| Things to think about
Jersey crime rates vary greatly between communities.
or a perceived lack of safety, is among the reasons cited by
New Jerseyans for not wanting to live or do business in inner
could be a more striking measure of a healthy society than the
rate at which its citizens commit crimes against each other?
Crime’s impact does not stop with stolen property, lost health,
or fear – it encompasses the host of social issues that feed
it, such as unemployment and poverty. Fortunately, our crime
rate has been falling. It is now at its lowest level since the
and desperation contribute to high crime rates that chase people
from inner city neighborhoods that might otherwise be home to
productive businesses and families. It is a vicious cycle that
fights back against the people who try to break it. Meanwhile,
people are forced to spend their money on alarm systems, law
enforcement, and prisons.
abandon city centers, they cause new sprawl in suburban and
rural areas. "In-fill," or redevelopment of existing cities,
would spare environmental resources, but crime discourages people
from undertaking this kind of renovation. Money and resources
spent fighting crime divert resources away from other priorities
such as protecting our environment.
is an indicator of other deep social and economic problems.
It can reflect lack of opportunities, inadequate education,
and feelings of hopelessness. It is a strong, leading indicator
of economic stagnation, a shortage of well-trained workers,
and other problems that may await us in the future.
Data from the Uniform Crime Statistics capture
only crimes that have been reported. If minor crimes become
commonplace, or if people are scared or embarrassed to report
crimes such as rape, the reported crime rate could be misleading.
It would be desirable to have information, perhaps survey data,
on the percent of crimes that are reported.
Source: NJ Division of State Police