ATLANTIC CITY — Marina District residents packed a town hall meeting Friday, searching for answers and pledging to work together after three homicides in nine days rocked their community.
More than 50 people gathered at Brigantine Homes Community Center to discuss public safety with neighbors and top city and law-enforcement officials.
“This meeting is about solutions, where do we go from here?” City Council President Marty Small said.
Small, a 2nd Ward councilman and mayoral candidate, organized the event.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said there have been 11 homicides in the county since Jan. 1, with nine in Atlantic City and only two having been solved.
“I see the power to stop all of this,” Tyner said. “Murder has no statute of limitations. … We owe it to those families that are left behind to understand what happened to their loved ones.”
The resounding theme during the two-hour afternoon meeting was the idea of working together to stop the killing, now and in the future.
The meeting drew people from all over the city, not just those from the 2nd Ward or the Back Maryland neighborhood.
Police Chief Henry White encouraged the crowd to continue to come forward with information and to act on what they see.
White outlined steps the Police Department is taking, such as increasing visibility and patrols.
“Enough is enough,” White said. “We’re going to do what we have to do to ensure that this neighborhood is safe.”
Some people asked for police substations in the area or to see officers on foot patrol. White said the department plans to have more frequent trips for officers, enhance the use of cameras and have an “aggressive” police presence.
Other measures to be added include “slow rolls,” police driving slowly through neighborhood streets to patrol; a park and ride, where officers will park patrol cars and ride through neighborhoods on bikes; and license-plate readers on cars.
Some residents called for community liaisons for police. Second Ward resident Wadiyah Jones said she didn’t want to see aggression from the Police Department and depends more on the neighborhood to keep a watchful eye.
She said some of the problems might involve people who don’t live in the neighborhood and fears wrongful probes into homes could do more damage than good.
“To me, it sounds like we’re getting ready to be in trouble for something that we had nothing to do with,” she said. “We need to teach our neighborhood.”
Tyner stressed it’s up to the residents to help officials solve the crimes.
The event included FBI Supervisory Special Agent Ed Gallant, of the Atlantic City Resident Agency. He said that while the FBI often works behind the scenes, it needs the people to continue speaking up about what they see.
Law-enforcement officials stressed the necessity of calling 911 when people see or know about a problem, to text information using tip411 or to download the ACPD TIP app to submit anonymous information.
The three recent killings in Atlantic City are:
• David Blackwell Jr., 31, of Hammonton, fatally shot 10:15 p.m. May 5 in the 800 block of North Virginia Avenue
• Anthony A. Jordan, 28, of Atlantic City, found dead after a shooting 5:30 a.m. May 11 in a parked car in the 1000 block of Brigantine Boulevard
• Keith Cundiff Jr., 32, of North Virginia Avenue, found shot to death just before 3 p.m. May 14, Mother’s Day, in the 800 block of North Maryland Avenue.
Lorin Wright, 31, of Ohio Avenue, is charged in Cundiff’s killing.
No arrests have been made in the other cases.