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(From Chris Sykes, Staff Writer, Essex News Daily)
In response to the recent rash of shootings in the city, Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren announced a 10 p.m. citywide curfew Sept. 15, for unaccompanied minors and juveniles under the age of 18.
Warren also announced, as a result of the shootings, there would be an increase in police traffic stops, check points and camera surveillance.

According to Reggie Miller, who runs the Male Student Support Program out of the Orange Preparatory Academy for the Orange Public Schools and other sources in the city, “Four people got shot four days in a row in Orange — Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, and Monday night,” from Sept. 11 to 14.

The last shooting on Monday, Sept. 14, also turned out to be Orange’s fourth homicide of 2015. Mazo F. Jones, 37, of East Orange, was killed on Park Street, right down the street from the Orange Police Department headquarters. Warren responded to the shootings and the homicides by imposing the new curfew.

But some in Orange think Warren’s timing could have been better.
East Ward Councilman Kerry Coley, a retired Orange Police officer who spent more than 20 years patrolling the city’s streets, said the curfew should have come sooner.

“I expressed myself at the council meeting that we should not be held hostage for the mayor to give his public address,” Coley said Tuesday, Sept. 22. “He had all day that day to make an announcement. He did not have to do it at 7 p.m. at the start of the City Council meeting. For someone to say the administration was working out legalities and that’s why they had to wait so long for him to make his announcement, I’m not buying it. What legalities they’re talking about? I have no idea.”

Coley also said he has serious questions about the effectiveness of Warren’s curfew.

“The only thing I can say about the curfew is that, if you look at the incidents when they happen, they are happening during broad daylight,” Coley said. “So it seems like a curfew against juveniles that are not being targeted and are not committing these crimes makes no sense. These are adults that are committing these crimes, so how is it going to be effective to impose a curfew on juveniles?”

Coley said that, like others, he is disturbed by the recent surge in gun-related crimes in Orange, but feels the curfew is not the answer.

“This recent surge in crime is not related to our juvenile population,” Coley said. “These are adults that are committing these crimes. And the problem lies with the lack of police manpower that has not been addressed over the last three-and a half to four years. Our lack of police manpower has not been addressed.”

City Council Vice President Elroy Corbitt said he is hoping the curfew will do some good. During his time on the council, he has made public safety, crime fighting and saving young lives priorities by holding forums and other events in which law enforcement official from various agencies participated, including the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey State Police.

Right now, Corbitt said the city is in crisis mode regarding the recent spate of shootings, and an adequate response to them must be found, including trying out the new curfew.

“The city of Orange has never in its history experienced the rash of gun violence we have witnessed in recent weeks,” Corbitt said on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

“Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of those in authority to react and do what we can to bring a screeching halt to the senseless gun violence that has dominated streets. The curfew will hopefully help, but it is not the solution.”

Corbitt agreed with Coley that it appears gun violence “hasn’t discriminated in its choice to happen during broad daylight or night time.” He said this means the entire city has “to do more.”

“I’m confident that our acting police director, John Wade, with the assistance of the county and federal government, will do what has to be done to make the streets of Orange safe,” Corbitt said. “Residents are very concerned and so am I.”

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