While living close to a police station would seem like there are more patrols and thus lower levels of street crime, such is not always the case. Residents should feel safe being so close to a large police presence, but those living in the historic area of McGingley Square and West Side Ave of Jersey City do not.
In the last few months, the blocks surrounding the West District Jersey City police station on Communipaw Ave have had more than their fair share of street crime. Most recently, on the morning of Saturday, July 16, residents of Gifford Ave and Belmont arose to find their tires had been slashed in the middle of the night. This was not a targetted attack singling a few people out, nor was it a quick stab and run job. Every single car that was parked on those streets, and even some parked at the ends of private driveways, had a slashed tire.
It is not the first time that tax paying residents of this neighborhood have been subjected to vandalism. in June 2010, parked cars were vandalized with a baseball bat to the windshields. Even though the perptrator needed a fair amount of time to commit this crime, and even though a smashing windshield creates a fair amount of noise, no police were alerted to the scene or drove by to catch him.
The only way to protect one’s property would be to just not have a car. If that is not an option, one must be fortunate enough to have a private driveway or garage that is far away from the street. Otherwise, cars parked on the street will constantly be subjected to uninhibited, unpunished vandalism.
As if vandalism weren’t a terrible crime in and of itself, women especially need to take care in the area around Bergen Ave. This past spring, Antiquion Miller was caught after violently raping 2 women in the area. The first attack was on Harrison Ave on March 23. After forcing his victim into an alley, he was able to savagely beat and rape her for over 30 minutes while she screamed in the open space without being disrupted. He then raped another woman on Sunday, May 22, and was luckily caught on a surveillance camera. This video is what mainly lead to his identification and arrest.
Yet another rapist was apprehended, this time in midact. Rondell J. Rush attacked a 15-year-old one afternoon and began to rape her in an alley, only one block from the police station. Luckily his attack was thwarted by the police, although how the crime even started to take place in a supposedly secure area is a mystery.
Rape statistics show that 73% of rapists are non-strangers, that is, the victim knows her attacker. Women are taught to take certain precautions when walking alone, especially at night, to protect against these random attackers. However, the reality is that those are the minority, at least in most areas.
When being watchful when alone at night isn’t enough, carrying pepper spray might help to ward off attackers. Otherwise, just hope that the attack is in the middle of the day and there are plenty of people around to witness and come to the rescue.
While the neighborhood used to be referred to as Doctor’s Row in the early 20th century, the prestigious and elite status has been reduced to an area riddled with crime. Many of the Victorian homes that once housed these doctors and lawyers have been converted to multi-family dwellings, or are being renovated by the modern day owners. While there are certainly an abundance of patrols in the current elite neighborhoods of Jersey City along the waterfront, the historic home are no longer protected as they used to be.