MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, NJ – Amid rising issues of homelessness, petty crime, and open drug use in the Rio Grande area, Middle Township officials announced plans to prioritize public safety while still offering social services to those in need.
Mayor Tim Donohue emphasized the importance of law and order, pointing out that state-level decisions on bail reform and decriminalization of petty crimes have impacted the tools available to local law enforcement. “While Middle Township remains committed to helping those in need, our number one priority will always be public safety,” Donohue said.
Dangerous conditions like illegal drug use, lack of sanitation, and violent crime have been noted in homeless encampments on private properties in the township. Officials stated they would employ all legal means to protect the health and welfare of residents.
Chief Jennifer Pooler of the Middle Township Police Department echoed the Mayor’s sentiment, stating that her department is committed to providing compassionate services but will not permit homelessness as an excuse for criminality. “We regularly encounter individuals who either refuse to accept available services or have been barred from assistance due to their refusal to meet the proscribed guidelines to qualify,” Pooler said.
“While Middle Township remains a community committed to helping those in need, our number one priority will always be public safety,” Middle Township Mayor Tim Donohue said. “While we debate the complicated root causes of these problems and work every day to build partnerships to alleviate the associated suffering, Middle Township will stand firm on upholding law and order to ensure our residents feel safe in their homes and our businesses can operate successfully.”
The Township urged the Cape May County Board of Commissioners and the First Legislative District to commit to real-world solutions with substantial funding to tackle the root causes of homelessness. “This is not a ‘Middle Township’ problem; homelessness is a national epidemic,” Mayor Donohue emphasized.