After decades in which Newark has been notorious for soaring crime rates and lurid murders, a sea change may be occurring, says the New York Times: In roughly the first half of the year, the number of killings dropped by close to 40 percent compared with the same period last year. Newark's 31 homicides as of July 11 have put the city on pace to match a previous low, in 1997. Earlier this year, 43 days came and went without a homicide. Garry McCarthy, Newark's police director, said, “We're up against a 40-year perception of the way this city is, which you can't turn around with a 22-month reduction in crime.”
In August 2007, three young people were shot dead in a schoolyard. Mayor Corey Booker, who made reducing crime a centerpiece of his campaign, believes the case was a turning point. “You could almost feel the community say, ‘This is enough,’ ” he said, adding that as more people began patrolling their neighborhoods and cooperating with law enforcement, the city adjusted its policing strategy to an “all hands on deck” policy. McCarthy credited a variety of measures for the reduction in crime, including focusing less on gangs and more on areas known for narcotics sales.