Last Saturday, Hoboken United held its Citizen Transition Team meeting on Public Safety. While recognizing Hoboken is generally a safe city, there was real concern about how the Hoboken Police Department interacts with the public. Many of the comments indicated that such feelings of mistreatment stem from a lack of connection between cops and residents.
Throughout Hoboken, and especially in the Housing Authority, the police and the community have become disengaged, working independent of each other. The police, the incoming administration and community members must address this concern and work in concert to enhance the quality of life. In other cities, like Chicago and Sacramento, community policing strategies reduce neighborhood crime by encouraging collaborative efforts that result in creative problem solving and improved rapport between the police and the public.
Adding more police to the "problem areas" of town will not solve the dilemma of disconnectedness. Instead the officers that are currently serving should be better trained and made more accessible, perhaps by parking their squad cars and spending most of their duty on foot. And wouldn't it be great if the officers knew which kids belonged to which parents? By assigning police to neighborhood areas they can build mutual trust and foster respect within the community. Such practices would lower crime rates while fostering open-communication and a vitally important exchange of ideas between the police and the people they protect.