Critics rap Newark barbed-wire ban http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/01/05/20090105barbedwire0105.html 15 comments by David Porter - Jan. 5, 2009 12:00 AM Associated Press NEWARK, N.J. - Some business owners in this crime-plagued city say recent enforcement of a 1966 ordinance banning some types of barbed wire and razor wire is making Newark more attractive - to thieves. Burglaries are up 17 percent from 2007 through November in Newark, which has a young, charismatic mayor who has vowed to help the city rebound from decades of official inaction, incompetence and criminality. The city is aggressively courting new investment and development, but people who have been ordered to downgrade their fences say officials are worried more about aesthetics than security. John DeSantis, owner of a lot used by an auto-repair business in Newark's West Ward, says his property has been the site of more than a dozen burglaries since the summer, when the city forced him to remove razor wire on top of the 7-foot-tall fence that surrounds the lot. "The bottom line was, they said, 'It doesn't look good, and we want to create a new image for the city of Newark,' " DeSantis said. Newark is a city struggling to forge ahead as it grapples with its past, with neighborhoods in which new housing is sprinkled across a landscape teeming with aging or abandoned properties. DeSantis said he was surprised when a city official told him that the ordinance was being enforced to prevent passers-by or anyone climbing the fence from being injured by the barbed wire. The city's Department of Neighborhood and Recreational Services, which oversees code enforcement, said 132 properties were cited for violating the ordinance last year. For now, enforcement appears to be spotty. Around the corner from DeSantis' property, barbed wire topped a fence around a vacant lot behind the Yes Lord Ministry, and two auto-repair shops within a few blocks also had barbed wire or razor wire atop their fences.