PATERSON - The city matched last year's record-setting number of killings on Wednesday night when a woman was fatally shot in the 5th Ward, becoming Paterson's 27th homicide victim of 2021.
The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office identified the victim as 27-year-old Khadijah Wilson of Paterson, who officials said was shot near the corner of Park Avenue and Summer Street.
Authorities said she arrived at Saint Joseph's University Medical Center at 9:02 p.m. in a private vehicle and was pronounced dead at 9:13 p.m. Authorities have not said who drove Wilson to the hospital or the circumstances of the shooting.
The 54 homicides that Paterson has endured in 2020 and 2021 represent a 74 percent increase compared to the total killings in the city during the previous two years, when 19 people were killed in 2019 and 12 in 2018.
Prior to the 27 people who were killed last year, the highest number of homicides in Paterson had been 25 in 2014. State and city law enforcement officials do not have homicide data available pre-dating 1990.
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Paterson has had 106 shootings so far this year, incidents in which 19 people were killed and 130 injured. Five of this year's homicide victims were fatally stabbed and three were killed in physical assaults.
Paterson had 111 shootings through Nov. 24 last year.
Mayor Andre Sayegh repeatedly has said that Paterson is suffering from the same spike in violence that has plagued cities throughout the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the mayor has noted the increase in killings this year attributed to domestic disputes.
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In an effort to combat the surge in violence, the Paterson police department has deployed various anti-crime initiatives using officers working overtime. Officials say those programs have curbed the problem in recent months, particularly in October when the city had four shootings.
But the special details also have set overtime spending skyrocketing. Through mid-November, the city paid out $4.76 million in overtime to its police officers, surpassing the department's OT budget for the year by more than 260 percent.
Paterson has a little less than 400 police officers, fewer per capita than New Jersey's other large cities. The city has about 25 new recruits finishing police academy training next month, and plans to add another 20 cops after that.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Paterson NJ shooting is city's 27th homicide of 2021