Consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in New Jersey, the crime on our streets has been more than ever on the minds of residents. In an effort to continue the discussion already underway in our community I will be sharing a few ideas that have helped me better grasp the issue as well as suggesting some possible actions. In a series of three letters I will address the fundamental underpinnings of crime, enforcement, and how to better support our community members.
Aristotle said, “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” To understand our crime issue, we must first understand the devastating role poverty plays in our community. The socio-economic and emotional impacts of poverty directly correlate with insufficient family and community support. This absence of adequate support limits options and makes it near impossible for our young people to succeed.
The Center for Disease Control publishes risk and protective factors for youth violence. The risk factors, such as low parental income and diminished economic opportunity, read like a laundry list of Asbury Park’s problems. Poverty not only increases the risk factors but also decreases protective ones. Our youth live in broken homes, substandard housing, and without basic services like simple healthcare. As a result many turn to gangs for protection, financial opportunity, and a sense of belonging. This American Life did a two-part special on Harper High School (part I & part II) in Chicago that illustrates the lack of options for poor minority youth in urban areas like Asbury Park. For too many, gang involvement and violence are a given, not a choice.
We often complain about the leftist slant of the mainstream media here at MMM. However, now is a time for those of us who live and do business at the Jersey Shore to say thank you in advance, and least to Comcast’s NBC properties.
NBC’s Today Show is broadcasting from Highlands on Saturday morning (Hint for Greg, put that on the list.) and 300 Comcast and Sherman Williams employees will volunteer to help Highlands business and homeowners rebuild their properties.
On Monday the 29th, MSNBC’s Morning Joe will broadcast from the Fifth Avenue Pavilion in Asbury Park, according to a report on Asbury Pulp.
It’s not just a problem of attracting ‘bennies’ to come back with their money. A few weeks back, a local elected official called me to ask for a recommendation for a Highlands restaurant on the water to hold an event. For years his group gathered at Bahrs. Where can he go on the water now that Bahrs is closed? “Bahrs Landing is Still Standing“, I told my friend.
This kind of news coverage does not happen by accident. I’d bet Christie’s team had something to do with it happening. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him appear on his two favorite morning shows. I’d love to see him in Highlands on Saturday morning, but I would guess he’s more likely to hang with Mika and Joe on Monday. Maybe he will bring his bff Bruce with him.