Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $700,000)
The Paterson Police Department (PPD) directly protects and serves the third-largest city in New Jersey. Founded in 1792 and designed as the nation’s first industrial hub, the City of Paterson is now home to nearly 150,000 residents. Today, the vast majority suffer from blighted neighborhoods, gun crime, violent crime, street-level narcotics distribution, cyclical/multi-generational poverty, open-air drug markets, gang activity, and a crumbling infrastructure. After New York City, Paterson is the second-most densely populated large city in the nation. Paterson is home to eight federally designated Opportunity Zones and its overall poverty rate is 28.1%. In fact, 82% of Paterson’s census tracts have a poverty level exceeding 20% and 30% of its tracts have a poverty level exceeding 40%, the highest of which reaches 58.99% (US Census 2018 5-year Estimates and FFIEC Statistics). Between 2019 and 2020, Paterson experienced a precipitous increase in gun crimes, specifically: a 93% increase in fatal shootings and a 32% increase in non-fatal shootings. The PPD has a sworn force of only 395 officers. Being severely under-resourced, the PPD heavily relies upon partnerships to help address gun crime. In 2013, the PPD and ATF followed best business practices to develop the ATF/Paterson Police Department Task Force. The Task Force is already a current provider of crime gun data into the state’s eTrace platform, as well as National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN). While manpower has been dedicated and best practices have been followed in an attempt to reduce gun violence, this is the City’s first attempt to formally identify as or develop a Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC). All partners involved believe this is a cost-efficient, logical next-step in the Task Force’s evolution and are ready to leverage current agreements and bolster resources to develop an effective CGIC in Paterson. Regarding geographic impact, the Paterson CGIC would be the first in the State of New Jersey. This will assure that the Paterson CGIC is poised to provide new insights into crime gun violence and analytics in our region of the nation. Also, while our jurisdiction is relatively small, Paterson is comparable to existing CGICs located in Columbia, SC (133,000 residents) and Little Rock, AR (195,000 residents). Paterson’s manageable size, high-need jurisdiction, existing Task Force infrastructure, and geographical placement make it an ideal location for the BJA to establish its next CGIC.