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With the many transitions in Trenton's public offices, public safety remains a constant concern of the citizenry. Accessibility to policy makers, inclusion in the policy making process, and increasing public awareness of existing programs and policies that ensure the ability of those who live, work, and play in the city are needed. Many are still getting to know the new mayor and police director. They desire transparency and understanding in policies such as the Trenton Violence Reduction Strategy - how the program works, its merits, and how neighborhoods can assist in this endeavor. 

Reducing recidivism is a win-win for taxpayers, those reentering society, and the community at large. The citizens coming home face steep challenges, especially women who are trying to piece together their families and men who are steeply in arrears for child support because they were unaware that that they could apply for a "freeze" during sentencing. With time served, securing employment is difficult and thus the door is open to restart a cycle of violence.

At The Citizens Campaign Power Hour, hosted by the Living Hope Empowerment Center, several civically minded citizens met to share their knowledge and discuss possible solutions to public safety issues. With the mindset of finding and adapting evidence-based model programs and policies for Trenton, here are the top seven topics covered:

  • To increase police presence and community relations, Perth Amboy brought on auxiliary officers that live within in the community. 

  • Newark, NJ has adopted its own Ban the Box Ordinance to help those seeking work. 

  • With touch points to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has provided guidance in a 2013 letter that helps address the issue of job seekers with a criminal background.  

  • New Jersey has a Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit that can be utilized by many residents. 

  • In Trenton, the Mercer Reentry Task Force is building its capacity to better serve reentering citizens. 

  • Laborers International offers job training and several other resources. 

  • The US Department of Justice has a database of evidence-based model programs that can be altered to meet Trenton's needs.