With a month still left in 2020, Trenton, New Jersey, reached its largest number of homicides in a single year following a fatal stabbing and a fatal shooting.
The late Saturday and early Sunday slayings took the city’s homicides to 39 this year, surpassing the previous high of 37 killings in 2013.
“When we set out to lift Trenton together, this was not the milestone we wanted to see,” Mayor Reed Gusciora said in a statement. “In fact, overall crime was trending downward the previous two years, with 16 homicides in 2018 and 15 homicides in 2019.”
The mayor pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor in the high homicide rate.
He said the consequent financial uncertainty for many people, as well as schools being forced to close for safety reasons and fewer officers patrolling the streets – due to some being forced to quarantine after getting infected with the virus or coming into contact with an infected person – have contributed to the high death count.
Gusciora added that the police quarantines have dealt a “heavy blow for a police department that is already much smaller than it was just a few years ago.”
Research has shown that violent crime has increased nationwide during the pandemic. Earlier this week, Philadelphia reached its third-highest homicide total in the last 60 years.
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In Trenton, police did not immediately make any arrests in either of the weekend slayings.
The stabbing near the intersection of Brunswick Avenue and Southard Street around 9:50 p.m. Saturday claimed the life of 33-year-old Daniel Alvaranga, authorities said. The second victim was an unidentified man in his 30s who was gunned down on the 300 block of Centre Street around 2:50 a.m. Sunday.
The Mercer County Homicide Task Force asked that anyone with information contact them by calling 609-989-6406 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.