Officials Disappointed After State Cancels Application For Funds Intended For Combating Gangs In Lakewood

Roundtable_Gang_Deterrence_PR-tlsEXCLUSIVE: An application applying for State funds to combat gangs in Lakewood, has been cancelled, TLS has learned. The grant application, spearheaded by Mayor Miller and Committeeman Lichtenstien, asked for $750,000 of State and Federal moneys available for these programs, which would have included school programs and more. The grant was cancelled for unknown reasons.

“”Its with mixed feelings that we learned of the State’s cancellation of this program”, Mayor Menashe Miller tells TLS. “This would have been an opportunity to receive much needed funds for this issue to be utilized for various gang prevention initiatives”, the Mayor says.

Despite the State’s cancellation of the funds, Miller says he’s still glad they began combating the issue.

“I’m upset that the program has been canceled but I am proud that we took and are taking a pro-active approach to this issue”, the Mayor said.                                   

In March, Committeeman Meir Lichtenstien met with several officials from Irvington, NJ to discuss possible solutions to the growing gang issue in Lakewood, and the Mayor says that didn’t go to waste and they hope they will be able to get other available grants.

“Committeeman Lichtenstein, also the police liaison, has spent many hours working with various communal organizations as well as working closely with Joanne Bergin to see what other opportunities are available to help with this issue”, the Mayor says. “I am confident that with the amount of time and effort being invested in this topic that we’ll be successful in obtaining other grants.”

Committeeman Meir Lichtenstien was also disappointed of the outcome.

“It is very disappointing that the government pulled the grant”, says Committeeman Lichtenstien.

However, Lichtenstien says the working together with the other organizations will help for the future. 

“We did however get many of the various groups in town working together and pooling their resources to continue to tackle this issue”, the Committeeman said.

According to a recent report published on TLS, Lakewood has the highest numbers of gangs in NJ, which stands at approximately 290 members, and Police believe that many shootings – including the fatal shooting of Officer Chris Matlosz – were gang-related.

Also blamed on gangs, is the rise in graffiti in many areas around town, which Committeeman Lichtenstien has also took the initiative in combating.

According to Joanne Bergin, the grant writer, studies conducted by the federal government have shown that prevention at the very youngest age is the most helpful in gang prevention. 

Bergin said at the time of the application, “It is a wonderful opportunity, a very positive program. We have had folks join us from the state police, the Ocean County prosecutor’s office, and the New Jersey State Parole Office. Everybody has been active and engaged; and together we can actually make a huge difference. That is why we are putting this grant application together.” TLS.

This content, and any other content on TLS, may not be republished or reproduced without prior permission from TLS. Copying or reproducing our content is both against the law and against Halacha. To inquire about using our content, including videos or photos, email us at [email protected].

Stay up to date with our news alerts by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

**Click here to join over 20,000 receiving our Whatsapp Status updates!**

**Click here to join the official TLS WhatsApp Community!**

Got a news tip? Email us at [email protected], Text 415-857-2667, or WhatsApp 609-661-8668.


  1. It’s pretty obvious why it was cancelled…

    This town is run by the gangs just like Chicago was run by the Mafia in the earlier part of the 20th century, and the gangs don’t want this grant.

  2. “much needed funds for this issue to be utilized for various gang prevention initiatives” –
    We will never prevent gangs, just like we cant prevent the premeditation of crime! If someone wants to join a gang, they will in some other town, then move back into lakewood. what we need to do is catch & punish those that are doing it already IN OUR TOWN.
    you dont need programs with catchy slogans or pretty billboards.


    Aggressive Patrol/Interdiction:
    1. Make any roving officers or 2man cars conduct foot patrol in places like woodlake, coventry, high point, MLK, etc during hot times (weekends nights)

    2. Make afternoon/midnight officers get out of their vehicles and walk the alleys in their zones, and log that via CAD. (i know in peak hours that can be tough- but it needs to be done!)

    3. START NIGHTLY SHAKE-DOWNS. The brass-officers need to sit down, and plan random nights on weekdays, and every friday/saturday nights set up a schedule with multiple patrolcars at an orchestrated time (between 6pm-2am) to roll through one troubled neighborhood at a time with alley & take-down lights and start getting out and checking ID’s and any groups standing around drinking alcohol/smoking/doing nothing (JUST LIKE IT WAS DONE WHILE SEARCHING FOR 317’s KILLER).

    4. require officers to drive through any trouble neighborhoods with alley lights, spot lights, and take-down lights. this will send the message to anyone with a guilty conscience that the police are hunting for someone- and that person will either stop doing what he is doing, or flee. (officers driving through slowly with just headlights is less intimidating for someone with a guilty conscience). THIS IS TO BE DONE 3 TIMES PER SHIFT UNLESS OFFICER IS TIED UP ON CALLS.

    5. Make officers conduct more traffic stops within ‘troubled neighborhoods’. I know with the high flow of incoming calls, its tough sometimes to conduct repeated traffic stops- but it needs to be done. even if only a warning is issued; atleast check the validity of papers & and a warrant check. The flashing lights, and the patrol car’s presence will warn off even anyone driving by and witnessing this traffic stop.

    bottom line, we cant rely upon a grand and lots of money to combat crime. throwing money at a problem wont stop anything. old fashioned police work, and an aggressive officers presence will drive the point home: LAKEWOOD IS DONE FACILITATING CRIME.

    -and there is certainly something civilians can do to prevent the high crime in lakewood- STOP RENTING TO ANIMALS!!!! THOSE ANIMALS SPAWN, AND INVITE FELLOW FRIENDS- THUS RESULTING IN GROWING CRIME!

  3. very well said #2 –

    Mr. Conservative is right, throwing a lot of money at the ever growing gang problem wont help. We need our officers (who I am sure are eager to go out there and lock thugs up) to be encouraged to do so by the high ranking officers & township admins.

    -maybe Mr. Conservative is right; we need to do like he says in his NIGHTLY SHAKE-DOWNS idea. maybe the police dept admins needs to sit down to plan & coordinate this idea into action.

  4. With the cops busy doing that, who’s going to have time to track down stolen bikes. Your plan won’t work unless we hire more cops to track down the stolen bikes. People have the right to leave their belongings all over the place, so we need the manpower to combat the crime of theft. And of course, people have the right to leave their windows and doors open and go on vacation. We need the cops to patrol the neighborhoods where the doors and windows are left open.

  5. The shaila is, that if the money was intended for lakewood how could they take it away, its genievas dass? And it goes even further, for what other place is it more important then lakewood? We mamash get nothing now, mamash nothing , it a un achcraios from a goverment official to do such a gevaldiga avlo

  6. Its not that easy . Dealing with gangs takes special training,like in california. Regular street patrol police are not trained for this. In L.A. they have a gang unit skilled police or swat who are trained to combat gangs,without funding we can not deal with this issue. The average police rookie doesn’t no what to look for these gangs are getting smarter. Some do not even wear there colors so they blend in with the rest of society. We need more programs for the youth so they do not fall victim into joining a gang..More funding for police so they can form a gang unit swatt to deal with these PUNKS!!!!!!

  7. TO #6 – Your sarcastic, but have a valid point!
    let me bring forward my opinion:
    1) Bike registration should be handled via an online form on the LPD website (which doesnt exsist yet- dont ask me why). Officers should be instructed that bikes are to be confiscated if the person riding is arrested for any reason. (otherwise officers are not to engage citizens just for a bike reg check). Once at head quarters a simple check will inform the officer if its stolen or not- and it will go right to the impound. If the bicycle is confirmed stolen, the website will be updated with this information for the bike registration holder to check online (this way it will alleviate dispatch getting calls to check if its been found.)

    2) Your sarcastic about people being foolish and leaving homes and vehicles unsecured thus resulting in becoming a victim. People are always going to do stupid things- and its your job to document and investigate appropriately as protocol stands. If you dont like your job, the foolish citizens, or you drag your feet on the particular car- you need to be let go.
    But you are shedding light on an issue that lakewood police does face on a daily; SHORTAGE IN OFFICERS- because officers are tied up on nonsense calls that could be prevented if the citizens of lakewood would just be more careful. That being said; THE CHIEF NEEDS TO HIRE CLASS1 & 2 OFFICERS to handle the lower level calls ie; stolen bikes, suspicious activity, lock-outs, traffic details, property damage reports, etc. I know that will require cost, but EVERY BEACH TOWN UTILIZES CLASS 1 & 2 OFFICERS during peak tourist season, which are trained in the police academy. Either hire class 1&2 officers, or open up a Auxiliary police dept- THAT WILL BE RAN WITHOUT POLITICAL or CULTURAL PANDERING!

    #8 – are you saying the police academy creates ill prepared ‘rookies’?
    The NJ State Police has a wonderful gang unit that would love to school the rookies and anyone else lacking common knowledge regarding gangs- FOR FREE. If lakewood police is outdated regarding the activites/clothing/symbols- then its time to admit defeat and call in people better trained to get the LPD officers caught up. the LPD is a wonderful dept- and i am sure they are very well aware of everything going on- and just need to be encouraged via the superior officers. The superior officers, including the chief need to sit down and devise a systematic plan that will be alternated and reoccurring on a weekly basis that will in the end, harass the heck out of the gangs, and gang imposters.

    -if lakewood pba, has money & time to waste on repainting private owner’s fences- then im sure they have money & time to put the effort into not ‘covering up gangs’ – but to actually combat gangs.

  8. They handle gangs in cali with a gang swatt team. These guys train like the military .Lakewood has good cops I have friends who work for lakewood. What I am saying is that to deal with these gangs in lakewood they need a special unit that focuses only on gangs that takes funding. How many state troopers do u see out here dealing with our gang. We need to train our police force.

  9. I work in rahway prison as a correction officer. We deal with gang inmates everyday. These guys are constantly improving ways to communicate with lower ranking members on the street. They control what happens on the street so its not as easy as you think. Trust me its bigger then you think. Funding is needed.

  10. Quote “And of course, people have the right to leave their windows and doors open and go on vacation. We need the cops to patrol the neighborhoods where the doors and windows are left open.”
    with this attitude you are just making it easy for thieves , have no sympathy for those who don’t try and protect themselves from being rpped off . The police can only do so much if you don’t care why should any body else care??

  11. I would like to hear more about why the grant was cancelled.

    The gang problem is generally located in densely populated areas, and is in direct per-portion as a percentage of the population. The negative effects of gangs can be re-mediated by a show of force where they live, and where they hang out.

    They need to know that law enforcement agencies know who they are, where they live, how they obtain funding, what they do, and who is connected to who. All criminal activity needs to be aggressively addressed.

    The connection between gang members and the prison population is well known. Gang members on the streets and in prison must be separated and segregated from each other and from the general public.

    Towns throughout NJ need to address the issue aggressively. They will take some heat and charges of discrimination, but gang members have served notice on society that their elegance is to the gangs; not for the betterment of society.

  12. Mr Conservative- I don’t understand what you’re saying about the pba. Are you critizising (sp?) the officers for taking time to volunteer for the community they work for? They did this on their own time, local businesses donated paint and supplies so that the police officers IN THEIR SPARE TIME could help the community. They even brought their families with them in some cases, to teach their children about being good citizens.

    What the pba members choose to do on their free time has nothing to do with what training is made available to them thru their jobs. Those trainings are offered thru the gov’t and need to be paid for by the town- a local union can’t afford to pay for trainings like that- and that’s not their purpose. Sounds like apples and oranges to me.

  13. To #17- im not criticizing, but simply stating the obvious. police officers either on personal time or work time shouldnt be spending time or donations or donated monies covering up crime, they should be spending that time & money either fighting/combating, or learning how to better combat/fight crime.

    Repainting and covering up township, or private(especially private) property should be the responsibility of DPW(if its township) and the property owners(if its private property.)

    its a nice gesture on behalf of the PBA, but its useless- especially as it does nothing to fight crime. Its a feel good gesture that does absolutely nothing besides cover up a problem.
    Thats like a mechanic who has a customer with a broken transmission, and instead of fixing the transmission- the mechanic makes the horn louder and calls its a day.

  14. Okay, when you say “covering up crime” it sounds like you’re saying the pba is painting over it so it seems like it does not exist. As in, trying to hide the problem. I cannot imagine that any pba member would want to cover up crime, especially one that puts their lives in danger- I’m absolutely sure they would want as much visibility on the issue so that it’s solved.

    But to say they should donate their time or their own money to do what the town is not willing to pay for (and now neither is the state) is crazy. It is the responsibility of Lakewood Twp to train their employees do to their jobs more effectively. If a group of people, in this case the pba, chooses to do something independently to help private citizens that is their choice. The same as if I chose to donate my time with my (non-union) coworkers towards a cause.

    As for your comparison to the mechanic/tranismission. No. What you’re saying is that if the mechanic’s employer is not willing to pay for the parts to fix a customer’s transmission, the mechanic should pay for it out of his own money. Instead, the mechanic said “I’m sorry your transmission doesn’t work but I my hands are tied- how about I give you a ride home in my own car?”

  15. We here in lakewood have more people than toms river now but what we lack that toms river has is a 165 man police department. Currently LPD has 114 officers. Not to mention LPD is a busy area more than toms river. Even brick who has 15000 less people has a police department of 130 to 135, and again LPD is deals with more calls. The numbers dont add up people. Brick placed an add out saying that to hire 15 cops would only cost a person 32 dollars and would rise a mer 2 dollars for every year for only 6 years. Now i dont know if anyone agrees with me but we need more police officers besides the 6 we plan to hire this remaining year.

Comments are closed.