Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mayor silent on gun issues as 5-year-old is 2nd victim of new year

Just ten days into 2013, an innocent 5-year-old has become Plainfield's second gunshot victim of the year (see reports of Thursday's shooting in the Courier here, and the Ledger here). I am sure readers join me in keeping the youngster and his family in our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

Despite the growing clamor for tighter controls on guns and ammunition in the wake of the Newtown elementary school shooting, and now these two incidents in our own community, Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has remained mum on the subject.

Without once mentioning gun control issues in the nation or in Plainfield, Robinson-Briggs' only nod to the crisis was to call for a moment of silence during the delivery of her annual State of the City Address on January 3.

By that time, Plainfield had already seen its first shooting incident of the new year (see more here), and about which we have heard nothing since.

Meanwhile, the Star Ledger had just completed an exhaustive study of non-fatal shooting incidents in New Jersey's most dangerous cities -- among which it included Plainfield -- under the headline 'Staggering amount of nonfatal NJ shootings go unsolved' (see the story here).

Plainfield's rate of unsolved shootings is distressingly
low (correction: should read HIGH) (see the Ledger graphic comparing nine cities here). What is embarrassing is that Elizabeth, which has come under attack by the Union County Prosecutor for not linking up with the county's efforts, has dramatically improved its performance over Plainfield's in the last two years studied. And that notwithstanding that Plainfield works in tandem with the Prosecutor's gunplay forensic team.

Two final pieces of the gun violence picture in Plainfield also need to be brought into focus --
  • The Robinson-Briggs administration should come clean with the Council and residents on the status and effectiveness of the much-ballyhooed ShotSpotter technology in which such high hopes were placed, and

  • Plainfield residents and taxpayers deserve to have an explanation about why it is taking so long for the Housing Authority of Plainfield to move forward with plans to raze the violence-afflicted Elmwood Gardens complex, adjacent to the site of the most recent shooting, and replace it with the proposed townhome development.
It is high time that Mayor Robinson-Briggs, who is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (see here), stepped up to the plate and contributed to the discussion of gun issues nationally and continuing gun violence in the Queen City.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bob said...

Our mayor is notorius for ignoring thing that aren't to her advantage. I would think violence of any type would be on her list for the new year, as Plainfield was on the list of the top ten most violent cities and towns in New Jersey. This is a pattern for Sharon, as she ignored letters and calls about problems in Connolly buildings until Assembly Green stepped in. We really need to get someone in office who will not wait until they're forced to do something.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time to get rid of the criminal that's running the police dept and put a chief back in charge!

Anonymous said...

There was more skepticism than high-hopes for ShotSpotter. It was more like a photo-op for elected officials to show concern when many of them actually gain political advantage the needier and more troubled we are. A self-sufficient electorate would never vote some of these jokers into office. Call it the power of the handout, or just plain servitude if you will. You'll see, the most gung-ho for ShotSpotter will be the most resistant to razing Elmwood Gardens.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Paterson is doing something right in their police department if over 50% of non-fatal shootings lead to arrests. And the Plainfield police have alot to explain for the drop in its crime-solving since 2009. Other cities (except Paterson) have similar "off-years". I can't help but wonder if it is purposeful. perhaps being related to labor issues as the police union acts to protect and serve its members' salaries and pensions, public safety be damned.

As for Elmwood Gardens, it's the people in them that tolerate crime, including the leadership in the tenants' association and the management. Replacing them with new townhouses at taxpayer expense would just be a wasteful throwing of good money after bad. But if the people improve the content of their character, Elmwood Gardens as is would be very livable.