Contact: Julie Willmot
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TRENTON, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes stood alongside Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer and a contingent of Mercer County law enforcement officials to lend his support today for Gov. Jon Corzine's plan to tackle escalating violent crime in New Jersey communities.

Corzine unveiled the enforcement phase of the plan on the steps of the State House yesterday, focusing on how the State should work with local law enforcement and County prosecutors to target gangs and gun violence. The three-pronged plan, which aims to tackle violent crimes, also focuses on prevention and preparing inmates to re-enter society.

"I strongly support this plan to take more aggressive action against the gangs and guns that are trying to tear communities apart here in Mercer County and across the State," Hughes said following the governor's announcement. "The ultimate result of the plan is to become smarter and faster at attacking gun violence and gangs, and I'm pleased to say that we are already achieving some of the goals the governor has put forth."

With violent crime and murder rates up throughout the State, Gov. Corzine said real change can only come at the local level. The State's anti-crime plan calls for local assessments of gang problems, interagency task forces to target gangs and guns, and intelligence-led policing, all initiatives that are already underway in Mercer County.

"Shooting response teams are an important component to targeting and tracking violent crime," said Attorney General Anne Milgram. "One of the best examples in the State is in Mercer County, with the team of the State Police, Hamilton, Ewing, and Trenton police crossing town lines just like criminals. This will lead to more solved crimes."

Hughes said the shooting response team and the Violent Crime Task Force are examples of interagency task forces called for by Gov. Corzine. In addition, sharing of real-time intelligence on gangs, gun violence, and criminal "hot spots" is occurring across multiple law enforcement agencies in Mercer County, Hughes said.

Hughes said he also supports the governor's call for stronger laws against those who carry guns and those criminals who attempt to intimidate or retaliate against witnesses.  He credited Mercer County law enforcement, and especially the County Prosecutor's Office, with largely succeeding in getting witnesses to cooperate.