The rate of violent crime in Atlantic City and Pleasantville is so far down this year compared to last.
In an effort to continue the streak of peace, Pleasantville held another "Stop the Silence Community Cookout." NBC40 spoke with police from Atlantic City, and Pleasantville, about how the neighboring communities are so closely related when it comes to violence.
Chief Jose Ruiz with the Pleasantville Police said, "I've always said for years, we're basically connected at the hip."
Now the two towns are coming together to move past their crime-ravaged reputations.
Shaner Brown, Director of the 21st Century Community Learning Program, told NBXC40, NBC40an't have a divide - everyone is united. Things like this bring everyone together and it can only be a positive step forward to have a community event like this."
Although these types of cookouts have been done many times before, both Atlantic City and Pleasantville police officials say the crimes in their communities are often closely related. That's why they decided to bring the cookouts from Atlantic City and Pleasantville together.
Atlantic County Sherrif, Frank Balles, said, "Basically, the violence has no boundaries." Dewayne Parker, Security Director for the Atlantic City School District, said, "It's important that we bond together because we're right next door to each other with the crime. So whatever happens in A.C., it filters over into Pleasantville."
It's just a ten minute drive from the heart of Atlantic City to Main Street in Pleasantville. Proximity, police say, is easy for criminals to exploit. Chief Ruiz said, "\We've seen what happens if somebody commits a crime in Atlantic City - they will come over to Pleasantville and try to hide out."
But despite the overlap of crime, officials say the cookouts have been working.
Sheriff Balles said, "Believe it or not, many times during these community cookouts, and right after them, we get some good intelligence from the residents - from some of the teenagers about things that are going on in the neighborhood."
And cookout attendees agree.
Samantha Rosalva, a student from Pleasantville, said, "Because we will all be cool and they will listen to us." Brown explained, "No matter what happens, it's going to have a ripple effect throughout the entire community."
Pleasantville Police say they will host another community cookout at Max Manning field on October 26th.
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