Curfew crackdown in Newark

An Eyewitness News Exclusive
September 3, 2009 3:43:29 PM PDT
New Jersey's largest city is trying to stop violent crime that seems to be thriving. The latest effort is a crackdown on a little enforced 11:00 p.m. curfew.

It was another busy night in Newark's 4th precinct.

Just two blocks from the station house, a 4 year old girl was caught in the crossfire Tuesday, shoot in front of her home in broad daylight. She's still recovering in the hospital.

Unfortunately, that's not uncommon here. So for Newark police, it's a battle every night to keep people safe.

A big part of that is keeping minors off the streets.

We went along with Officers Robert Graham and Jeff Doherty as they enforced the city's curfew from 11:00 at night to 5:30 in the morning.

Winding through some of the most dangerous streets in the city, they look for anyone under 18.

"A weapon, you might see them reaching for. We will chase them on foot," Officer Doherty said.

Within minutes, we found a young man walking by himself in a known drug area. He said he was going to his cousin's house.

That didn't matter to the officers. It's 1:30 in the morning.

He was from neighboring Irvington, so Officers Graham and Doherty drove him home to his aunt. No parents in the picture. That, they say, is a big problem here.

Over the next few hours, there were several others stopped. A teen was on his way to a girlfriend's house. He was 18.

Another boy, only 15, saw us and made a break for it. He was one block away from home when we caught up with him.

It was a first offense, so the officers took some information from him and then took him home.

When they arrived, no one was home, so officer graham used his own cell phone to call the boy's mom.

She was in New York. The teen, who had his first day of school just hours away, was let in the house by his grandfather.

At the end of another 8 hour tour, these two veterans come up with the same conclusion -- a lack of parental supervision is the main problem.

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