According to a recent report released by the New Jersey State police, crime rates rose 3% last year, the largest increase since 2008. This increase is attributed to a lower number of officers on police forces especially in certain cities including Newark, Elizabeth, and Camden. According to the article, “Crime in N.J. rose 3 percent last year, report says”,:
“Increases in crime were particularly evident in some cities that experienced significant declines in officers from 2010 to 2011, the annual Uniform Crime Report shows. In Newark, the city had 213 fewer officers last year and crime increased 10 percent, the report said, while Camden lost 101 officers and crime increased 22 percent. In Elizabeth, the city reported 29 fewer officers and saw a 5 percent increase in crime, the report said. Overall, the state lost 1,426 municipal police officers last year, a 6 percent decrease.”
Police departments also solved one (1) percent fewer crimes last year and nine (9) percent fewer violent crimes, which include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Further, approximately sixteen (16) percent fewer murders were cleared, six (6) percent fewer motor vehicle thefts, six (6) percent fewer robberies, ten (10) percent fewer aggravated assaults and three (3) percent fewer rapes. The number of burglaries solved increased eleven (11) percent, and larcenies cleared remained steady.
There appears to be a clear connection between a lower numbers of officers on duty and an increase in the crime rates in those areas. This is a concerning trend in New Jersey and must be addressed by the State and local municipalities despite the financial issues which lead to the cutting of police forces.