Jersey City Police Car

Continuing a rash of recent shootings in Jersey City, police are investigating a series of gunshots fired last night in the Downtown neighborhood of Van Vorst Park. The apparent upsurge in gunfire and related injuries has been met with silence at City Hall.

The shooting last night took place next to 325 Monmouth Street just before 11 p.m. Police could be seen placing evidence markers where approximately ten spent shell casings were found.

Two men were seen running onto Brunswick Street in the direction of Montgomery Street. According to radio reports, the police were interviewing a witness to the shooting.

A police officer at the scene said he had yet to determine where the shooter was aiming.

The gunfire last night follows two shootings on Tuesday. One shooting at Triangle Park in Greenville, in which a man was hit in the back was reported by The Jersey City Times.

The Jersey City Times has since learned that earlier that evening, at approximately 5:45 p.m., a man was shot in the leg at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Van Nostrand Avenue.

The increase in shootings Downtown reflects a geographic expansion of gun violence in the city. In August, a wild shootout in the Downtown Powerhouse Arts District involving approximately 30 gunshots elicited a “a detailed email” from the mayor about steps the city would take to investigate the incident.

On December 1, a shootout near the 99 Ranch Market Downtown, left two youths wounded.

A police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity said “I’ve never seen this much shooting in my life. It’s mind boggling.”

— Keeping crime data secret has allowed the administration to advance a narrative on crime at odds with the reality and leaves the public uninformed. —

Like many cities, Jersey City has experienced an increase in homicides. With 23 so far this year, the number will exceed the yearly average of 21 under both Mayors Fulop and Healy. Last year, there were 16 homicides.

Police Officers Searching for Shell Casings in Jersey City
Police officers searching for shell casings last night

However, the full extent of the recent apparent upswing in gun violence in Jersey City is unknown. While the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office reports on homicides, non-fatal shootings and “lesser” crimes such as aggravated assaults, shootings, robberies and rapes are not made public by Jersey City. The data is only available from the F.B.I. months after the end of the year in which it occurred.

Jersey City had published monthly CompStat data but in June of 2019, stopped. This was in spite of Mayor Fulop’s pledge that city’s police department would be the “most transparent police department that there is.”  New York City, in contrast, publishes weekly CompStat reports on a wide variety of crime, including shootings, and puts the numbers in historical context.

Keeping crime data secret has allowed the administration to advance a narrative on crime often at odds with the reality. In May of this year, The Jersey City Times published a detailed report on crime in Jersey City using FBI statistics. The report showed that crime had risen during the mayor’s first six years in office. The report and its underlying data undermined the mayor’s claim that his administration had brought about “historic” improvements on the crime front.

The mayor’s spokesperson has not responded to The Jersey City Times’s requests for comment.

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....