The numbers in this story are pulled from Homicide Watch Trenton’s database, unless otherwise noted. For more detailed information, use the sorting features of the victims and suspects databases, or explore the map.
In 2013, 41 people were killed in 39 separate incidents. That number includes two fatalities that were ruled “death by auto,” and two people who were justifiably shot and killed by police. It also includes the death of Omar Hightower, who was shot in 2005, but died in 2013 after suffering a seizure caused by a bullet that was lodged in his brain.
According to the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit, “death by auto” is considered a manslaughter and is therefore not reported as a homicide statistic. And although justifiable police shootings are reported to the FBI, they are not published as a homicide statistic by state police. Therefore, New Jersey State Police will report Trenton’s official homicide number as 37, which includes Hightower’s death.
The Trentonian, however, has decided to include deaths by auto and justifiable police shootings in its yearly homicide count.
With that said, here are the rest of the numbers:
During the weeks leading up to the new year, The Trentonian spoke with several City Council members and asked their thoughts about Trenton’s deadliest year. These are some of their answers.
What comes to mind when you hear that someone was murdered in Trenton?
“It’s saddening. We need to focus on educating the young people of this city, and then find ways to help them gain employment. Many of the suspects in these shootings are protecting their turf and looking for a way to make money. They need jobs. And if we are going to get them off the street, we need to help them find employment. Moreover, we need a task force or tactical unit to prevent killings in this city. We have a task force to solve murders, but we should also focus on stopping the murders.” - City Council President George Muschal
“When I hear that another person has been murdered in Trenton, the first thing that comes to my mind is, ‘Oh my God, not another one.’ We’ve lost control of our youth in the city. I know that our police department is low in numbers, and we have a task force that is working hard to arrest suspects as soon as possible; but it would be better if we prevented violent crimes as opposed to solving murders. Families are hurting because of the murders. And I don’t know how to get families to intervene when they know their children are involved in gangs or illicit activity.” - City Council Vice President Marge Caldwell-Wilson
There is no single homicide case that stands above all others as more important or more significant, in this or any other year. But 2013 was the deadliest year on record for the city of Trenton.
The loss of any life, be it man, woman, elder or child, is significant and tragic. Several cases captured the city’s hearts and minds this year, for a variety of reasons. This is a short list of those that were most captivating.