Monmouth County Authorities Tackle Asbury Park Crime [AUDIO]
A six-week initiative by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office to curb crime in the Asbury Park-Neptune netted 101 arrests, but Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni says the public's help is needed now more than ever.
"We've established a number of anonymous ways to report crimes, including tip lines and the Crime Stoppers program. I need people to give a damn as much as law enforcement does," he explained.
As part of the initiative, Gramiccioni notes they've doubled the number of staff in the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Satellite Office, partnered with local and state law enforcement agencies to target high priority targets, and establish a gang and drug task force.
The majority of the arrests made since August 1st were residents of Asbury Park and Neptune and concentrated in the Southwest portion of the city.
In addition to the 101 arrests, 11 handguns were seized. Though the majority of arrests were for possession of illegal drugs, Gramiccioni says they can still have a big impact.
"Well historically, small crimes will lead to big crimes. I can't tell you that is going to be the case with these one hundred and one individuals, I can just tell you from what I've learned and other successes around the country and areas that struggle with violent criminal activity."
He points out that while it's likely many of those arrested for possession and other smaller counts will be out on the streets after they make bail, "once those cases are disposed of, that's a conviction on their record."
He adds that the county is working towards building cases towards repeat offenders.
Gramiccioni didn't specify how many of the arrests were gang-related, other than saying the county had a task force investigating any potential gang relation. He did point out a majority of the arrests were drug related, specifically marijuana or heroin, due to the county's location between Philadelphia and Newark-two hubs of the drug market.
"It's easy to get large quantities of narcotics there and obviously we're lodged between that market and not far of drive from there. They're coming in from the ports and airports, being driven up from 95 North from the Southeast and being made available to our public here."
Additional future initiatives are planned and officers will continue patrolling the areas.