Atlantic City Sees Two Fatal Stabbings On New Year’s Day

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Atlantic City started out the New Year in entirely the wrong way, as New Year’s Day saw the discovery of two stabbing victims along the city’s famous Boardwalk.

The two victims, both found just yards from two of the city’s giant casino resorts, died from their injuries.

Vincent O’Brien III, 50, was found bleeding near the Tropicana parking lot, but later succumbed to his wounds in the hospital. Not an hour later, Nazir Cintron, 22, was pronounced dead from stab wounds outside the Boardwalk at Bally’s.

Following the New Year’s Day incidents, the community and authorities are urgently calling for enhanced security measures.

The Stabbings and the Response

Despite a booming 2023 for New Jersey casinos, a pair of (unrelated) stabbings in a popular time of year for visitors will cast a shadow over the city’s image as a safe tourist destination going into 2024.

“Public safety is extremely important in Atlantic City,” said Police Chief James Sarkos, speaking to The Press of Atlantic City.

He emphasized the need for a vigilant security network in the city that attracts 27 million visitors each year.

In response to the growing unease, Atlantic City has initiated a $5 million, state-financed program to bolster its surveillance system with 200 new cameras. These cameras will feature five independent lenses for maximum coverage. They will augment the 3,000 existing ones, covering most of the 48-block city.

“It’s a huge investment in public safety, and it’s going to make Atlantic City safer for everybody,” Sarkos said.

Despite these efforts, the effectiveness of surveillance has been called into question.

“I don’t believe Atlantic City is safe…I’m for more cameras, but that’s not going to stop criminals,” said Leonard Hall, a New Jersey resident, speaking to local reporters.

This sentiment reflects the broader concern that mere surveillance isn’t enough to deter crime in an area where the bustling casino industry is a significant economic driver. However, others have expressed that generally, they feel safe already, and that more cameras can only help.

“I’ve shopped at the outlets, went to dinner, and felt fine,” said one resident. “You just have to be aware of your surroundings after dark.”

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Perception Economy

The recent violent incidents have stirred fear among locals and visitors alike, potentially threatening the city’s casino-driven economy.

Atlantic City’s casinos contributed around $500 million a month in 2023, paying around $100 million in taxes for the year.

That continued income hinges on the city’s ability to provide a secure and attractive environment for visitors.

Any crimes in the area also have knock-on effects on businesses that rely on casino visitation, such as nearby restaurants and bars.  

The perception of safety, or the lack thereof, can significantly impact visitor numbers, and by extension, the financial health of these establishments.

Cases for Surveillance

The challenge ahead for Atlantic City is not only to enhance its surveillance network, but also to address the broader safety concerns that impact the perception and reality of security in the casino corridor.

Lt. Kevin Fair of the Atlantic City Police Department pointed out several crimes in just the past few months that were prevented by cameras.

That included a serious attempted stabbing and a burglary, as well other incidents, such as lost senior citizens or children.

One man even attempted to make a bogus injury claim against the city. But his case was shut down when investigators looked at Boardwalk cameras.

However, all of that was not enough to prevent the loss of two lives in these latest cases. Police have not revealed if there have been any leads from existing cameras in either case. But expect updates as investigations proceed.

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