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BY REED GUSCIORA
At around 11:24 last night, six people were shot on the 100 block of Walnut Avenue. One person was killed.
This senseless act of violence is the latest in a seemingly endless series of shootings across our country. Trenton has faced more than its share of tragedies this weekend alone. 16 shooting victims is 16 too many. One fatality is one too many. I’m confident in our police department and our county prosecutor to bring those responsible to justice, but that can’t erase the permanent damage, and it can’t bring back those we’ve lost.
In Trenton, we are trying to give our young people hope for their futures. We are making major investments in our schools, our recreation programs, and in economic development so our young people can have access to quality education and jobs. But when one of our own turns to violence, we all lose. It shatters that hope we’ve worked so hard to foster.
I’m a person of faith, but thoughts and prayers will not stop this horror. New Jersey has strong gun control laws, but it is too easy to bring weapons in to Trenton from Pennsylvania. What we need is action at the federal level. There also has to be a greater investment by the state in ensuring the Capital City is safe for our citizens, state workers, and visitors alike.
Our police department is understaffed and working overtime to serve and protect our city. We also need to make technological improvements to assist our Department’s force. However, without an approved city budget, our ability to fund the overtime, bring in a new class of officers, and make necessary technological improvements is seriously compromised. Moreover, new recreational programming has come to a standstill. I implore Council President McBride and her colleagues to pass the budget. That way, our police force will have the funding it needs, and we may continue addressing the underlying issues pushing our youth towards violence against our city.
Reed Gusciora is the Mayor of Trenton.