Officials work to change images of NJ cities
In a bid to lower violent crime in their communities, the leaders of Newark, Jersey City and Paterson - New Jersey's largest cities - have announced the creation of a cooperative Cease Fire Task Force.
According to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop many positive things are happening in his town, but it's important to show progress as well.
"I think at the end of the day, perception feeds reality, it's a cycle that goes on over there, and you need to show meaningful results," Fulop said.
The mayor said changing the image of the city and attracting more visitors, is more than just a perception issue.
"We've got to continue to do it over time," he said. "It has taken decades to get into this problem, it's going to take a long time to get out."
He also said even though there's been a lot of negative publicity lately about his town because of the recent killing of police officer Melvin Santiago, "if you look at the trends overall in Jersey City on crime, we're moving in a favorable direction, meaning if you look at non-fatal shooting year to date this year compared to last, we're down about 25 percent."
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said while his city has many wonderful assets, improving Newark's image is a work in progress.
"When the people in Newark change their perception about it, when people in Newark begin to feel comfortable about their own city, when they begin to believe in their own city, other people's perception change of it," he said.
Baraka said part of his job is to help people feel good about the city they live in.
"Some of it has to do with public safety, which means the work we're doing in this regard is incredibly important for our residents and those who visit this city" he said. "Newark is an evolving city, Newark is moving forward and it is consistently moving forward, the downtown community is growing, it'll have a 24 hour night life in our community in about 2 years."
He added "we're working tirelessly to make that happen and we would love people to be a part of what's happening in our international city."