By Candace Kelley
More police, that’s part of an aggressive plan laid out by Paterson Mayor Joey Torres. He wants to quickly out 26 more police officers on the streets. The city is down 150 officers from its peak five years ago.
Twelve-year-old Genesis Rincon was shot down as she was riding her scooter. It rattled the residents of Paterson to the core. And it rallied a whole community. Her parents led the charge for justice saying it was time take Paterson back. Rev. Della Fischer has been speaking on behalf of the distraught family.
“We’re just saying we want our town back, we need our town back, our children need our town back,” Fischer said.
The shooting galvanized the community — police detectives handed out fliers, community members organized themselves, asking anyone who knew anything to help bring a killer to justice.
After the shooting, hundreds of people rallied outside of City Hall. It because of community involvement that officials say the shooter finally turn himself in.
And there is a controversial plan for stricter regulations on late-night businesses that draw the wrong people to loiter.
“We do plan to introduce a commercial curfew which would essentially target some of these hot spots so if you are in an area where you’ve seen a cluster of criminal activity we will regulate your hours of operation,” said Councilman Andre Sayegh.
“When a liquor store seems to stay open a little later we have a lot of attention drawn towards it and not only that if people intoxicated they’re really not in their right mind,” said Paterson resident Raheem McCoy.
Many of the people we spoke to wouldn’t speak on camera but said the city should spend money on giving kids something to do.
“A lot of problems stem from drugs and our narcotics unit is down to bare bones. It should be doubled,” Sayegh said.
Family and friends hope that as this tragedy plays out, young people will get the message.
“A life is more valuable than just pulling out a gun and pulling the trigger,” said Fischer.
This little girl’s family, the mayor, council members and members of the community say talk of fighting violence will not go away quickly and they have vowed to take back a city they call home.
Catch up on the entire “Crime In Our Cities” series