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As Asbury Park Continues to Struggle with Gang Violence, Let’s Look At What’s Being Done To Stop It

Asbury Park is a beachfront city located on the Jersey Shore in Monmouth County in New Jersey, United States of America. It is geographically a part of the New York metropolitan area. The Monmouth County is no stranger to gang violence and violent shootouts, with Asbury Park and Neptune being the most active geographic areas. Occasionally other residential areas like Long Branch also experience these violent outbursts, making the security of the residents a big concern.

Violence, Threatened Businesses, and Innocent Killings 

Locals, through various media interviews and articles, have expressed that the reason behind the never-ending gang violence in these areas is due to the branching of violent gangs amongst the residents. Membership is handed out through associations. These violent gangs often target the friends, relatives, and even children of already existing members. In addition to this, any individual that they have known through previous contact (which mostly happens to be previous inmates who served jail time with gang members) are also webbed into this vicious circle. These gangs have also been found guilty of influencing the younger generation of the city by handing out guns and other weaponry, to ensure that their members keep increasing.

According to Sgt Michael Casey, spokesperson for the Asbury Park Police Department, most of the city’s crime not only include public shootings, but also robberies, distribution of narcotics, and aggravated assaults, with some victims losing their lives due to these assaults. On a larger scale, these gangs are also proven to actively participate in property related crimes like shoplifting. It has been reported that these gangs have active shoplifting rings/groups that keep a watch on (and target) local businesses outside of Asbury Park. According to police reports, the most active area of the city is the south of Asbury Avenue.

 

Resistance, Action, and Reinstating Law 

Few residents who have been brave enough to speak out have also claimed that the reason why these crimes continue to happen is because of compliance. A lot of people who witness/experience crimes at the hands of these gangs are either threatened to stay silent, or they choose to keep their silence. A lot of residents do not wish to jeopardize the security of their family and loved ones and thus they keep silent.

In order to combat these gangs, the authorities have taken every possible measure in the book. According to local reports, the detective bureau works closely with the Gang Task Force at the prosecutor’s office to eliminate any possible shooting or narcotics trade by gathering and sharing intel on groups that are known to be gang affiliated. Furthermore, technology also been a key player in busting these gang rings. Cameras, automated license plate recognition, and Shot Spotter are used to recognize, target, and eliminate these gangs.

According to more recent police records (mostly from the records of Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office), the year 2023 witnessed a staggering decrease of 90% in non-fatal shootings in the area. However, the residents and authorities of Asbury Park continue to be on high alert since 2023 also saw an increase in the number of fatal shootings by over 60%.

However, the authorities of Asbury Park have assured the residents that necessary action is underway. The prosecutor has also come forward with confidence that the collaboration of Major Crimes and Forensic Bureau with the Asbury Park and Neptune police departments is bound to restore the security of the city. The collaboration of these departments, in addition to the satellite office in Asbury Park has significantly contributed to the investigation of authorities in recognizing the active criminal units of the city and bringing them to justice.

The authorities have also expressed their gratitude towards the residents who come forward and provide information about these gangs/criminal activities. The crime tips received by the department has not only helped the authorities in prosecuting these gangs, but it has also created a sense of community in Asbury Park. A community that is willing to fight back against crime.

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