PATERSON - The state's three biggest cities are forming an alliance in an effort to stop a recent spike in gun violence.
The police departments of Newark, Paterson and Jersey City are teaming up to reduce crime. They say it is about sharing intelligence about gang members and sharing police officers, if necessary.
"We form a bold new strategic partnership designed with one goal in mind: reduce street level violence in our inner cities and senseless loss of life that goes along with it," says Paterson Mayor Joey Torres.
The mayors detailed an initiative that includes a joint Cease Fire Unit to combat gangs and gun violence. The main goal is to track criminals who move from city to city committing crimes.
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"We need to bring together all of the intelligence so we can stop the trafficking of guns, the movement of gangs throughout the area, the trafficking of drugs up and down these corridors that are plaguing all three of these cities," says Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.
"There are examples of people from Newark doing horrible things in Newark and then coming into Jersey City," adds Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
The police departments also plan on sharing manpower and deploying it to crime hot spots.
The tri-city initiative comes at the end of a violent month in the Garden State's inner cities. Over the 4th of July weekend, 12-year-old Genesis Rincon was fatally shot by a stray bullet in Paterson. A week later, Jersey City Officer Melvin Santiago was killed in a shootout with a suspect.
Residents are applauding law enforcement's new alliance. "We need more security, more law enforcement to get this gang thing to cease because it's out of control," says Simon Shiver, of Newark.
The alliance between the three cities goes beyond fighting crime. The mayors say they want to fight the foreclosure crisis and develop programs to help convicts re-enter the workforce when they're released from prison.