NEWARK – Senator Ronald L. Rice released the following statement today in regards to the rising gang-related crime in New Jersey and the lack of noticeable progress by a task force assembled to study the problem.
“We need to have real action immediately on solving the gang problem in our State. The killings and shootings are taking place on a daily basis in our urban communities and we no longer have time for empty rhetoric — we need solutions now.
“One of the primary intentions of the legislation was for the taskforce to report back to the Legislature with a written plan to develop a good intelligence system inside of the correctional institutions and on the streets. This plan was to include elements of resource, technology, legislation and financial resources to establish a system and implement the plan.
“It has been one year since Governor Codey signed the Gangland Security Task Force bill into law and it is inexcusable to have the 60-day progress report still be pending. I am not simply asking, but demanding, that Attorney General Zulima Farber use her authority and get this report to the Legislature now.
“For years, I have been pushing hard for anti-gang measures that would make New Jersey residents safe. Along with Senator Nia H. Gill, I sponsored the ‘Gangland Security Task Force’ bill that created a panel of diverse experts who were to study gang activity and research the conditions that further the formation and operations of gangs. This Task Force has yet to pass on their findings to the Legislature, and in the meantime the gangs in New Jersey are taking over.
“Although initiatives such as ‘Cease Fire’ are well intended, this program needs to work along side of the recommendations that the Gangland Security Task Force would make in order to be effective.
“I do not blame the Attorney General or the Department of Law and Public Safety for this delay; rather I am calling for swift action before more citizens become victim to gang violence.”