Earlie Harrell, a high-ranking member of the Sex, Money, Murder set of the Bloods street gang, knew several murder victims who died in 2015. In fact, he’s known many of the victims killed in Trenton over the past 15 years.
Harrell, who’s also known as Messiah, doesn’t keep a tally of the people he’s known who are now dead, nor does he like to talk about the lives lost. But as media and community leaders analyze the capital city’s murder rate at the end of each year, Harrell can’t help but wonder if he’s been correct all along.
“I think about it all the time, and the way I see it, the politicians and city leaders are at fault for all these deaths,” Harrell said. “The people in leadership positions who have the resources to change things are at fault.”
Violent crime in the capital city has significantly declined since 2013, the deadliest year in Trenton’s history. Law enforcement officials attribute the decline to a multi-faceted crime fighting strategy that includes collaborative efforts from local, state and federal agencies. The newly reformed Mercer County Shooting Response Team and the Attorney General’s Targeted Anti-Gun (TAG) initiative are just two strategies officials say help significantly improve their ability to keep the city’s most violent criminals off of the streets.
Much of the city’s gun violence is related to drug trade, police say, and often times retaliatory in nature. So, while everyone analyzes initiatives that help solve and prevent crime, Harrell wonders why no one is questioning what caused violence to spike in the first place.
“They have to give street hustlers the tools to change,” 40-year-old Harrell said. “We need to train people to work in today’s job market.” Read more