TRENTON (WPVI) --With warmer weather on the way, Trenton police say they're beefing up their foot patrols. It's all part of an attempt to cut back on crime and violence.
"It is astonishing and unsettling to me and to other law abiding citizens that some of our young people can be so brutal," Mayor Eric Jackson said.
Moved by a series of recent shootings, including the homicide of a 16-year-old girl, Mayor Jackson joined various officials at the corner of Walnut and Monmouth Wednesday to announce the early activation of the city's summer initiative: stepped up police patrols in crime-ridden neighborhoods.
"Every individual officer within the Trenton Police Department regardless of their duty, regardless of the rank, will don the uniform and will be put out on the street," Trenton Police Director Ernie Parrey said.
The focus will be on community policing. Cops are asking the public to be part of controlling crime and violence by reporting it either through tip lines, crimestoppers or a new feature on the Trenton police website called "My Block." All tips can be confidential and anonymous.
"The real winners are the people who pick up the phone who try to stop a problem before it happens and people who see people doing things and pick up the phone and make that call," Trenton High School Principal Hope Grant said.
Police say parents should know what their kids are doing and with whom.
"Some of them are lost, some of them are confused. They're turning to the wrong voices and the wrong people to get guidance. It has to start at home," Crystal Feliciano of the Boys & Girls Club said.
Some residents welcome the focus on stepped-up patrols.
"I think it's a good idea because there's been too many killings going on in this neighborhood and other neighborhoods," Trenton resident Ella Nolan said.
Despite the recent shootings in Trenton, police say homicides and violent crime are down. But that's cold comfort to the family of Ciony Kirkman, the 16-year-old girl shot in the head April 24 in a stolen van.
"I can't even put that into words, that should not have happened, it should not have happened," uncle Errick Wiggins said.