State-appointed police chief Isa Abbassi outlined a summer anti-crime strategy on Saturday afternoon that focuses on stepped up enforcement in crime hotspots, increased enforcement against after-hour businesses, and renewed focus on quality-of-life complaints.
“The Summer Strategy that we are announcing today includes significant violence reduction efforts made possible by Attorney General Platkin’s ongoing commitment to Paterson. Through the allocation of State resources, personnel, technology, and nearly $1 million dollars in additional summer funding, we will be able to bring about meaningful improvements in public safety for the residents of this city,” said Abbassi in announcing the plan that will run from Memorial Day to Labor Day. “Law enforcement officers know that as the weather gets warmer, crime often goes up.”
Indeed, every summer Paterson becomes the scene of large numbers of loud parties, deafening music blasting from vehicles all hours, and gun violence.
Abbassi said $900,000 from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office will allow for assignment of more officers to hotspots that historically see an increase in violent incidents in summer months. He will prioritize enforcement against illegal businesses that remain open after the midnight curfew.
His Multi Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH) program will see police partnering with other municipal and state agencies conduct coordinated inspection and enforcement operations on businesses and illegal clubs. He also plans to ensure each officer’s shift will include a portion of time spent in areas with high crime levels and large number of quality-of-life complaints such as loud music.
A Quality of Life Response Program will involve off-duty officers exclusively assigned to address quality of life calls during weekend night hours. Part of this program will involve patrolling of public parks to enforce park rules and closing times.
Officers handling administrative duties will be required to spend time on patrol during summer months to increase police visibility. New officers will be assigned to foot posts to better get to know the community and build relationships with people they have sworn to serve.
Abbassi’s plan also includes a piece to build trust between law enforcement and the community, a key goal assigned to him by attorney general Matt Platkin, who took over the police force in March, citing lack of trust in law enforcement. His plan includes summer youth programs to give young people a safe place while school is out.
He will also hold roundtables throughout the community to hear residents’ concerns. He previously completed a series of listening sessions in the city’s six wards. He also committed to participate in and expand violence intervention programs.
“The efforts being undertaken by our Department over the summer months will bring police officers and community members together more often and strengthen the community bonds of our Paterson home,” Abbassi said. “With this comprehensive plan we can provide the services that our residents deserve and should expect. The building blocks in this plan will be carried over for years to come as we work toward the NextGen of policing in Paterson.”
Updated 3 p.m.