New Community’s Security Department has taken steps to help reduce crime within the organization’s footprint in Newark and those efforts are having an impact on the area.
Security Operations Manager John Wade explained that last year there were four hot spots for crime in Newark’s Central Ward located in NCC’s footprint.
“This year we have none because of some of the things that we’ve been doing and some of the things the police have been doing in this particular area,” he said.
Wade and NCC Director of Community Engagement Richard Cammarieri are involved with the Newark Public Safety Collaborative, which is part of the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice. The initiative aims to provide relevant crime statistics and information on what is contributing to crime in a certain area. The Newark Police Department is also involved and Wade said NCC received information about crime within its footprint.
“That’s how we ultimately came up with strategies to address some things in this particular area,” Wade said.
Members of the NCC Security Task Force now have a stronger presence during the day and have been focusing on quality of life issues including illegal parking, loitering and drug activity.
“John’s ability to reach out and get involved in bringing in new ideas and resources to NCC is paying off. We are committed to renovating our properties and partnering with our residents to provide a safe, secure and dignified living experience,” said New Community CEO Richard Rohrman. “These efforts combined with additional Task Force officers, more lighting, security cameras and outreach have had a measurable impact on the quality of life on the properties.”
During the course of patrolling and investigating, Security personnel also evaluate factors that contribute to incidents. That includes environmental factors, some of which are being addressed with the ongoing renovation project. Landscaping changes, additional lighting and cameras are expected to further improve the area. If Security personnel find that tenants are engaging in activities affecting the quality of life, the department teams up with Property Management to address issues with the tenants. Some tenants have been issued warnings and those who don’t comply can be referred to landlord-tenant court.
In addition to internal investigations and policy changes, Wade said NCC has a good relationship with the Newark Police Department. While New Community is private property, the organization has given members of the Newark Police Department the authority to come onto NCC properties and enforce motor vehicle laws and city ordinances.
This summer, one of Security’s key focus areas was the playground between the NCC Neighborhood Center and Manor Family at 72 Hayes St. Wade said he wanted parents to feel safe sending their children to summer camp at the NCC Neighborhood Center, as well as dropping them off and picking them up.
“It’s my understanding through some of the critiques they got at the rec center that we definitely made an impact,” Wade said. “So I was very happy about that.”
There were no shootings in the area this summer, which was an improvement, and police checkpoints that were present for several months last year have been removed.
While Wade said there is still room for improvement, he has noticed more residents out and about and parents allowing their children outside to play.
“It’s good to see people who can just come out and take a morning stroll. And walk to the store and get a cup of coffee,” Wade said. “When you see people are able to do that in this particular area, I think you know you’re making a little bit of an impact.”
While violent crime is down in the area, crimes of opportunity are occurring, particularly thefts from vehicles. Wade encourages residents and visitors to always lock their cars and not leave valuables or other items in plain sight. He said even umbrellas, sunglasses or loose change could be items of interest.
With cameras being installed, NCC Security has more tools to help with both criminal and internal investigations. New parking regulations and house rules will be released soon as well to help improve quality of life issues.
Wade hopes NCC residents embrace the changes and work with the Security Department.
“The officers need resident support in order to do their job. It’s going to take a team effort,” he said.