Stanley Holmes Village residents were angry with Atlantic City police and officials at a meeting Tuesday night about recent violence there. Police and officials responded by asking for residents’ help.
Resident Davon Brown left the meeting several times out of frustration.
“This is a bunch of crock. They keep saying ‘if.’ Are you serious? If? I’m scared. I’m to the point where I’m sleeping down down,” she said, indicating the floor. “These kids are really killing each other. It’s getting worse.”
Brown has three children, and she wants them safe. She said her 12-year-old daughter is constantly nervous.
“My baby’s shook. She’s shaking from all the shootings,” Brown said, one day after the fatal shooting of Zachary Taylor.
Members of the Atlantic City Police Department and Atlantic City Housing Authority took questions from about 40 residents. Mayor Lorenzo Langford, 3rd Ward Councilman Steven Moore and police Chief Ernest Jubilee attended.
Stanley Holmes maintenance supervisor Robert Herring suggested an increased police presence.
“You need officers out walking around,” he said. “Two guys is not going to work. Three guys is not going to work. You need at least eight guys, 24 hours a day, so the people know you’re there.”
Police Capt. Tim Friel agreed, but said residents need to report crimes.
“I can’t agree with you more: A constant presence is the answer,” he said. “On top of that, we need your help. You speak the truth. ...
“When we respond, we first go to the scene to render aid to someone who may have been shot. That’s our primary focus. But as we’re arriving, if we’re receiving phone calls ... that’s giving us a little more information about who we’re looking for.”
Friel said a decreased police force, with 330 officers, minimizes their capabilities.
“We are relegated, at 330, to a truly reactive police department,” he said.
One resident questioned the Housing Authority representatives about broken security cameras. Another resident, Patricia Taylor, said groups of bicycle riders have been casing Stanley Holmes.
“I sit on my porch, and I see all these thugs on the bikes,” she said. “We noticed the bikes about three weeks ago. They go no further than here, then they circle.”
She said that during Monday night’s shooting, she took her whole family upstairs to try to avoid stray bullets.
“I was just getting ready to go upstairs when I heard the shots,” she said. “Now I’m afraid to go in my living room. At about 6:30, I made everyone go upstairs.”
Moore applauded the community meeting and urged residents to provide information to police.
“This is what we need, for the community to come together,” he said. “We have to come together. The police can’t do it alone. We can’t do it alone. We have to do it together. If you hear something, don’t figure that somebody else is going to do it. Say, ‘I’m going to do it because it needs to be done. Because I’m a good neighbor.’”
Langford echoed that sentiment, asking residents to pass information along to someone.
“If you’re uncomfortable with the police, understand that you have other options,” he said. “Give it to me. Give it to the police. Give it to the peace keepers. Give it to somebody.”
Jubilee said he needs the help of residents.
“The residents are fed up,” he said. “They’re tired of the way that crime is out in the open in their area, and they want something done about it. But what was explained to the residents was that we cannot do it by ourselves. We need the help of residents to address crime, and that’s the bottom line.”
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