In Newark, fewer murders, but is the city safer?

Newark Mayor Cory Booker stepped into office promising to combat the city's rash of violent crime. But at the end of 2007, his first full year in office since he was elected in 2006, there were only 9 fewer murders in the city compared to 2006.

That's leaving residents with mixed feelings about whether Booker has followed through with his plan.

At the Q-B-G Barber Shop, customers and cutters have conflicting opinions about whether Newark is a safer place since Booker took the reins.

"I'm going to say yeah and no at the same time," said Eddie Daniels. He said there's less loitering on the streets, but he doesn't believe much else has changed. "As far as crime goes, I'm not going to say it's gotten a whole lot better.

Gene Perkins, however, says his neighborhood has improved steadily thanks to more patrols in the area.

"I'm really starting to see a change," Perkins said.

At a local coffee shop, Heather Kollar, who moved to Newark a few years ago and runs a greeting card business out of her home, said she believes improvements on her block will spread throughout the city.

"I do think the city is safe overall," said Kollar, adding: "One thing everyone seemed to agree on is that the city needs to continue increasing the number of activities for kids as a way to combat crime."

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