis of the federal government on antiterror programs instead of those aimed at street crime was stressed by John Roman of the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute: “The message from the federal government – when it comes to crime – is, you’re on your own.” He had little optimism that the outrage over the Newark murders will be a catalyst for real change. “There’s been a number of these kinds of incidents in the last couple of years, and they get a little bit of attention, and they sorta disappear into the noise,” he said. Today, reports the Newark Star-Ledger, Mayor Cory Booker will announce plans to increase surveillance of his city’s streets using about 100 security cameras plus audio gunshot-detection devices.