Cory Booker faces Newark crime wave amid campaign - New York News

Cory Booker faces Newark crime wave amid campaign

Posted: Updated:

KATIE ZEZIMA | AP

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Mayor Cory Booker, with six weeks left in his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat, is grappling with a surge in violence that has left nine people dead in his city in as many days.

Booker, a second-term mayor and rising star in the Democratic Party, announced Wednesday the city will extend a summer deployment of increased police patrols in troubled neighborhoods, boost police overtime and deploy narcotics officers and tactical forces.

"The spate of violence that our city has seen over the last couple of weeks is unconscionable and drives me towards both anger and sadness," Booker, who spent Labor Day weekend campaigning, said in a statement.

Among the nine people killed in Newark, the state's biggest city, since Aug. 26 was a pizza delivery driver, who was robbed and shot. Five of the killings involved guns, drugs or gangs, and two were domestic incidents, police Director Samuel DeMaio said. The killings aren't believed to be connected, and it appears all the victims were targeted.

Booker, who's seeking to succeed the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, won the Democratic primary last month and has campaigned around the state, occasionally with celebrities including Eva Longoria and Oprah Winfrey.

His Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan, has accused him of spending too much time outside Newark and working on a national profile instead of focusing on his city of more than 250,000 residents, who've dealt with decades of systemic crime and poverty.

"While Cory Booker is traveling the state and taking money from Hollywood celebrities, the people of Newark are besieged," Lonegan said. "Newark needs leadership, not a mayor who is looking to be promoted to the U.S Senate for his failed policies."

Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota, said Booker "should be setting up a command center to combat the unconscionable amount of violence in his city."

Similar criticism -- that Booker spends too much time in places such as Silicon Valley and New York City instead of concentrating on Newark -- from residents has dogged Booker for the past few years.

On the campaign trail and in television interviews, Booker talks about how crime has dramatically dropped during his administration. The murder rate plummeted when he first took office, from 107 in 2006 to 68 in 2009, according to state police statistics. But after 162 police officers were laid off in 2010 it spiked; there were 90 murders in 2010.

The number of murders ticked up to 96 last year.

DeMaio said the spike in violence comes after a drop in crime. State police statistics show the number of murders dropped 23 percent during the first half of this year compared to last year, and the summer, which is traditionally the most dangerous time of year, was comparatively quiet, with dips in assaults and motor vehicle thefts.

DeMaio called Lonegan's criticisms speculative, and he brushed aside claims that Booker is focused on other things.

"As far as my position as a police director I wouldn't even know he's in a campaign," DeMaio said. "I was in his office at 9 a.m."

  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • Revel Casino Hotel starts closing in Atlantic City

    Revel Casino Hotel starts closing in Atlantic City

    Monday, September 1 2014 5:16 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:16:28 GMT
    Photo by Arun Kristian DasPhoto by Arun Kristian Das
    The most spectacular and costly failure in Atlantic City's 36-year history of casino gambling begins to play out Monday when the $2.4 billion Revel Casino Hotel empties its hotel.
    Atlantic City's newest casino and its costliest failure has begun its two-day shutdown.
  • Man to face murder charges in mother's slaying

    Man to face murder charges in mother's slaying

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:08:57 GMT
    Murder charges are pending against a northern New Jersey man who allegedly stabbed and beat his mother to death.
    Murder charges are pending against a northern New Jersey man who allegedly stabbed and beat his mother to death.
  • Why is Atlantic City collapsing?

    Why is Atlantic City collapsing?

    Sunday, August 31 2014 8:38 PM EDT2014-09-01 00:38:30 GMT
    AP file photoAP file photo
    For decades, making some quick cash was the main drive behind so many who took the ride down the parkway to Atlantic City. But with so much to choose from nowadays, it looks like Atlantic City is in a lot of trouble.
    For decades, making some quick cash was the main drive behind so many who took the ride down the parkway to Atlantic City. But with so much to choose from nowadays, it looks like Atlantic City is in a lot of trouble.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Dispute over reclining seat diverts flight, again

    Dispute over reclining seat diverts flight, again

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:21 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:21:27 GMT
    Delta photoDelta photo
    A Delta Air Lines flight from La Guardia Airport to West Palm Beach, Florida, was diverted to Jacksonville because of a dispute between passengers over a reclining seat. Delta reportedly says the flight was diverted Monday night when a woman got into an argument with a passenger behind her when the woman was trying to recline her seat while the other passenger was trying to sleep on the tray table.
    A Delta Air Lines flight from La Guardia Airport to West Palm Beach, Florida, was diverted to Jacksonville because of a dispute between passengers over a reclining seat. Delta reportedly says the flight was diverted Monday night when a woman got into an argument with a passenger behind her when the woman was trying to recline her seat while the other passenger was trying to sleep on the tray table.
  • High school football player dies

    High school football player dies

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:12 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:12:05 GMT
    A 16-year-old high school football player from Staten Island is dead after collapsing during practice Monday, officials said. The teen's father says Miles Kirkland-Thomas collapsed Monday morning during practice for Curtis High School. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
    A 16-year-old high school football player from Staten Island is dead after collapsing during practice Monday, officials said. The teen's father says Miles Kirkland-Thomas collapsed Monday morning during practice for Curtis High School. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

  • Bill Clinton to appear in New Haven for fundraiser

    Bill Clinton to appear in New Haven for fundraiser

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:24 AM EDT2014-09-02 10:24:23 GMT
    Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to headline a rally in New Haven to raise money for Democrats running in elections across the country. Clinton is set to appear at the event at the Omni New Haven Hotel on Tuesday. He'll be joined by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who are seeking re-election in November.
    Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to headline a rally in New Haven to raise money for Democrats running in elections across the country. Clinton is set to appear at the event at the Omni New Haven Hotel on Tuesday. He'll be joined by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who are seeking re-election in November.

Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices