Asbury Park needs media attention, U.S. Attorney’s assistance

Tommy DeSeno1By Tommy DeSeno

What helps a city fight crime? Media attention. Crime fighters don’t wish to be seen losing in the media.

Asbury Park’s gun crimes and murders get less television attention than other cities because it’s small and far from New York and Philadelphia. News 12 has to cover the state. The responsibility for keeping attention on unsolved murders in Asbury Park falls then on the Asbury Park Press.

Regarding Asbury Park killings, we’ve seen the Monmouth County prosecutor blame the city police, the county prosecutor make no progress himself and everyone blame the City Council. It was announced last week that state troopers will patrol the city, but car patrols lend themselves mostly to traffic tickets.

Left out of the conversation thus far is a very important crime fighter — U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. He is a well-schooled, honorable lawyer who has spent his career fighting crime, including a concentration on illegal narcotics, the antecedent problem that leads to gangs and murder.

Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie built a legacy of putting corrupt politicians in jail. Former U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani prosecuted organized crime. Fishman can have a more honorable distinction than both of them — saving young lives and removing fear from a community.

Nationwide, the U.S. Attorney’s office has a nearly $2 billion budget, and New Jersey’s district is the fifth largest in America, with 145 lawyers and support staff. Fishman has resources. More importantly, he wields an effective crime-fighting law: The Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations statute (RICO).

RICO was designed to eliminate gangs. Gangs involved in organized crime once had a tradition called “omerta,” which is a code of silence. If someone was caught in a crime, he would not give up his co-conspirators. He would serve his short prison term on some small charge, but the higher-ups in the organization were protected. Asbury Park suffers from an omerta problem — no one will talk to police about who is doing the killing.

After it was passed in 1970, RICO wiped out omerta. Now, when a low-level person connected to an organization (Bloods or Latin Kings as local examples) is caught in a crime, prosecution under RICO elevates the prison time to 20 years for each qualifying count, and assets subject to forfeiture are seized pre-trial. All a prosecutor needs to do is convince a defendant he can be tied to two counts totaling 40 years in prison and his life is over then and there. Facing that prospect, the toughest of criminals have sung like canaries.

There is a prophylactic method of crime fighting that Fishman can use in Asbury Park: An information blitz that he is here and using RICO. In crime as in medicine, prevention is favorable to a cure.

Fishman should hold assemblies in the Asbury Park middle and high schools and alert city youth that he is here, using RICO, and his goal is to put criminals in jail, not for a period of years, but for the rest of their lives. Some will be afraid, but most relieved. He should tell them to spread the word to their older siblings and their friends.

Signs and billboards should be erected throughout the city that the area is under surveillance for RICO prosecutions. Mailings can be used. Fliers can be posted in West Side businesses and throughout public housing.

Tom Huth of the Monmouth Prosecutor’s Office stated last month that 80 percent of Asbury Park’s violence is caused by 20 people. The state keeps gang surveys and the local police know the members. Fishman can round them up for meetings. He can explain RICO to them and let them know that his goal is to ruin their lives forever for involvement in gang-related crimes, no matter how young they are. He should tell them they’d better come to him with what they know because if he has to find them first, it’ll be too late for them.

Then he should actually do the investigation. Asbury Park is concrete and sand, so no drugs are grown here with little, if any, manufactured here, and there are no gun stores. His investigation can lead to the bigger fish supplying the city.

It’s understood that U.S. Attorneys are expected to curb white-collar crimes, which reap millions of dollars in forfeited money and property. Arrests in bigger cities draw more media attention, but an honorable man like Fishman would trade it all to stop the killing of teenagers and young adults. Morality compels the priority.

The constant death of young men in Asbury Park is a problem that is real, it’s raw and Asbury Park awaits Fishman’s repair of it.


Posted: December 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park, Crime, Crime and Punishment | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

4 Comments on “Asbury Park needs media attention, U.S. Attorney’s assistance”

  1. Its about time said at 9:26 pm on December 8th, 2013:

    Asbury Park is no doubt the murder and crime capital of Monmouth County. With the current renaissance going on, there is an urgent need to stamp out this crime so tourists and real estate speculators continue to invest and improve the town.

    I thought it was politically unwise of the prosecutor to blame the chief for all that ails Asbury Park. The chief is a professional police officer who has worked his way up the ranks of the APPD. The complaining prosecutor is nothing but a political friend and appointee of the governor dating back to the US Attorney’s office. If his criticism was a technique to motivate the police of Asbury Park–he miserably failed. It probably had the opposite effect on morale as well as employing aggressive crime strategies.

    Where was the three elected officials representing Asbury Park? They have been representing that town for over two-years and have failed to get the very same media attention that you advocate. They’re all Republicans who could easily get the ear of the governor–and could have easily called the governor for state police to assist the understaffed APPD.

    As for Mr. Fishman—why doesn’t the governor put the pressure on Fishman– just as he did the Atlantic City mayor??

    Believe me, when the governor wants something done–he gets it done. Is it politically expedient not to get the state police involved because there is a democratic mayor at the helm??

  2. no money said at 10:39 pm on December 8th, 2013:

    Problem with sending more police to AP is there is no money in doing so. Easier to write traffic tickets in a white neighborhood or along an interstate. And then what, the police go to AP to investigate gangs, make arrests and “the community” decides the police are racist and sue, which the tax payers defend and pay out? “The community” won’t turn in their own. And the the corrections department works more OT to babysit these fatherless black thugs only to release them back to the streets days/weeks/months later with “prison cred”?

    We’d all be better off if a raging fire swept through the entire city and the land was declared a state park for the piping plovers. I blame all of the white hipsters who think its cool to hang out on cookman ave they just make the situation worse by providing just barely enough money to AP for He last few folks to hold out hope there. Burn it all down already.

  3. They already did that once, said at 12:48 pm on December 9th, 2013:

    back in the late 60’s/early 70’s, which put them largely in the mess they were in, and continually are in, now!.. having lived at the Shore my entire life, I know it absolutely chased the working and long- established neighborhoods and families out of there- who ran to Interlaken, Deal, Allenhurst,Ocean Twp., Wall, etc..it chased all major, successful businesses, chains, etc., out to the mall, and Red Bank, and other, safer, hinterlands,too.. it closed the lovely theaters and hotels, which became crack houses or empty lots…. it is a disgrace, also, when one actually looks to see the SIZE of their muni budget, for the actual size of their population/size,which is now what, $25 mil?.. for what??.. and, I believe that doesn’t even include the $ MILLIONS that is spent on those largely failing schools, after-school babysitting, plus all the “free” programs, one can go on and on: I am also frankly sick and tired of most of the electeds pretending to care, and just continually giving away more money, basically throwing it at a major, cultural, societal problem, in the interest of some kind of “concern,” or “equality,” while NOT requiring personal responsibility/ measurement of any successes, for all that spending, in return for the hard- earned dollars of all who continue to be taxed out of this blasted state.. unless and until there is some kind of standard of return in behavioral change, performance and results, like: if this program doesn’t work, then STOP renewing the funding for it!- for the tons of money that is sent there, this mess will absolutely never change.. and then, the so- called “renewal” of that once beautiful little city will also dry up-again: who wants to go to “Moonstruck” for dinner, for example,only to be hit by a stray bullet, on the way home??

  4. bill said at 5:17 pm on December 9th, 2013:

    @no money – What a sad person with no soul or heart you must be.