Mayor Booker will be giving his first State of the City speech tonight and is expected to address the apparent rise in violent crime. The speech will be webcast live at 6:30 PM this evening.
PhillyBurbs provides some analysis:
Booker, a Yale Law School graduate seen as part of the next generation of young, black leaders, said he inherited a spiraling problem but is working to turn it around.
He noted that over the past five months, the city’s murder rate has dropped by 10 percent and shootings have been reduced by 24 percent.
While the statistics are “moving in the right direction, they are not fast enough,” Booker said.
Gang violence has remained a top priority, but some residents like Violet Slade, who has lived in Newark for her 64 years, said she feels less safe today.
“It seems to me like the gangs are retaliating against him,” she said, waiting for a bus in the cold Thursday. “When he took office, it got worse. He’s trying, but the gangs are letting him know they run the city.”
Booker has claimed previously that the James administration left him an already-growing rise in crime and, while his efforts look good on paper, residents are concerned that he might not be able to turn the tide. Booker is an excellent speaker, but tonight’s speech will take more than Maya Angelou quotes to quash the perception that Booker’s first six months in office have been mired in a losing battle against the gangs in our city.