Bullets are flying in New Jersey cities cities this summer, says the Newark Star-Ledger in an editorial. The headlines scream the carnage. With fewer cops on the streets because of budget cuts, thugs flash and fire guns almost without fear. Gov. Chris Christie and legislators had an opportunity to provide more security to these imperiled cities, but Christie denied them additional aid and vetoed a Democratic plan to create a pool of $50 million in public safety funds for at-risk municipalities.
“They just basically put people to death in urban areas,” Senate President Stephen Sweeney said. Shootings are up 40 percent in Newark, violent crime has increased 24 percent in Camden, and assaults involving a gun are up nearly 60 percent over 2010. Homicides in Camden, already the nation's most violent city, have increased 16 percent over last year. Many towns fear the possible spillover. The time has come for the legislature to hold hearings and develop a plan for extinguishing the urban fires — and keeping them out — in the new economic reality, the newspaper says. Officials at every level should push for cost-effective regionalization of law enforcement resources.