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  NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE
OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE

 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:August 08, 2000

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

John R. Hagerty, NJSP
(609) 882-2000 x6515
Roger Shatzkin, Attorney General's Office
(609) 292-4791
Pete McDonough, Governor's Office
(609)777-2600
 
 

GOVERNOR WHITMAN ISSUES 1999 CRIME REPORT

Overall Crime Continues Downward Trend In 1999:
Violent Crime Down 6 Percent; Murder Down 11 Percent


View 1999 Crime Report

       East Rutherford, NJ - Governor Christie Whitman today announced that overall crime in New Jersey dropped 6 percent in 1999, continuing a four-year downward trend of safer streets, neighborhoods and municipalities. Additionally, the violent crime categories of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault dropped for the sixth consecutive year, with the number of murders at the lowest level since 1967, the first year New Jersey State Police began recording consolidated crime statistics.

       The New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit tabulated a total of 277,472 index offenses in 1999 compared with 296,638 offenses recorded in 1998. This 1999 index offense statistic represents the lowest number of recorded crimes since 1972, when New Jersey reported 223,517 total crimes. Furthermore, New Jersey's 1999 crime rate represents the lowest per-capita crime rate since 1971. The crime rate is based on index offenses, which include the seven most significant crime categories as designated by the federal Uniform Crime Reporting system. The seven index crime offenses are murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

       "A fundamental right of people living in a civilized society is to be safe from crime. As today's statistics demonstrate, New Jersey is even a safer place in which to live, work and raise a family," said Governor Whitman.

       "We can't take sole responsibility for the decline in crime, though I'm sure our state's strong economy plays a role," she said. "But the stronger laws we've enacted and the support we've given the police have surely helped.

       "We're winning new battles in the fight against crime every day. On the front line of those battles are our men and women in blue, and I'm proud of the work they are doing. Although we only break down their hard work into numbers once or twice a year when we report statewide crime statistics, we owe them a debt of gratitude every day," the Governor said.

       Joining the Governor from the steps of East Rutherford Boro Hall in Bergen County to issue the 1999 Crime In New Jersey-Uniform Crime Report were Attorney General John J. Farmer, Jr., New Jersey State Police Major Barry Roberson, Acting Deputy Superintendent for Operations, Thomas Michaud, Chief of the Princeton Borough (Mercer County) Police Department and President of the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police, Morris County Prosecutor John Dangler, President of the New Jersey Prosecutors Association, Chief John R. LaGreca, East Rutherford Police Department and other representatives of New Jersey's law enforcement community.

       "When it comes to these new and very encouraging crime statistics numbers that suggest citizens in New Jersey are safer from crime than they have been in almost three decades I like to think the combined, and often collaborative efforts of our state's law enforcement agencies and the officers on the front lines have made a difference," said Attorney General Farmer.

       "Whether it involves long-standing battles, such as efforts to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs into our neighborhoods, or relatively new frontiers, such as the wars on insurance fraud and computer crime, law enforcement in New Jersey has been working harder and smarter," Farmer said. "We have encouraged and are receiving an unprecedented level of cooperation among local, county, federal and state law enforcement agencies, and these collaborative efforts are paying off. However, we can never let down our guard. We will continue our aggressive fight against crime until all New Jersey citizens are kept safe and free from harm."

       According to the State Police, the annual Crime In New Jersey Report, Carjacking Offense Report, Domestic Violence Offense Report and Bias Incident Offense Report are prepared by the State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit. Each report tracks demographic, victim, and offender data in an effort to identify specific problem areas and to allow law enforcement agencies across the state to better track offenses and allocate resources.

       In 1999, the violent crime categories of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault dropped 6 percent (from 35,722 crimes in 1998 to 33,579 crimes in 1999). The non-violent crime group of burglary, larceny/theft and motor vehicle theft decreased 7 percent (from 260,916 offenses in 1998 to 243,893 reported crimes in 1999).

       Murder declined 11 percent in 1999 (from 321 in 1998 to 287 in 1999. The 1999 murder rate represents the lowest number of murders in 33 years when 274 murders were recorded in 1967 - the first year the State Police began recording statewide crime statistics.

       The individual crime categories recorded the following statistics: rape decreased 13 percent (from 1,623 crimes in 1998 to 1,412 crimes in 1999); robbery dropped 6 percent (from 15,115 reports in 1998 to 14,251 reports in 1999); aggravated assault dropped 6 percent (from 18,663 reported offenses in 1998 to 17,629 reported offenses in 1999); burglary dropped 13 percentage points (from 54,491 in 1998 to 47,135 in 1999); larceny/theft declined 6 percent (from 171,267 reported crimes in 1998 to 161,363 reported crimes in 1999). Motor vehicle theft was the only index crime category which recorded an increase of one percent (from 35,158 offenses in 1998 to 35,395 offenses in 1999).

       Juvenile arrests for violent and non-violent crime in New Jersey dropped 13 percent in 1999 (from 17,611 arrests in 1998 compared to 15,358 arrests in 1999) with dramatic reductions in all juvenile arrest categories, including arrests for murder down 33 percent, rape arrests dropped 8 percent, arrests for robbery declined 11 percent, aggravated assault arrests down 14 percent and motor vehicle theft arrests dropped 20 percent.

       In viewing the 1999 crime statistics with those of the nation and the Northeast region, Attorney General Farmer noted that New Jersey's 6 percent drop in overall crime closely tracks the national and regional rates that both saw a 7 percent decline. Similarly, New Jersey's 6 percent drop in violent crime and 7 percent decline in non-violent crime tracks national and regional crime trends over the past year.

       State Police analysts note that from the police perspective numerous factors are responsible for New Jersey's continued drop in crime, including enhanced police training and education policies and the employment of innovative crime fighting techniques such as community policing programs; new technologies such as in-car camera systems, mobile data computers and other technological advancements implemented in New Jersey's state and municipal police departments; the centralized State Police Fully Integrated Fingerprint Identification System (FIFIS) capable of immediately identifying criminal suspects before they can be released; longer sentences which keep career criminals behind bars for longer periods of time and a better educated, informed and wary public.

       The 1999 Crime In New Jersey Report contains seasonal crime rate data for New Jersey's 54 resort communities located in Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, Ocean, and Sussex Counties. An annual mean population estimate has been calculated using the most recent year-round data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. It should be noted that the seasonal crime rate estimates are not a complete measure of seasonal population because they include only those persons living in rental housing units or in vacant year-round housing. Not counted are the many day visitors and persons who occupy campgrounds, hotels, motels or bed and breakfast establishments or who stay with friends or relatives in the community.

       The 1999 report also tracked the specific crime categories of carjacking (declined 9 percent from 418 offenses in 1998 to 380 offenses in 1999), domestic violence (decreased 1 percent from 81,454 offenses reported in 1998 to 80,681 offenses recorded in 1999) and bias crime (23 percent decrease from 877 reports in 1998 to 679 reports in 1999).

       Each section of the state - urban, suburban and rural - also logged decreases in criminal activity. Urban crime dropped 5 percent (from 178,943 offenses in 1998 to 169,346 offenses in 1999), suburban crime declined 8 percent (from 98,307 offenses in 1998 to 90,075 offenses in 1999) and criminal activity in rural New Jersey dropped 7 percent (from 19,388 reported crimes in 1998 to 18,051 reported crimes in 1999).

       The report notes that in 1999, three New Jersey police officers were killed in the line of duty - Police Officer Joyce Anne Carnegie, Orange Police Department on April 8; Police Officer Kevin R. Greener, Fort Lee Police Department on Aug. 9 and Police Officer Steven L. Levy, Washington Township Police Department on Oct. 21.

       The annual New Jersey Uniform Crime Report, Carjacking Offense Report, Domestic Violence Offense Report and Bias Incident Offense Report are compiled by the State Police from crime statistics and information supplied by New Jersey's 481 full-time municipal police departments, three part-time municipal police departments and the State Police (reporting for 73 municipalities without local police services). In addition to the full-time municipal police departments there are nine police departments contracted by other municipalities.

       Additional arrest information and data are received from the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey's 21 county prosecutor's offices, sheriff departments, three county police departments and three county park police agencies. Collectively, a total of 556 law enforcement agencies submit reports to the State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit.

       The 1999 New Jersey Uniform Crime Report is available via the New Jersey State Police Web Page at:


http://www.njsp.org

 
      
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