Turning fear and anger into action Residents becoming more proactive fighting crime

The Jersey City Police and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Homicide Squad were still looking last week for the shooter responsible for the murder of Kiritkumar Parekh, the downtown Jersey City merchant who was killed when an attempted robbery went bad in his store on Jan. 27.
The two law enforcement agencies working in tandem have so far brought in suspects in two of the three murders that have taken place in Jersey City since the beginning of this year.
However, while the police do their work, residents who are afraid and angry over what they see as crime overtaking their neighborhoods are transforming their emotions into action.
There was the candlelight vigil, organized by various community groups on Jan. 30, which brought out over 500 people to remember Parekh. The vigil started in Hamilton Park then walked in a procession to Albert’s Grocery, the store Parekh owned at 120 Coles St., where they laid candles, flowers, and notes of appreciation.


“Regular dialogue with the police, especially, if you have a hot spot or problem house on your block.” – Pam Andes

The grassroots safety group Downtown Jersey City Watch, which has been doing patrols for over three years, took action by sending e-mails to members urging them to keep an eye out for the suspect at-large and “if possible, create extra presence in the neighborhood, by standing out front of your home with another neighbor.”
Pam Andes, one of the founders of Downtown Jersey City Watch who lives with her husband and two children in the Hamilton Park area, also recommended in an interview last week, “Regular dialogue with the police, especially, if you have a hot spot or problem house on your block. Do not call only when the times are bad.”
Other groups across the city have come up with measures in recent weeks to make their neighborhoods and their lives safer.

Group or individual responsibility

About 40 people attended the Communipaw Avenue Block Association bi-monthly meeting on Monday. In attendance were members of the block association, which serves an area spanning Communipaw Avenue from Garfield Avenue to Liberty State Park, and officials from the Jersey City Police Department.
The topic of the meeting: public safety.
Among the issues addressed during the meeting were: shootings that took place last month in the neighborhood, the noticeable changes since last month when police committed to patrolling all of Communipaw Avenue from Route 440 to Liberty State Park, the need for more closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) and a petition asking Gov. Jon Corzine and the New Jersey State Police for state and federal law enforcement to help Jersey City police patrol the streets.
During the meeting, Rosalyn Browne, the president of the Communipaw Avenue Block Association and the petition’s sponsor, said she is working with other block associations across the city to organize a citywide block association, and to hold a citywide meeting on public safety at City Hall in March 3 with Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
Also during the meeting, City Councilwoman Viola Richardson spoke of a community gathering she held on Jan. 29, bringing together individuals and organizations to create various programs and events to keep children and adults off the streets, such as job training, a talent show and a year-round Bible school.
But Rev. Ron-Calvin Clark, pastor and founder of the Anointed Gospel Christian Center Church in Jersey City, said that groups were not enough to deal with the problems that produce crime.
“I walk by myself up and down the streets, and when I see your kids acting up I tell them, ‘We don’t do that here’.”
For more on Browne’s petition, call (201) 432-6565. Anyone interested in joining or helping the Downtown Jersey City Watch can e-mail:downtownjcwatch@gmail.com.
Also, residents can call the Jersey City Police Department’s non-emergency line about suspicious activities or incidents at (201) 547-5477. And anyone with information on the recent homicides in Jersey City can call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Homicide Squad at (201) 915-1345.

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