State police: Crime down sharply in Camden
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
CAMDEN – The city’s streets grew safer over the first nine months of 2018, with double-digit percentage drops for murders and four other major crimes, New Jersey State Police statistics show.
But the lower figures, which mirrored a statewide improvement, also indicated Camden residents remained more vulnerable to violent crime than their suburban counterparts.
“We still have a long way to go and we will continue to work as hard as possible to further reduce overall crime,” said Camden County Freeholder Louis Cappelli Jr., who described the city’s gains as “historic.”
Overall, the city saw decreases of 22.5 percent for violent crimes and 5.7 percent for nonviolent offenses.
The biggest improvement was a 28.6 percent decrease for murders over the year’s first nine months, according to the state police.
The data also note declines of 27.1 percent for assaults, 21.1 percent for burglaries, 13.8 percent for sex crimes and 12.3 percent for robberies.
Only two categories measured by the state police showed increases: simple assaults, the offense with the most victims; and motor vehicle thefts. Both rose about 6 percent from the year-before period.
Total offenses — major crimes and simple assaults — fell by 4.6 percent.
“The drop in violent crime is unprecedented and is also part of the other positive indicators in the city, like a growing graduation rate, drop in poverty, and economic development,” said Cappelli.
He credited officers of the county police department, saying they “continue to build bonds with the community and focus on engaging residents.”
The county department began patrolling Camden in May 2013, one year after the city saw a record 67 homicides under a municipal police force depleted by layoffs.
Camden had 15 murders in this year’s first nine months, down from 21 a year earlier. The city had 23 slayings in all of 2017, when homicides fell by 51.1 percent.
The most recent homicide occurred Saturday, when 27-year-old Jovany Torres died in a daylight shooting near 27th and Berkley streets in East Camden.
Despite the improvements, the city saw more than 65 percent of all violent crimes in Camden County and about 23 percent of nonviolent crimes in the latest period.
The city was the scene of more than half of the county’s murders, rapes, assaults and simple assaults for the year through September, according to state police.
But the law enforcement agency noted multiple areas of improvement, including decreases of 30 percent for assaults involving guns and 12.3 percent for holdups with firearms.
It said the city’s smallest decrease, 3.3 percent, occurred for larcenies, or thefts.
The number of simple assaults climbed 6.3 percent to 2,230, compared to 2,098 in the year-before period.
Motor vehicle thefts — a category that accounts for missing autos, trucks, buses and other vehicles — rose by 6 percent.
Auto thefts rose by 11.3 percent from the year-before period. However, that was an improvement over the first six months of 2018, when auto thefts were up by 60 percent from a year earlier.
Police said the surge occurred because some residents, feeling more secure in their surroundings, had begun leaving keys in their vehicles.
The county department responded with a Park Smart campaign, urging motorists via street signs and social media to take precautions against thieves.
Originally published here by www.courierpostonline.com