Citizen Convoys Take on Jersey Crime

Volunteers cruise Newark streets to deter thugs
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2009 4:40 AM CDT
Newark Mayor Corey Booker, left, and Public Safety Director Anthony Campos speak to volunteers prior to the start of a citizen anti-crime caravan this week.   (AP Photo/Christopher Barth)
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(Newser) – Volunteer convoys have been cruising Newark's roughest streets over the last month in an effort to cut crime rates and fly the flag for law enforcement. Citizens taking part in the "Crime Caravan" program hit the streets in packs of vehicles that resemble crime response units, led by off-duty officers flashing their emergency lights.

Critics say the program is a political gimmick and could put volunteers in danger. But Mayor Cory Booker, who created the program, says it's all about letting people know the law still holds in Newark. "The caravan gives people a sense of strength and security," he told AP. "They let criminals know we're taking the city back."