Crime in New Jersey rose by 3 percent in 2011, according to the 2011 Uniform Crime Report recently released by state officials.
A total of 217,073 index crimes — seven offenses tracked by the police — were committed in the state last year, about 6,200 more than in 2010.That works out to a crime rate of almost 25 per 1,000 people. All of the increase was among nonviolent crimes — burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft — which numbered 189,900. There were 10 fewer violent crimes — murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — in 2011 than in 2010.
“The latest crime data shows a slight increase in the overall crime rate in New Jersey,” said Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa in announcing the release of the data. He added that “the factors that influence crime trends are complex and interwoven” and said that law enforcement officials would continue to work to combat crime “during what remains a tough economic time for much of our state and our nation.”
Historically, poor economic times have led to increased crime in the United States and other countries. The number of crimes rose as the number of police employees dropped across New Jersey. According to the report, the number of full-time police employees, including civilians, dropped by 13 percent in just one year to just under 46,000. The number of police officers declined by 9 percent, to about 35,000. Among violent crimes, the incidence of murder, rape and robbery rose slightly. Burglaries and motor vehicle thefts rose by more significant amounts — 11 percent to more than 43,000 for burglaries and 12 percent to more than 17,000 for vehicle thefts.
According to the state’s offense clock, every 24 hours there are 1 murder, 3 rapes, 3 arsons, 33 robberies, 37 aggravated assaults, 48 vehicle thefts, 118 burglaries, and 354 larcenies.
The report states that criminals stole more than $390 million in cash, vehicles, and other items last year, a 10 percent increase. Police recovered about 27 percent of that amount.
Overall, the number of index crimes was still less than in 2008, when there were 227,177 offenses. However, the number of burglaries in 2011 was the highest since 2003.
The map shows the overall crime rate by municipality last year. Law enforcement officials caution that the rate could be skewed in communities with a disproportionately large number of crimes for their year-round population, because they attract large numbers of tourists or workers.
You can use the interactive map on NJ Spotlight’s website.