Convoys of white vans led by Newark’s mayor and filled with more than 100 city employees and residents are flooding the city’s neighborhoods in the middle of the night as a way to reduce crime, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. As part of Community Caravan Night Patrols, more than 120 volunteers have patrolled city streets with Mayor Cory Booker and off-duty police officers since Sept. 29.
Each weekend and a few nights each week, they pile into long caravans of glaring white vans, which weave through the city’s wards, focusing on areas where 85 percent of the city’s shootings have been recorded. The goal is to disrupt normal crime patterns during typical high-crime hours, gather intelligence for police, and engage residents in the process of crime prevention, said Anthony Campos, director of public safety. Some of the largest caravans will be out this Halloween weekend, which has long been associated with mayhem in Newark. The patrols will start earlier and end later those nights.