Crime rates and the condition of our neighborhoods go hand-in-hand. Vacant buildings and empty lots create an atmosphere that gives way to drug use, dumping, and violence in our communities. As a city, we can better coordinate our efforts to provide housing stability, make our code enforcement system more responsive, hold absentee landlords accountable, and better maintain vacant lots.
Foster Housing Stability
It is no coincidence that neighborhoods with the most violent crime also have the highest vacancy rates and unemployment rates. The conditions in these communities are the outcome of decades of disinvestment and redlining by the federal government. If we genuinely care about reducing violent crime, we must commit to investing in these communities.
As Councilman, I will support and propose that the City redirect our community and economic development tools toward the most vulnerable and at-risk neighborhoods. I will support community anchors — whether public schools, recreation centers, libraries, or other neighborhood assets — with the funding they need to continue to serve Trenton residents. Finally, I will ensure any housing tax credits and subsidies are only approved when they make our city more equitable. By targeting our resources, we can bring stability, prosperity, and safety to Trenton communities.
Hold Absentee Landlords Accountable
There are over 3,000 vacant properties in Trenton. On some blocks, including my own, the majority of properties are uninhabited. Absentee landlords own many of these properties in other jurisdictions, states, and even countries. We must be vigilant as a city about holding absentee landlords accountable for neglect in our communities.
I will introduce legislation requiring owners of vacant buildings and homes to install working doors and windows to their structures to be adequately secured. This approach has been practical in cities like Philadelphia. As Councilman, I will support and propose our housing inspectors to proactively identify blighted properties in neighborhoods most plagued by violence and step up enforcement of code and safety violations that occur in connection to vacant properties. We have to hold absentee property owners to a higher standard.
TCTV Program (CCTV)
I would propose that the City create a program that replicates Washington D.C.'s and call it TCTV. It would allow residents to register their home security cameras with the Trenton Police Department system so that video evidence can be located quickly when a crime occurs. As Councilman, I will propose a rebate program to expand the number of security cameras available to residents and businesses who agree to register them with the system. No one will be forced to share any video captured by their device, but expanding the number of home security devices registered with the TCTV would help our police officers more efficiently investigate crimes when they occur. Residents receiving government assistance will have the opportunity to have this resource installed free of charge. Studies have shown that video surveillance of homes and businesses reduce crime. Trenton would provide a rebate to residents and businesses who buy a doorbell security camera like the Amazon Ring or Google Nest. This is how we build more strong, safer communities.