Although Mayor Corey Booker is on a mission to re-invent Newark, the crime rate in the New Jersey city is still a statistic he cannot rub: The violent-crime rate is way above the national median for urban centers, and, according to neighborhoodscout.com, one in 94 Newark residents is the victim of some sort of assault. There are 534 crimes per square mile, creating a widespread battleground for the city and its denizens.
Today, the Bodega Association of the United States met with Booker to discuss protection plans for its workers. One of the demands that stands out is a proposal for cheap, subsidized bulletproof vests to be offered to bodega owners. Strapped up and ready to go.
Somehow, this idea speaks volumes more than mere crime statistics.
In an interview with CBS, Fernando Mateo, a member of the association, said, “What we’re trying to do is create a situation where we’re buying the vests at a wholesale price where the bodega owners would be able to afford to buy them, not only for themselves but for their clerks.”
Mateo went on to say that he thinks Mayor Booker “is the kind of guy that knows and understands what the streets are about because he comes from the streets.” However, this doesn’t necessarily mean he’d be more than willing to strap up his city’s bodega owners with Kevlar.
It has yet to be seen what the negotiations will create in terms of alternative methods to upping the police forces on the streets. But crime rates can come to life with stories like this; numbers are met with the sheer realities on the ground. And if this proposal is any indication of that, Newark and its mayor have some work to do.