Former residents: Stop bashing your old town. Your sentiments are wrong

Last week, there was an incident that involved a police shooting. A man who had stolen a car on Devon Street, Kearny, was spotted by a police officer near the Applebee’s on Passaic Avenue.

Not surprisingly, the driver of the vehicle took off toward the officer who was approaching the vehicle, according to reports. As such, the officer, who feared for his life, shot at the vehicle.

At this point, we don’t know whether the alleged car thief was hit because we’re told he got away and has escaped justice thus far. But fortunately, from all accounts, it was a proper shooting.

Yet on social media, there were countless instances of people being critical of their former hometown of Kearny. From comments like, “I’m sure glad I moved away,” to “Kearny sure has changed” found their way on forums and people’s walls. Ad nauseam.

These comments as a whole were abhorrent, but most importantly, extremely inaccurate. The last time a Kearny police officer discharged a weapon was four years ago in the parking lot of the Walmart. The last homicide took place more than three years ago on Chestnut Street following a horrible domestic dispute.

While the demographics of the town have certainly changed over the last few decades, one thing has not: Kearny is a very safe town that continues to see a decline in indexed crime. (We’ll bring you those statistics at the start of 2021 when the FBI releases its annaul Uniform Crime Report.)

But consider this — despite being bordered on one side by Jersey City and on another side by Newark -— two places where crime is indeed an issue, and considering our close proximity to the five boroughs of New York City, where crime has become an issue again, it is fair to say Kearny continues to shine, crime-wise — and it is fair to say Kearny sets an example of how living just outside the world’s largest metropolis doesn’t mean it shares the same crime volume.

The town’s police department and its leadership should be commended for this allowing for this notion, as well. Kearny has not become more dangerous than it was in the past. It is still, as it always has been, a very safe place to live. Does it have issues? If it didn’t, there wouldn’t be a police blotter in this newspaper every week. But to say it has become more dangerous is absurdly unfair. And when people afar say otherwise, they’re doing the town an inaccurate injustice.  Maybe a visit back home would help. Or maybe they’re just too scared of what they’ll see?

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.