You need not have resided in the 3td Ward to have come away with some major insights from last night's meeting at the Civic Center. Organized by Councilman Carlos Bernard, the well attended meeting focussed primarily crime and security issues addressed by police officers and detectives from both Bloomfield and Newark. 2nd Ward Councilman Nick Joanow and Newark Councilman Anibal Ramos also participated. A few of the new realities that we were made aware of:
1) East Orange and Newark now have such sophisticated technologies in place as 25/7 security cameras on nearly every block and the ability to track the current addresses of every convicted felon.
2) The fact that our population as a "township" has remained under the 50,000 threshold is keeping us from much of the assistance that larger "cities" receive.
3) Bloomfield has as few as 8 police cars available to cover the whole township on some shifts. A major crime event can engage as many as four of them.
4) Police cars from both Newark and Bloomfield frequently cross the town borders -- both in pursuit if perpetrators and on routine patrol. They may serve as a deterrent, but are not allowed to respond to calls from residents.
5) Bloomfield has one officer who cruises major arteries with a device that downloads a photo of every license plate it passes and instantly locates cars linked to crimes as well as expired registrations.
6) One of the main reasons for having so many one way streets in the Ampere area was to make it harder for perpetrators to make a quick getaway.
7) Cell phones and neighborhood watches are very useful in curtailing crime, but no one should follow or approach any suspect.