ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – A non-partisan public and private partnership has been established between the Atlantic County Prosecutors Office, Atlantic City Police Department, the Atlantic City Casino At-Risk Initiative, and local businesses.
Atlantic City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz and Chief James Sarkos of the ACPD have brought these stakeholders together multiple times over the last five weeks to address quality-of-life crimes on the streets and in the businesses of Atlantic City. This group has cited a number of interrelated problems including drug addiction, mental health, retail theft rings, shoplifting, panhandling, and the illegal use of ATVs. Through these efforts, ACPO and its partners have identified a significant number of people who are continually committing these offenses. Many of them have been engaged by the ACPD and social services dozens of times and have been unable or unwilling to access any help or treatment.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, municipal courts were not permitted to issue warrants when such offenders failed to appear at court. As of May 22, 2022, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), now permits the issuance of warrants in Municipal Court.
These lower-level quality of life crimes create a sense of lawlessness on the streets in our communities. ACPO and its partners collectively recognize that this lawlessness and lack of accountability has wide-ranging and long-last impacts on a community. It can lead to greater and more violent crimes such as the Atlantic City shooting on July 12, 2022, in broad daylight, wherein the shooter was only thirteen (13) years old. This is a very sad testament to the current situation in our communities.
Prosecutor William Reynolds stated: “We are hitting the streets to address this culture which has been created during the pandemic and the courts’ inability to issue warrants and hold these persons accountable. This conduct and behavior will no longer be accepted or tolerated. We recognize and are addressing the importance of the Quality-of-Life issues in Atlantic County.”
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at www.acpo.org/forms/tips-crime-reporting/ and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at www.crimestoppersatlantic.com. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.