TRENTON – During today’s Senate Budget hearings, Senate President Pro Tempore Shirley K. Turner urged Attorney General Zulima Farber to focus more of her office’s resources on combating the increasing blight of gangs upon our cities and urban areas.
“Gangs are an ever-increasing threat to the safety and well-being of all of New Jersey’s communities, but it has especially hit our urban areas hard,” said Senator Turner. “The Attorney General needs to be a statewide leader in fighting the threat that gangs pose to innocent, law-abiding citizens. I will endeavor to make sure the priorities in this year’s budget reflect that need.”
Senator Turner is leading advocate in the Senate for legislation that would allow local municipalities and police departments to combat gangs and their criminal activities. She is the sponsor of a package of bills that include measures to increase prison sentences for weapons crimes, make it harder to use illegally obtained money to post bail, limit gang loitering and promote alternatives to gangs through the NJ Ceasefire program.
“Every New Jerseyan deserves to live in a neighborhood that is safe from gang violence. They deserve to feel safe walking down their street. If we fail to act now, we will begin to lose control of urban neighborhoods to criminal gangs, and that is an unacceptable outcome,” explained Senator Turner.
Senator Turner said she expects to see her gang prevention bills to be considered by the Senate before the summer recess.
“Though gang activity right now is concentrated in our urban areas, it’s a problem that should be of concern to the entire state,” added Senator Turner. “While gangs are not as visible in our suburban and rural areas, they are starting to reach those areas. If we don’t control the crisis in our urban communities now, it will be just a matter of time until gangs are a major problem in every community. We can’t afford to let the problem grow to that size.”