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I live in Columbus, NJ, the next town over from Bordentown, which hosts a RiverLine Station.  What the story doesn't tell you is about the increased problems as a result of this train.

This train has linked one of the highest rated crime city in the US for many years running, Camden NJ, with the City of Trenton.  While Trenton was never a prize, it was somewhat safe to move about.  Now we have the gang-express as some locals refer to the RiverLine; the train has exported Camden's crime to many of the municipalities along its path, but Trenton has been particularly hard hit.  Violent crime has soared, all sorts of drug related crime is also rising.

 I can tell you that I know many people who will not ride the train because of fear of safety, unlike with our major rail services like Amtrak or NJ Transit, this is a seedy ride.  Don't let the story of the numbers gloss over the complete impact.  There are likely many towns along the RiverLine that wish they could close terminals, but do not have that authority.

This service was never sought by any sizeable population.  Instead it was a liberal feel good project that was inflicted on the taxpayers of NJ.  A state which is now likely to go broke because of its spending on bad projects like this.

by boszleyusa (boszley@aol.com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 09:51:24 AM EST
To which my reactions would be:

  1. How much of this about crime is hearsay, and how much is fact? (Such as -- can you give me links to official crime statistics?)

  2. Could there be other reasons for a rise in crime?

  3. If trains are supposed to transport crime (why can't cars?), what is the police doing? What about regular patrols on trains?

  4. Would crime not be a late night problem? The night when the trains still don't run?

  5. Could you cite a source for your claim that towns would want to close stations? (I guess you mean stations: "terminal" would be at the end of the line.)

  6. What is a "liberal feel good project"? (Sounds like an ideological phrase.)

  7. What bad projects of similar or lager size are there in New Jersey?


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 11:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What solid reasons can you give to explain why gangs from Camden use the train to go up to Trenton? What's their intention, just to create mayhem? Do they do that on the trains, are there statistics of crime on the trains? Or is it that they're extending their drug dealing area?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 12:17:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the gang activity in NJ is conducted by males, between the ages of 13 - 22.  The driving age here is 17.  The distance between the two cities is about 40 miles.  

Most importantly as to why they wouldn't just drive to Trenton, this group is as a whole, a highly impoverished part of our society, with few owning cars.  Among the obstacles to car ownership is the cost of insurance (NJ has the highest insurance rates in the nation).  A male driver, under 25, with NO record of drug or alcohol related charges, would pay about $2,600 annually for basic insurance. Anyone convicted of drug possession (I venture an unsubstantiated guess that includes almost all gang members) would have rates and surcharges totaling several thousand dollars higher, which is unaffordable for most unemployed gang-bangers.

Lastly, NJ has very tough restrictions on new drivers; including the hours they can operate a vehicle and the ages of the passengers that can accompany them in the car.

The RiverLine cost $1.10, and runs till about 1:00 AM, which makes it an ideal facilitator.

by boszleyusa (boszley@aol.com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 12:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The River LINE ticket costs $1.35 by now. 1am, that's on Saturday. On weekdays and Sunday, the last train leaving Camden and running the full line arrives in Trenton at 22:06. After that, the line belongs to freight trains. However, there is always the bus. So I still can't figure out how it's the River LINE that is supposed to generate the new crime you aren't willing to evidence with stats.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 03:25:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On weekdays and Sunday, the last train leaving Camden and running the full line arrives in Trenton at 22:06.

BTW, a limitation locals have long demanded to lift, now with success: PTC will be installed on the line to enable parallel running of freight and "light rail".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 03:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Am I the only one who has a hard time picturing gang members, intent on breaking every law in the books, conscientiously following every law about driving and insurance? I doubt that enforcement of insurance laws is very effective, as there were 9% uninsured drivers in the state 5 years ago.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 04:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My big question is if you're going to travel somewhere else to comitt crime (and if you do the stuff you're after is easily marketable electronics basically, things that you can swap for cash or drugs with noone asking too many questions) If you havent got a car, how are you going to get stuff back, Stations are one of the more likely places to run across CCTV, and your average gang member is going to feel a little exposed and suspicious  carrying a 50" plasma tv on a train carriage. (plus theres a bottleneck at the exit where there are very few avenues of escape. so for the average criminal, trains are the last place they want to be, (with a few exceptions)Plus a lot of gang membership is about status, you stay in your own teritory, because thats the place where people know not to mess with you, Unless you're wandering out to pick up your major score from the dealer up the chain. (And generally thats frowned upon at any height above pretty near street level.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 08:45:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If these are street gangs out of Camden, causing danger to citizens in Trenton (violent crime and drugs), I truly don't believe they give a dang about stealing cars and driving without a license. Either these are kids scared of the law, or they're really dangerous trouble-makers. I can't get a sense of which, from your description.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 05:13:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What exactly is an "unemployed" gangbanger? If these guys aren't dealing drugs (or pursuing some equally lucrative variety of criminal activity), what on earth are they doing?
by Gag Halfrunt on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 06:43:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well it can't be that lucrative, according to various major film and record companies, criminals pirate their material to subsidise the drugs trade

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 08:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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