Frustration in Paterson over lack of police response to quality of life problems | Paterson Times

Frustration in Paterson over lack of police response to quality of life problems


Loud music, unsanctioned block parties, and fireworks marked a wild weekend in Paterson that has prompted at least one City Council member to call for a legislative investigation into lack of police response to quality of life problems.

“The police are doing absolutely nothing,” said an upset Paterson resident. Hundreds of people gathered on her block, 17th Avenue, for a large party on Friday night. She and her neighbors called police, but no one responded.

At one point, the woman was told by police dispatch a sergeant purportedly cleared the crowd. She said it wasn’t true. She called police and was insulted by Operator 13 and her phone number was blocked from calling the non-emergency police number.

The woman, who declined to provide her name, went to mayor Andre Sayegh’s house, knocked on his door, and told him about the situation. She said police arrived 30 minutes after her visit to the mayor’s house. She was told police were handling a hostage situation elsewhere in the city, she said.

“If I can’t sleep, you can’t either that’s how I looked at it,” said the resident. She said on Sunday from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Monday, a suspect set off fireworks on 17th Avenue, depriving residents of sleep.

Councilman Luis Velez notified police chief Ibrahim “Mike” Baycora about the fireworks at 12 a.m.

Baycora did not respond to a call for comment on Monday morning.

Velez had informed Baycora about Friday’s large block party on Tuesday, three days before it happened, as a flyer was circulating on social media promoting it.

“There was no action taken,” said Velez.

Velez said he had gotten far better responses from former police chief Troy Oswald, who was controversially ousted by Sayegh. His insistence on ensuring residents have some semblance of quality of life has produced a rift with the Sayegh administration. After he sent quality of life complaints, at one point, Baycora threatened to send police to Velez’s house to take the complaint and then send a unit to the trouble spot, he said.

“I never had a chief telling me, ‘I’m going to send cops to your house,’” said Velez.

Other council members have also complained about lack of police response to quality of life problems.

“I’ve put in multiple complaints, and I’m receiving the same complaints from constituents, so I don’t know what to tell you,” said councilman Michael Jackson, chairman of the public safety committee. “The chief has made it clear he’s not taking those direct messages.”

Baycora receives more than $210,000 in pay from taxpayers to address their safety concerns.

“The chief has made it extremely clear he works for the mayor. And he answers to the mayor,” said Jackson.

Sayegh did not respond to a message for comment.

“It appears to be getting a lot worse, not just an incremental increase, a lot worse,” said councilman William McKoy, who has been on the council for 20 years. He said someone set off fireworks on his block. “If you don’t address them early it only perpetuates the problem.”

Councilmen Flavio Rivera and Al Abdelaziz also received complaints about loud music and fireworks during the weekend. Both men worked on creating a quality of life enforcement unit last year to tackle loud music and other problems.

That unit was folded into the Covid-19 enforcement unit.

Public safety director Jerry Speziale said police were responding to calls over the weekend. He said police issued 241 summonses for quality of life issues on Friday and Saturday. He said police were dispatched to 195 quality of life assignments both days.

Speziale said the Father’s Day holiday reduced the quality of life force from 12 units to 4 on Sunday. On Sunday, those four units issued 40 summonses and responded to 96 quality of life assignments. He said they also cleared 9 hotspots.

“I couldn’t get anybody to take the detail because of Father’s Day,” said Speziale. He said police were also flooded with complaints about fireworks. He suggested the city put in place an ordinance that forbids people from igniting fireworks within 75 feet of a structure. He said the ordinance has to have teeth, meaning big penalties for violators.

A 2017 change in New Jersey regulations restricting fireworks allows people to buy and use handheld or ground based sparklers, snakes, glow worms; smoke devices; and trick noisemakers, including party poppers, snappers, and drop pops.

Speziale said the police force has 360 officers, the lowest officer count in years. Early last year, the force had 418 officers, he said, that thinned because of retirements. He said 10 officers were added in June. He is preparing an academy of 25 officers in July, but those officers won’t be prepared for deployment until after the troublesome summer months are over. He said there are limitations on the number of officers that can undergo training at the academy because of Covid-19 regulations.

“We’re doing everything we can with the resources we have,” said Speziale.

Fewer than 30 police officers were covering the city of 150,000 people from 5 p.m. on Sunday to 4 a.m. on Monday, said Velez. He said the city needs to add more officers to this shift to ensure residents can sleep at night.

Email: [email protected]

A previous version of this story erroneously stated Sayegh told the resident to call 911 on Friday, when she visited him. Report has been revised to remove the error.


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  • http://Patersontimes.com Limbaugh

    Great job Mayor feel free to post this issue on your social media.

    • bigron

      That will be the day. His page is there to feed fake news to his gullible followers.

  • DemocrapSocialistsSuck

    South Paterson never seems to have these problems, gee I wonder why…………

    • Vindicated

      What part of South Paterson???
      Because on Trenton Ave, Pennsylvania Ave and Most of Crooks Ave, they were lighting up explosives all night, riding those loud dirt bikes, plus a number of loud music parties disturbed my sleep… just an FYI!

      • DemocrapSocialistsSuck

        On Main street where all the Muslims are… You call the cops and they roll right up quick Mayor McCheese takes care of his peeps.

        • Harley

          Actually go on Main and see how much of the fireworks that were used are all over the streets before you state false information! The Main Street Losers are out there every night till 3 AM lighting up explosives and fireworks! And the police don't show up over here either FYI

          • DemocrapSocialistsSuck

            As our great President would say, you're spreading fake news.

          • John

            So he gave up on you muslums also? I dont so.

  • keymaker

    Even the 3rd Ward area around Eastside Park which was the only good thing left of the city has turned to shit, it’s like a bunch of scumbags from NYC moved in there. Then you got a bunch of morons going up and down the streets in a bunch of uninsured dirt bikes. I’m so glad I’m out of there I said to myself last night after leaving my moms house. The city sure was lost control over things.

    • DemocrapSocialistsSuck

      Best thing I ever did was escape from that shithole as soon as I was able.

  • DaMan

    burn this shit whole to the ground and rebuild . no one cares about anything in this town..cops drive by fireworks and loud music and nothing. easy to be loud 2-3 am when no one has any kind of work in Paterson. why work when you can have apartment for free, food stamps and free insurance

  • Paterson Resident

    Ity leaders have lost control and these cops do not care. It trickles frkm the top down. It's EVIDENT. 17th ave is now a dump. Park ave is a dump. Allot of out of towners are walking the streets buying drugs, while we can barely drive through the towns in which they are from. Too many people are on sidewalks with chairs out playing dominoes etc. Since when that is acceptable? Councilman Velez cares. That is the reason he was re elected, but he's not getting the support. The mayor does not care, neither does the police cheif. WE NEED TO PETITION AND GET THE CHEIF OUT and get one that cares.The director is pretty good. From my experience, whenever I text him, I get results. Start giving summons to any and everyone who violates these ordinance. Especially loitering. Ticket them! No ID, arrest them. We have to take this city back. Some of us is trying to make this place home.

    • John

      I think from your concerns and issues you seem to like Republicans

      • Paterson Resident

        I think that i might

  • John Brown

    all the residents complaining. Should go to the mayor's house and the police chief's house and bust firecrackers and play loud music until 3 a.m. and I see what their response will be. If Paterson residence can't get any rest neither should the Muslim Brotherhood!

    • John

      This doesn't happen in the Muslum part of Paterson

  • joe zerrani

    This is a disgrace for the entire city of Paterson. The mayor and the chief of police need to step up their games and do their JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. This past weekend, we had all the bads all over the city from loud music, crowded blocks with cars illegally parked , fire crackers in the middle of the streets at all time even after 12:00am (extremely hazard). Please can someone advice the law abiding citizens what can be done to make Paterson great again or to make Paterson great for the first time? because this is very sad. https://media2.giphy.com/media/TydZAW0DVCbGE/giphy.gif

    • DemocrapSocialistsSuck

      Nothing can be done because the voters are morons. Best advice I can give is to move out of that shithole to a Republican-run town like I did.

  • John

    Wait so you want less poluce and defund the police but yet want quicker adequate response. You can't have it.both ways idiot Liberal cities. I say totally defund the Police in all Liberal Cities to see how quickly the population decreases in Liberal Cities.

  • John

    City leaders have lost control in all Liberal cities. If you back the criminals, this is doomed to happen. So how is your new Police.Chief doing? The fired Police Chief.is.making over a quarter of.a Million dollars on Patersonians per year while he could have still been working for Paterson. SHAME. KEEP IN VOTING LIBERALS IN. HISPANIC DEMOCRATS FOR TRUMP 2020


  • John

    Welcome to a Liberal city

  • John

    Still think Democrats are for the people? Wake.up idiots

  • peejay1954

    Police chief Baycora does NOT work for the Mayor, he works (if you want to call it work, but at a quarter mil a year, Baycora better start doing some work) for the citizens of this city. WE pay for his salary! Operator "13" must be disciplined. It's nice to hear S Paterson does not have these problems. How about the cops doing what they are paid to do taking care of the rest of Paterson? July 4th is coming and more cops must be put on duty for this time. Velez for Mayor!!

    • Harley

      Don't feed into democraps racist bullshit. I live right off Main and its the same shit here too! Everyone has been calling the police and they don't show up they just say they are gonna send someone out to get you off the phone. This problem is in ALL of PATERSON!

      • DemocrapSocialistsSuck

        Muslim isn't a race dumbass.

    • Yogi Zuna

      The area around Michigan Ave and East Railway Ave has had these problems for well over ten years now! We used to complain, but it does not do any good at all.

  • TB Earl

    what a shame. It is amazing how administration after administration fails to address noise complaints. Ok so you don't have enough police officers Friday evening through Sunday evening. Duhh re work the schedule to make sure that you do. Resources should not be static. This isn't a new issue the new chief has been around and so has the public safety director. Probably have to give some advance notice to change schedules but you freaking plan well in advance. Come on mayor, chief and public safety director. You guys should have been planning months in advance for the spring and summer. makes no sense! I am getting tired of the constant parties on 24th and 25th streets between 14th , broadway and 14th avenue. NO police response. None zero, zip!!