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Newark: Behind the violence

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NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

I got connected to the Street Authority, who was like our all-access pass through dangerous territory in Newark. No matter what colors the gang bangers were wearing, they all saluted him and left us alone to see for ourselves what's going on.

When I saw a nice residential area in the notorious South Ward, I had my doubts it would live up to its bad rep. But the Street Authority warned looks can be deceiving. He told us it's "turned up," meaning a lot of violence lately. It's also home to one of the city's most promising rappers, Riq Bubz, who showed me around.

The Street Authority warned us about driving. No joke. He recommends keeping a car's length distance at stop lights so that if someone tries to carjack you, you have options for escape.

We spoke to community activist Al-Tarik Onque is working for a different escape -- from the cycle of violence. Right now he's trying to convince Cleavan Lambert to reject a criminal lifestyle that began when a gun was put in his hand at the age of 11, and got him shot five times. He just finished his latest "bid," slang for a prison term, and is struggling not to go back. It is an all too common story.

I sat down with 28-year-old Todd Carter just a few feet away from where he was last shot. He has taken more than 20 bullets in five separate incidents, been stabbed and has lost most of the use of his left arm.

Onque has been through the same circumstances and knows some just don't want to change. He said it starts with personal responsibility. Onque is hoping to create a new cycle of peace, where instead of the reflex being to shoot, the reflex is to help. And he is living this by his example.

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