Taking Back Our Streets: Crime Reduction in Newark

Newark’s longstanding narrative of progress has had many names (anyone remember the “Renaissance City?”), but a singular, pernicious problem: how can any administration claim progress in the city when the crime problem has showed unsteady improvement?
Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy joins me to discuss how the city is approaching the crime problem and his expectations for the future. More after the jump.

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Newark’s longstanding narrative of progress has had many names (anyone remember the “Renaissance City?”), but a singular, pernicious problem: how can any administration claim progress in the city when the crime problem has showed unsteady improvement?
Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy joins me to discuss how the city is approaching the crime problem and his expectations for the future.  More after the jump.

[audio://dailynewarker.com/files/2010/01/TDN Podcast – McCarthy.mp3]

When the Booker administration arrived in City Hall, they inherited a city with a rising murder rate and a reputation for lawlessness.  In his inauguration speech in 2006, the Mayor promised to add hundreds of officers to the street and implement zero-tolerance policing:

His focus landed squarely on crime. Citing the city’s rising murder rate, and naming victims who died young, he said, ‘‘We have work to do in America when any child is killed.’‘

Specifically, Mr. Booker said his administration would immediately implement zero-tolerance policing. Reiterating his campaign promise to add hundreds of officers to the streets, he said, ‘‘I will enforce all laws, from traffic laws, with people speeding down our suburban streets, to littering laws.’‘

Much of the mayor’s success in his first term hinges on crime reduction, particularly after the tragic murder of three college-bound Newarkers in 2007, which made national headlines and devastated the city.

Since taking the civilian post in 2006, Mr. McCarthy has made strategic changes to the Newark Police Department to focus resources on the city’s most difficult issues.  The Star Ledger recently reported the 2009 results by highlighting an increase in homicides, though every major crime category — including shootings — was substantially down for the year.

The director joined me on the podcast to discuss how these numbers square — how can you have more murders with fewer shootings? — and how the NPD is sustaining its focus going into 2010 in order to see further crime reduction.

Habeas Lounge: Democracy Out Loud in Newark

Linda Pollack is a public artist preparing for a community dialogue project that will open in Newark October 23. The HABEAS LOUNGE is a space for civic dialogue, where she curates a series of public discussions and other exchanges.

In the podcast, we discuss how the lounge came into existence, the goals for the project, and where you can find out more information.

[audio:http://dailynewarker.com/w/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/tdn-podcast-habeas-091023-var.mp3%5D

The HABEAS LOUNGE series are developed to be timely and relevant to the communities where they are based. The idea is to break away from the typical dynamics of the panel discussion and instead create a more fluid and inclusive atmosphere where candid exchange can occur. The series has since been featured in downtown Los Angeles, Manhattan and, most recently, Wroclaw Poland for the 20th anniversary of Eastern Europe’s political changes of 1989.

On October 23, HABEAS LOUNGE will be displayed in the street level window of Rupert Ravens Contemporary Art Gallery, at 85 Market Street in Newark. The fomer “Furniture King” will once again be infused with its original mandate to display furniture. The LOUNGE will first serve as a still life in the display window, then in mid November we will activate it by hosting public discussions that address city life issues specific to Newark – transportation, infrastructure, development, housing, renewal, safety, the river, health services, etc.

For more information, check out their website: rupertravens.net.

NJPAC, Nation’s “Most Glamorous Theater”

Exploring NJPAC’s beginnings, impact on the community, global reputation (described by renowned critics as one of the “world’s greatest concert halls” and “the nation’s most glamorous theater”) and ambitions for growth.

njpac-exterior-photo-credit-estoI met with Jeff Norman and Josh Balber to talk about what one might still consider to be Newark’s best kept secret: the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
“Pffft,” you say, “I’ve heard of NJPAC before.“  But, did you know that the center that has drawn over six million people to Newark since its open in 1997?  Did you know that the Center counts Yo-Yo Ma, Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater among its performances?  Or that deeply embedded into the DNA of the Performing Arts Center is a desire to catalyze the city’s renewal?

Or even that the Center’s Prudential Hall has been described by renowned critics as one of the “world’s greatest concert halls” and “the nation’s most glamorous theater”?

Podcast

Jeff and Josh were kind enough to share some of the details about how the NJPAC was conceived and built by Lawrence Goldman, the Center’s arts programs and its ambitions for growth.

[audio:http://dailynewarker.com/w/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/tdn-interview-njpac-081117.mp3%5D

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Further Reading

The Disquieting Decline of the Star Ledger

Despite its success, the Ledger has been losing as much as $30 to $40 million a year due to the same pressures that all newspapers face: declining ad sales and subscription revenues. Associate Professor of Journalism at Rutgers-Newark, Rob Snyder, and I discuss how long the Ledger has left.

robsnyderThe Star Ledger, established in 1832, is the 15th largest paper in the country by circulation, delivering a half-a-million papers on any given Sunday.  The paper received a Pulitzer in 2005 for its coverage of Governor McGreevy’s resignation.
Despite its success, the Ledger has been losing as much as $30 to $40 million a year due to the same pressures that all newspapers face: declining ad sales and subscription revenues — much of which has been blamed on the emergence of the news sources on the web, delivered both by large media companies (such as CNN) and smaller niche blogs.

In its efforts to transition to the web, the Ledger has launched new initiatives in recent months such as a daily video podcast, a Twitter news stream, and training reporters on the use of video.  While the Ledger Live has been a really enjoyable podcast (this one had a particularly brilliant insight from one guest video blogger), it’s been difficult to tell whether these efforts will have a measurable boost to the Ledger’s bottom line.

In response to the paper’s troubles, Debbie Galant, blogger at BaristaNet (shown gazing over her glasses below), sniffs, “Good luck, Star Ledger. I really do hope that you stay around because I like linking to your stories.”

Today, the paper faces an October 8 deadline to renegotiate with its unions and lower costs or face a potential closure or buyout come January.  To discuss the implications of a closure of Newark’s only paper, I chatted with Rob Snyder, who is an Associate Professor of Journalism and American Studies at Rutgers Newark and Editor of the Newark Metro.

The interview is about 26 minutes. Press the play button below to listen.

[audio:http://dailynewarker.com/w/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/tdn-interview-snyder-080924.mp3%5D

On the podcast, we discussed:

  • What’s the national context for the Ledger’s potential closure? Is it common for local papers to close?
  • What pressures are there on the newspapers now to bring about this potential sale or closure?
  • What role have newspapers like the Ledger played in American society? Do we know what the implications might be of losing the paper?
  • It seems that the business models for papers and the web are very similar — both delivering content supported by advertisers. Why can’t many of these papers flip to an online model?
  • What models of delivering news do you see gaining traction in the next 3 years?
  • Bonus! Given your experience in the city and teaching at Rutgers, where do you see the city in 5 years?

More commentary and coverage:

Interview: Diesel Siedel of United Initiatives for Peace

This weekend, Diesa Siedel’s organization, United Initiatives for Peace, will be hosting an open 3-on-3 girls basketball tournament called Scholars for Ballers to promote athletics and education. The tournament will take place Saturday at 10:00 AM at St. Peter’s Recreational Center on Lyons Ave (map below) and is open to the public. Girls interested in competing must be high-school students or 2008 graduates.
Players will be competing for scholarships and other prizes to be presented at the awards ceremony on Sunday. On the podcast, we discuss eligibility for competing in the tournament, what brought UIP to Newark for this event, and how a high school girl might potentially get a shot to challenge Mayor Booker to a little 1-on-1.

The podcast is about 15 minutes. Click the play button below to listen.

[audio:http://dailynewarker.com/w/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/080828-tdn-interview-siedel.mp3%5D

Interview: Brick City Urban Farms


Urban farming is changing how you eat your food. By closing the gap from halfway across the country to halfway across town, urban farms can bring healthier, tastier and cheaper food to your table.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Brick City Urban Farms, an urban farming project right here in downtown Newark. Intrigued, I asked the folks there if they’d be willing to talk a little more to dive deeper into the idea of urban farming in Newark. John Taylor, and Lorraine and Tony Gibbons were kind enough to join me for the podcast.

The interview is about 33 minutes. Press the play button below to listen.

[audio:http://dailynewarker.com/w/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/tdn-bcuf-interview-080725.mp3%5D

On the podcast, we discussed:

 

  • How the farm got started
  • Meeting the need for quality produce in Newark
  • Benefits of urban farming — eliminating transportation costs and boosting quality
  • BCUF’s relationship with the city and community organizations
  • Bonus! What will Newark be like in five years?

 

For more information, check out their site: brickcityurbanfarms.org.

Interview: Darius Sollohub of the NJIT School of Architecture


Newark is the fastest growing city in the Northeast, leading the nationwide trend of people migrating into cities. The Wall Street Journal ran a piece describing the demographic aspect of this move — boomers and millennials, mostly — and identifying higher energy prices as one of the main reasons for this trend.

The Journal (and a similar CNN piece that ran the day before) described the New Urbamism phenomenon, which closely identifies with walkable neighborhoods intended to encourage community. To get some insight into the New Urbanism movement and how Newark’s future is being guided from an urban design perspective, I interviewed Darius Sollohub, Associate Professor of Architecture at NJIT.

The interview is about 31 minutes. Press the play button below to listen.

[audio:http://dailynewarker.com/w/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/080625-interview-solohub-32.mp3%5D

On the podcast, we discussed:

 

  • Darius’ history with the NJIT School of Architecture and how the school has participated in research and advisory in the city
  • What New Urbanism means, the origins of the movement, and some of the critiques and benefits
  • How Newark’s redevelopment can benefit from the New Urbanism model
  • Whether Newark is taking the right approach in its urban design, and how design can make a difference in urban problems like crime and quality of life
  • Bonus! What will Newark be like in five years?