Trentonian Editorial: Don’t be too happy about murder lull in Trenton, learn from it

Eleven weeks without a murder is not something to celebrate. Sure, making it through August and September without a homicide in Trenton is an accomplishment, but before we celebrate, let’s admit that one murder in this city is too many.

But now looking at two murders in as many weeks, we as a city begin to grieve again. We begin to deal with loss again.

Rather than celebrate the lull, we need to learn from it and figure out what went right for those two quiet months.

Some deep introspection is called for as a city and especially as components that make up the city of Trenton.

Police need to assess what they did differently and what worked during that time.

Medical response is clearly a part of the reason there were not homicides for 11 weeks. What changed this August as opposed to last for EMS and hospital workers? Shootings happened in that time, but all of those victims survived.

Were community groups more vigilant during that time? Some community leaders have talked about recognizing the milestone of even going through August without a murder. August is usually the month when the most murders happen in a lot of cities. Maybe it is the heat or that gang tensions have been rising through the early summer months, which often culminates in a bloody end to the summer. August 2014 saw zero fatal shootings.

One theory offered was that most of the killers in Trenton are gone. That there is only a finite amount of thugs willing to take a life and a lot of them have been put in jail or killed in retaliation already. That theory is unlikely, but maybe it contributed to the quiet time. The cycle of violence in cities around the U.S. means we are seeing disenfranchised youth coming up and constantly feeding into the gangs, fearing that there is no other choice for them. No escape.

Most likely is that all of these factors and more helped keep the murder rate down recently. Now isn’t the time to be happy about it, but rather to learn from it so that we can do it again.

Next time for longer.

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