Maybe it's just the cynicism of getting older. Or maybe it's real. I feel like the area of my hometown has changed for the worst over the years and it makes me sad. I grew up in Union County, specifically in Rahway. Just days ago a sad story popped up in the news about a teenager from Rahway who was stabbed to death. It happened on Donald Avenue in the middle of what police say was a "large fight". They're still piecing it together. Then this strange story of Vera Pecoraro who was a widow living alone in Clark. Clark was always the 'safe zone' in a surrounding area that wasn't so much so, especially as the years have gone on. She was found by her son in her locked home, nothing missing, dead on the sofa. Her throat slit. A press conference yesterday confirmed it was indeed a murder. They feel it was a targeted murder and that Clark residents need not worry there's a killer on the loose. Still, locals there are concerned. Then today there's word that in Linden an 18 year old girl was walking home with her friend and was robbed at gunpoint. Instead of just taking her money, they shot her in the head and took her life too. I grew up in Rahway where the young man was just stabbed to death. The house I grew up in is just one mile away from the home in Clark where Vera Pecoraro had her throat slit. I also lived in Clark one year. That house was less than two miles away. My mom lives in Linden where Amber Wilson was just murdered.


Beyond the crime I've seen the neighborhoods change. People who used to be more connected to, more vested in, the quality of their neighborhoods moved away, and people who seemed less connected, more transient moved in. The pride in homes faded. The blight came around. It's all made me sad to think about the differences. Have you felt the same way? Have you seen changes for the worse in your own hometown in New Jersey? Take our poll and share your story below.