The hunt for fugitives conjures images of police officers searching the shadows for those who want to stay hidden. The Newark Star-Ledger reports that when New Jersey law enforcement officials recently began rounding up people with outstanding warrants, it often wasn't hard to find their targets. “They're sitting at home, on their front porch, hanging out on the block,” Attorney General Paula Dow said. “Everyone in the community knew where they were.”
In one month, from July 1 to Aug. 1, police arrested more than 1,100 people on outstanding warrants, including fugitives and those who skipped parole appointments. The program, in its first year, was geared toward taking high-risk offenders off the streets during the summer, when violence usually spikes. The issue of lax warrant enforcement was violently highlighted this year in two cases in which parolees were accused of six slayings while there were warrants out for their arrest. “It's just those kind of incidents that made us recognize that we need a better coordinated response,” Dow said. She said there's no reason to issue warrants if they aren't aggressively enforced. “Why are these people with outstanding warrants still out in our communities?” she said. “It emboldens them, and it's a black mark on law enforcement.” Law enforcement officers at the local, county, state and federal levels participated in the summer sweep. Of the 1,298 people arrested, officials said, 913 were fugitives and 385 had skipped parole dates.