Mayor Cory Booker said he was “energized” after a White House meeting Tuesday with President Obama and other mayors held to discuss youth violence and ways the federal government can help make the nation’s cities safer.
Booker was one of 18 mayors to meet with Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, joining his counterparts from Washington, DC, Sacramento, Philadelphia and other cities. Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio also attended.
“As public officials working on the frontlines of our nation’s cities, mayors are equipped with unique perspective on the issue of youth violence. I appreciate having been invited by President Obama to join mayors from across the country for this important discussion,” Booker said in a statement. “I am also grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with Attorney General Holder, along with Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio and other mayors and police representatives, in a separate meeting about how the federal government can partner with cities to make our neighborhoods safer.”
Although its precise ranking varies depending on how the figures are compiled, Newark is consistently listed among the nation’s most dangerous big cities, with its rates for murder, robbery and other serious crime several times higher than national averages.
Booker said he and other officials discussed the need for federal involvement to control the traffic in illegal guns. Virtually none of the city’s gun crime is committed by the weapon’s rightful owner or with a legally owned gun, DeMaio and Booker both have said.
Booker also said, however, that reducing city violence will call for something more fundamental than stepped-up enforcement alone.“To stop this epidemic, we must start at the source, by providing quality education and mentoring to society’s youngest and most vulnerable, while using prisoner reentry programs to help ex-offenders transition into the workforce and build productive lives,” Booker said.