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Reaching Out to Gang Members in Trenton [AUDIO]

Gang members in New Jersey’s capital city are being tracked down, and then offered job training, an assortment of social services and counseling.

David Matthau, Townsquare Media

It’s part of the Trenton Violence Reduction Strategy initiative.

“The message is simple. We will bend over backwards to help you, however if you want to continue to wage war on the streets of Trenton, we will come at you with everything that we have got, we will find you and we will put you away,” says Acting Attorney General John Hoffman.

He says gang members are being told you can either spend a productive life being proud of that choice and satisfied with your accomplishments, “or you can spend the rest of your life, or at least a significant amount of time whiling away in prison praying to God that you have this opportunity and this choice back,” Hoffman cautioned.

Hoffman adds we cannot ‘arrest’ our way out of the problems in Trenton, which is why the AG’s office is providing over $1 million over the next 3 years for the Trenton Violence Reduction Strategy.

The initiative, developed by the Trenton Police, the Attorney General’s Office, and professors at TCNJ and Rutgers, is based on evidence-based models, such as Ceasefire and Project Safe Neighborhoods that have proven to be successful.

Hoffman also says beefed-up State Police patrols in Trenton’s most dangerous neighborhoods, and a “no plea-deal” approach for criminal suspects caught carrying guns will continue indefinitely.

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