Investigation into Newark crime

The Investigators on Eyewitness News on WABC-TV New York

March 21, 2013 1:48:19 PM PDT
An exclusive Eyewitness News investigation: Residents and business owners in a neighborhood in Newark are claiming they're under siege by crime.

It didn't take Reporter Sarah Wallace long to find crime victims who say police are ignoring their pleas for more protection.

Newark police promised us an interview and then backed out. What's important to note is that residents and storeowners reached out to us. Many people we spoke with have been victims of recent crimes themselves, or they know someone who's been robbed or mugged, terrorized is how they describe it.

Newark officials proudly point to the Prudential Center and NJ PAC as symbols of the downtown re-vitalization, but a mile north on Broadway, It's a world away.

Boarded-up apartments, vacant stores. Those still there are looking to get out.

"I'm so afraid," said Dina Dabon.

Dabon was mugged on a recent day at the furniture store she's owned for 30 years. She didn't think anything of the man lurking outside on a cell phone, there are so many now hanging out on Broadway near 7th Avenue.

"He hit me here to grab my chain, I screamed, he ran away and a car was waiting for him," he said.

Angel Pando's face tells us his story-bruised and battered. He says he was jumped from behind by a group of men as he walked home, kicked in the face, and robbed.

"I have no idea who they are, who these people are," he said.

Sarah Wallace: "Just out of nowhere they just attacked you?"

Padno: "Yes"

Sarah: "They took your wallet?"

Padno: Yes, my wallet and my credit cards."

He says he was lucky they didn't kill him, so is another woman who was also recently attacked, but was too terrified to show her face.

"He told me this is a hold up and he grabbed my purse. He had a black gun," she said.

The robber and an accomplice, wearing masks, got away and now, like so many there, she is living in fear, trying to move out.

Business owners say they are paying the price.

"They're afraid to come down. (Business) is 30-40 percent down," said George Guerrero.

Newark Police Department says it's responded to community complaints in January with roving patrols, but the crime rate is up since the same time last year. "One of the things we did last year during the Spring and Summer months is we had a program with foot patrols there on a daily basis, and we had a mobile command center setup in the block and it was really productive," said Samuel DeMaio, Newark Police Director.

Sarah Wallace: "Why was that taken away?"

DeMaio: "Different times of year our resources need to be allocated in different places,".

Foot patrols are said to be started up again next month.



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