Cory Booker Watch

With the exception of a recent case on Tuesday, murders are down in Newark:

It had been 43 days without a killing in Newark: no late-night calls to rush to homicide scenes in hopes of finding witnesses before they disappeared, no new crush of paperwork. After a year that tested the squad of 11 investigators with 99 homicides, including last summer’s high-profile killings of three college students in a schoolyard, Sergeant Arroyo and his colleagues were catching their breath in the longest stretch without a killing since before the 1967 riots.

They pored over old cases and made new arrests as Lt. William Brady scheduled long-delayed out-of-town training sessions.

“People are seeing their families more,” Lieutenant Brady said. Sgt. Darnell Henry waved two unopened envelopes and said he was almost caught up with old bills.

. . .

During the lull in homicides, other measures of violent crime have also fallen, including shootings and rapes, though assaults are up, according to the Police Department. Last year, there had been 13 murders in Newark by Feb. 26; this year, Mr. Thomas’s murder is the third, officials said.

“There is hope in the city of Newark,” Mayor Cory A. Booker said at a news conference Wednesday. “Our city is one of the pace setters in our nation for turning around the violent crime problem.”

Mr. Booker, who has staked his political future on making the city safer, ticked off a list of new initiatives that he credits with reducing crime: a fugitive apprehension project, a unified narcotics squad, a hot line for tips, more police officers on the street and the renewed embrace of New York City’s Compstat system.

The police director, Garry F. McCarthy, has pointed to other factors as well, saying the drop in homicides could be tied to a sharp increase in arrests, including the arrests in January of several gang members, a result of the department’s new collaboration with federal law enforcement agencies.

“We are seeing the result of all that work, and all that activity,” Mr. Booker said. “The trend line is heading in the right direction.”

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