Mayor Douglas H. Palmer believes that surrounding municipalities in Mercer County have looked the other way when it comes to the burgeoning gang problem that has begun to make its presence felt in Ewing lately in the form of gang-related shootings.
“It’s a crying shame that now that this is going to suburban areas, that it is coming to the attention of people that should have been concerned a long time ago,” said Mayor Palmer, in a statement in the New York Times. “For years, a lot of municipalities in the area have literally put their head in their sand and pretended it didn’t exist.”
But many Trentonians blame Mayor Palmer himself for ostrich-like activities when gangs first took root in the capital city during his mayoral tenure in the 1990s.
While Mayor Palmer casts blame on the surrounding communities for ignoring the problem, for years Trenton residents, politicians, and law enforcement officials have blamed Mayor Palmer for years of ignoring the gang problem as it was growing during his 17-year reign as mayor.
Officials now estimate Trenton contains 2,000 gang members operating a slew of criminal activities and putting young Trenton residents in body bags in near-record numbers.
It has been said by many officials familiar with the situation that the problem will be addressed more efficiently once more of Trenton’s wealthy neighboring suburbs begin feeling the ill effects of the gangs sitting in their backyard.
Princeton, and Ewing have both had their share of gang warfare, with shootings in residential neighborhoods in Ewing populated by many College of New Jersey students and working class families, and shooting incidents in the John Witherspoon neighborhood located near Princeton Medical Center.
Hopefully suburban municipalities will begin to learn that a healthy Trenton free of gangs means a healthy Mercer County, and hopefully Mayor Palmer and his administration can begin to make some headway into the gang problem plaguing Trenton City.