Acting Trenton Police Director Steve Wilson Announces Formation of a New Daytime Task Force to Address Open-Air Drug Dealing, Panhandling and Other Quality of Life Issues

Broadened Street Crimes Strategy to Augment Existing Efforts Targeting Guns and Drugs

September 14, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Acting Police Director Steve E. Wilson today announced the formation of a Daytime Task Force to provide additional resources to address quality of life issues throughout the City of Trenton, including aggressive panhandling, prostitution, speeding, illegal dumping and open-air drug dealing.

The task force will operate out of the Patrol Bureau over the next eight weeks and will be reinforced by partner agencies, including the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

“This is about taking our neighborhoods and business districts back, block by block,” said Director Wilson. “Every day residents and businesses reach out to us about these issues, including when I toured the downtown district on Friday. Well, we hear you loud and clear. Our thanks to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department who agreed to aid our team and help us address these issues before they invite more drugs, guns, and other severe crimes into Trenton.”

The task force will augment current Trenton Police Department (TPD) efforts to combat the city’s drug trade and address quality of life complaints throughout Trenton. On Aug. 20, 2021, the TPD conducted a prostitution sweep operation in the area of Hamilton Avenue and South Clinton Avenue, which resulted in six arrests. In addition, between Sept. 6, 2021 through Sept. 7, 2021, TPD officers arrested six individuals from outside of Trenton who allegedly engaged in aggressive panhandling targeting motorists at intersections in the city.

Meanwhile the TPD continues to step up enforcement against street level dealers and gun crimes. From Aug. 25, 2021 through Aug. 30, 2021, TPD detectives arrested six individuals on gun and drug related crimes, which resulted in the seizure of four firearms, 200 doses of heroin, and more than $14,000 in suspected drug proceeds.

Since July 1, 2021, the TPD has made 690 arrests and seized 40 guns, 2,539 grams of cocaine, 4,694 decks of heroin, 1,500 grams of raw heroin, and $402,766 in suspected illegal proceeds.

The TPD has also recently formed a burglary task force, which will continue its efforts to reduce property crimes. On Aug. 21, 2021, TPD detectives arrested Juan Obando-Murillo, 39, of Trenton, who is suspected of carrying out three recent burglaries in Trenton.

These charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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