IRVINGTON, NJ — Mayor Tony Vauss and Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers say crime is down in Irvington due to a crackdown that began late last year with two major busts. In both instances, Vauss and Bowers said illegal drugs and firearms were confiscated.
“On Dec. 17, the Irvington Police Intelligence Unit, while conducting surveillance in the area of Grove Street and Arverne Street, received a tip of a shotgun in the area,” said Vauss on Sunday, Dec. 27. “Detectives observed the subject conduct a narcotics transaction and placed him under arrest for possession of marijuana. While being arrested, he was found to have a 12-gauge shotgun in his pants.”
Vauss said, “By getting this individual off of our streets, our police were able to stop a drug dealer and possible shooter from committing crime in our town.”
Bowers said the mayor was right. “That successful bust was followed by a second one on Dec. 27, when the Irvington Intelligence Unit conducted another good gun and drug bust, this time in the area of Breckenridge and Grove streets,” said Bowers on Sunday, Dec. 27. “Three individuals were arrested for possession of a fully loaded TEC-9 machine gun.”
Vauss said those busts, coupled with the ongoing activities of the new Special Enforcement Response Team in 2015 and 2016, are proof: “Our police are helping Irvington become safer.” He said the overall goal is to get criminals in town and outside it that a new day in law enforcement has dawned.
“That is one of the goals of my administration — a safer and cleaner Irvington,” said Vauss. “I appreciate our officers and look forward to continued progress. Criminals will get the message: Irvington is not where you want to come to commit crimes.”
Vauss reiterated that point Tuesday, Feb. 16, saying, “We have the stats from December and January and we made 187 arrests in December and 209 in January. We got almost 10 guns, from shotguns to Uzis.”
Bowers said the Irvington Police Department made 189 arrests during the month of December, including at 92 Ellis Ave., where three individuals were arrested for possession of three fully loaded handguns — a .357-magnum, a .44-magnum and a .38 revolver — and drugs and money were also confiscated; at 86 Coolidge St., where one person was arrested for burglary into a home; and at 83 Grant Place, where two individuals were arrested for burglary to a home.
Vauss said with those law enforcement accomplishments combined with the Public Safety Department’s new partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Specialized Emergency Response Training Team’s formidable presence, things are looking up for Irvington in the safety department.
“We need for police and fire to work together as a unit, as opposed to separate entities,” said Vauss on Monday, Jan. 11. “It’s a trend that many other communities are starting to follow. East Orange just appointed a public safety director and Newark is about to follow suit and I think you will find many other communities doing the same thing pretty soon.”
According to the latest statistics in the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Report, Irvington is a N.J. second tier “Urban 15” city, meaning it has a population of at least 50,000 inhabitants; other cities in the category include: Bayonne, Camden, Clifton, Toms River, East Orange, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, Passaic, Paterson, Trenton, Union City, Vineland and Woodbridge.
Vauss said last year there were 11 homicides in town; there has not be a homicide reported in 2016.