Jersey City At Large Council candidate Elvin Dominici says the Administration’s focus on enforcement is not solving the city’s public safety problem, a problem he calls a “crisis.” Dominici submitted the following opinion article to Hudson TV.
Article: The Jersey City crisis of Public Safety
By Elvin Dominici
Public Safety is an issue that has been affecting Jersey City residents for many years. The current administration has continuously attempted to resolve issues related to public safety by only focusing on enforcement. The fact is that the increased number of police officers throughout the city has not decreased the number of homicides and violent crimes in the area. As of August 2021,, the number of homicides this year already surpassed that from the year 2020.
We are very grateful to the hard work and dedication of the members of the Jersey City Police Department to protect and serve the residents of our city. Most members are officers who try to work closely with grassroots organizations like the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement and community leaders, such as: Frank Gilmore, Chris Gadsden, and Shawn Bruce. They are working to improve community relations, increase public safety, and address many of the challenges impacting our city. Unfortunately, they are only limited to the amount of support they can get from the administration and members of the city council.
The current administration and their handpicked council members are very basic in their approach to public safety and have a lack of vision that could make an actual difference. They ignore long-term solutions for quick fixes that make good headlines in the news or social media posts. However, they are missing at the table where grassroots organizations, community leaders, and law enforcement are having the difficult discussions to truly make a difference.
Even when violence hits close to home, they could care less about being bothered for the safety and wellbeing of members of our community. Where were the city’s “leaders” when bullets riddled windows at the city hall annex a few weeks ago? Thankfully, it occurred after hours with nobody in the offices but there was no call, no email, no communication from the administration to show empathy or appreciation for workers in the annex.
As your next councilperson, I will be actively involved with all parties to find realistic strategies to improve public safety in our local communities. One of my first steps will be to meet with grassroots organizations, community leaders, police officers, and city workers to review the municipal budget, along with all departmental budgets, to find opportunities to improve programming and public safety. This includes finding opportunities to fund an Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery, similar to the office launched in Newark, NJ.
This office will not only improve public safety; it will provide opportunities to support residents dealing with generational trauma that sometimes leads to crime and violence in local communities. This includes providing opportunities for families impacted by the criminal justice system and substance use disorders. Along with this, I will work with our partners in the Jersey City Public Schools to find more opportunities for the city to fund programs that provide recreation, mentoring, counseling, arts, job training, etc. to children throughout the city.
At the JCPD union forum where all candidates had an opportunity to express their political platforms and vision of our city to get the police union political endorsement. I was speechless to hear the mayor Steven Fulop and his rubber stamp council members say:” the minority African American candidates (Frank Educational Gilmore & Chris Gadsden) wanted to defund the Jersey City Police department”. This same comment has been repeated at the Blacks in Law Enforcement Serving the Community (BLESC). If a lie is repeated enough, it becomes a narrative of the truth.
We are living in a time that the virus of racial hate in the United States has no cure or vaccine and to see a white mayor calling African American candidates, they want to dismantle the police department is dangerous. This is a comparable situation when ex-president Donald Trump said, “the presidential elections were rigged and called for his followers to protest in our city capitol”. We know how this encouragement of an unreasonable president has created the worst day in democracy in the United States.
It is important to have municipal representation that will be accountable to local residents and the issues impacting them on a daily basis. I will pride myself in working with you and all parties to bring long-term solutions to help current and future generations of Jersey City residents. I look forward to serving as your next councilperson-at-large to bring affordability, accountability, and accessibility to city government.