Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Public Safety Director James Shea and multiple other city officials engaged in a dialogue with residents in Lincoln Park about violent crime, the courts and policing last night.
Hosted at a jam packed Hank Gallo Center, Fulop kicked off the event by noting that their is a discrepancy between what is actually happening and how people feel in a community, further stating that he and the city directors plan on hosting a forum in each ward in the next month.
After a crime data breakdown packet was passed out for the audience, Shea answered a question about how the police department classifies shootings.
Fulop seemed to be intrigued when Kabil Tayari, a former deputy mayor, asked if crime statistics could distinguish between gang activity, gun trafficking and drug trafficking.
The mayor later stated that Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez has been setting bail higher for violent offenders, making it more likely that they will spend their money on lawyers as opposed to bail.
Towards the tail end of the meeting, responding to a local pastor who felt that the Jersey City Police Department is too focused on enforcement, Shea argued that wasn’t the case.
Kevin Williamson, the city’s new recreation director, also addressed concerns about preventive measures to keep children out of the streets.
He explained that he plans on promoting all of his programs heavily through social media, welcomes community feedback and wants to work with Superintendent of Schools Marcia Lyles to bring recreation programs to the schools earlier – preferably around 3 or 4 p.m.
Other officials in attendance included Ward B Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, Council President Rolando Lavarro, Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera, Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2) and Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31).