June 21, 2023, East Orange, NJ: To mark the official start of summer, the City of East Orange has launched its “Safe Summer” Initiative, an aggressive, all-hands-on-deck approach to keeping crime low as temperatures rise.
Yesterday, Mayor Ted R. Green was joined by Public Safety Director Maurice Boyd, EOPD Police Chief Phyllis Bindi, EOFD Acting Fire Chief Bruce Davis and Director of Recreation & Cultural Affairs J. Jamal Pearson to announce the start of the initiative, which will run between June 21, 2023-September 5, 2023.
The Safe Summer Initiative will consist of joint efforts between EOPD, EOFD, OEM, the Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, as well as other city departments as needed. There will be an increased police presence, community engagements, and proactive quality-of-life enforcement, some of which will include walking posts, mobile patrols, business inspections, road safety checkpoints, and crime prevention operations.
In response to a national uptick in the theft of Kias and Hyundais, EOPD also will be giving away steering wheel lock devices to city residents who own those vehicles. Residents must provide proof of residency and vehicle registration. The devices are available at EOPD Headquarters at 15. S. Munn Avenue in East Orange.
Director Boyd said that police will be targeting hotspot locations to address emerging crime trends and patrol officers will be cracking down on speeding, jaywalking, parking offenses, and curfew violations throughout the summer.
“Cameras will be deployed around the city to capture violations on video and summonses will be mailed to violators who break the law,” warned Boyd.
The community relations units of EOPD and EOFD will collaborate to host events and programs throughout the city such as:
- Pop-Up Block Parties
- Adopt-a-Park Events
- Basketball Games
- Fitness Classes dubbed “Cardio with Cops”
- Boys and Girls Mentoring Programs
- Police Explorers Program
- Safe Haven P.A.L. Program
The public will also receive vital information on how to protect themselves from property and domestic crimes, while EOFD will distribute free smoke detectors and hearing-impaired sound alarms to those who need them.
In order to keep crime down during summer months, Chief Bindi stressed the importance of forging positive relationships between police and residents.
“We listen and respond to our community to ensure our efforts and priorities align with their expectations so that we can continue to provide the kind of services that our community wants, expect and deserves,” said Bindi, noting that overall crime has been on a downward trend over the past six years.
In 2022, East Orange experienced a 23% reduction in violent crime, 37% reduction in shooting incidents, and a 4% crime reduction overall.
Community engagement is a key public safety strategy and Director Pearson said he and his team have been working hard to ensure that Summer 2023 is chock full of activities to keep our children and families active and engaged in our parks, pools and playgrounds.
In addition to a variety of summer camps and sports clinics, Pearson said there will special events happening every week July through August, including main annual events such as the weekly “Soul in the City” music series, the Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular, Jazz at the Plaza, the Mayor’s Annual Cookout, MACFest and Summer Jam House Music Festival.
“We have a robust summer planned and it’s all hands on deck,” said Mayor Green. “If you see something, say something. We have zero tolerance for anyone disrupting our community. We just want everyone to enjoy their summer and have a great time.”