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Faith Leaders Call On Newark Residents To Be Vigilant In Face Of Recent Spike In Shootings

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Residents in New Jersey's largest city are still reeling after a recent rash of gun violence.

Police have increased patrols, but residents are being urged to do their part, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Monday.

On the steps of Newark City Hall, faith leaders prayed and issued a call to action.

"When they leave here they're going to speak to some young people. When they leave here, they are going to go to somebody's house that might have been shot, or somebody's funeral. So, they put their work in," said Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree of the Newark Interfaith Alliance.

Residents remain shaken following five separate shootings just hours apart last week that left three people dead, including two 17-year-olds.

Dawn Haynes of Brick City Collective is part of a city-sponsored effort to flood the affected communities with resources.

"We're able to come up with strategies and ideas on how to think about how do we have a hand-off of referrals ... not just reaching the child that is affected but her parents or his parents," Haynes said.

In response to the violence, police stepped up patrols in what they call hot-spot neighborhoods, making seven arrests not connected to the shootings and seizing drugs and illegal weapons.

In an open letter, Mayor Ras Baraka described the shootings as "one of the worst nights of violence" during his tenure and called on residents to do their part.

"We all have to get involved and some of us have to start with our own living room, our own bedroom, start with the kids in our own household," Baraka said.

Leaders stressed the violence is a symptom of long-standing social issues that have to finally be confronted.

"Violence is not a Newark problem; it's an American problem," one person said, adding law enforcement can't do it alone.

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