New Jersey law enforcement authorities are mounting a coordinated response to rising gang activity in cities and suburbs, says U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. Gang violence in the state has become “more widespread, more violent and more sophisticated” in recent years, Fishman told 400 law enforcement agents at a conference, says the Newark Star-Ledger. The increased gang activity comes amid severe budget woes that have forced places like Newark and Camden to reduce their police forces.
“Gangs aren't just confined to one bad area now,” said Mary Lou Leary, U.S. principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice. “They're spreading out. We didn't see that 10 years ago.” Fishman and other officials urged law enforcement agencies to reach new levels of cooperation and develop strategies to reduce recidivism and prevent kids from joining gangs. “We're not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” Fishman said. He also emphasized the importance of taking out an entire organization — not just the leader and allowing someone else to fill the spot. “Our strategy cannot be a high-stakes game of Whac-A-Mole,” he said.