Paterson Officials Say Businesses Must Close at Midnight

By Michael Hill

Tresia Magee has lived in this Paterson hotspot for 40 years and welcomes the city’s attempt to cut crime by telling businesses lights out at midnight starting the second week of September.

“I think it would be something good,” Magee said.

Magee lives on Warren near where it intersects with Rosa Parks Boulevard — where a stray bullet hit and killed 12-year-old Genesis Rincon in July.

“It’s the liquor store and as long as the liquor store is open you are going to have people out here, wouldn’t be a need to hang out,” said Magee.

City hall and city council relying on stats from the police department to determine hotspots for crime and the hope is that by closing the businesses the people on the street will have no place to go but home.

Council member Andrew Saygeh proposed the idea borrowing it from something Jersey City did in the ’80s.

“I expect to see a decline in crime. Les gang activity. Fewer violent incidents. Also, I’d like to see fewer service calls to police regard loud music or any other quality of life issues,” Saygeh said.

The liquor stores wouldn’t comment. The curfew applies to all businesses but liquor stores are foremost on the minds of people.

“I think the liquor stores should close around 9. 12 is definitely too late. There’s too much violence. There is nothing like a drunk man with a gun,” said Derrick Porter.

“I believe it’s going to take more than a curfew. It’s going to take more than liquor store but I believe that’s a good start,” said Kim Mack.

Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres ran on a campaign to target crime. He says the city’s about to hire more officers, establish a tips and text line and it’s putting the final touches on a deal to share police officers with Newark and Jersey City.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” Torres said.

Next month, the city council will debate closing all liquor stores in the city at midnight.

Over and over again, the people of Paterson say it’s great the city’s taking action but the real responsibility for reducing crime here belongs to the people.

“It’s the people too. People gotta change their ways too,” Magee said.

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