First Ward Council candidate Paul Hagdorn previously spoke with the Bayonne Community News regarding a number of goals he’d like to meet if things go his way on Election Day, Nov. 5, now just weeks away.
One of those goals is to create a neighborhood watch organization in response to a number of crimes that Hagdorn said are top concerns for residents in the First Ward and beyond.
Hagdorn said that while he considers Bayonne a safe place in the grand scheme of things, he shares residents’ concerns about what they believe is an uptick in crime rates.
He suspects, however, that social media and better crime reporting are part of what factors into that perception.
“People might have the impression that things are getting worse, but our police do a great job,” Hagdorn said. “On the other hand, with the advent of the light rail, it’s a lot easier for anyone, committing a crime or not, to get in and out of town compared to hopping a bus or walking it.”
He said that being able to bring community members together in a forum could help police to partner with the community. Law enforcement officers he spoke with agreed. He plans to use the guidelines set by National Neighborhood Watch.
While a potential partnership between the neighborhood watch and Bayonne Public Safety is not official, Hagdorn is optimistic that the group and the police will have a good relationship.
The group held its first two meetings earlier this month. Members hope to eventually convene weekly.
Bringing people together
Hagdorn said wants to draw residents from all of Bayonne, not just the First Ward, and hold meetings in public spaces in conjunction with city officials.
“It would be great to find public spaces in Bayonne, so I’m pushing for permissions, but it’s all just getting started,” Hagdorn said. “I think we could have a group leader for each ward, following the National Neighborhood Watch guidelines.”
Hagdorn believes the group could also bring the community together through events.
“When I was a kid, we all knew our neighbors on the block and constantly held block parties,” Hagdorn said. “With everyone coming and going, I don’t think people know each other as well, for whatever reason. This could be a way to bring people together and host events.”
Hagdorn said that he wants to establish the group as a nonprofit, in order to sponsor events and seek donations. Hagdorn said that his neighborhood watch plans aren’t tied to the election and will remain on the table.
“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Hagdorn said. “I think that once the election season settles down, politics won’t be as sensitive, and even more people might start turning out. That’s when a lot more will be decided on.”