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PO BOX 004

Tom Wilson, Governor's Office
(609) 777-2600
John R. Hagerty, State Police Public Information Office
(609) 882-2000 x6515
Chuck Davis, Attorney General's Office
(609) 292-4791
RELEASE: Thursday, August 30, 2001


Statewide Crime Continues Downward Trend With 4 Percent Decline
- Lowest Crime Rate In 30 Years Means Safer Neighborhoods -

Link to 2000 Crime Report Table of Contents
Note: Each Section Is Currently Available In PDF Format
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       Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco, Attorney General John J. Farmer, Jr., Col. Carson J. Dunbar, Jr., Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, and Chief Vernon Henderson (Spring Lake Heights Police Department), President of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, today announced that overall crime in New Jersey dropped 4 percent in 2000, continuing a five-year drop in crime and criminal activity throughout the state. The downward trend means safer streets, neighborhoods and municipalities, the officials said.

       The annual 2000 Crime In New Jersey Uniform Crime Report (UCR) recorded an overall per-capita crime rate of 31.6 crimes per 1,000 residents -- a statistic that represents the lowest crime rate in over 30 years. The crime rate is based on the federal Uniform Crime Reporting system designation of the seven index offenses - murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.

      The New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit tabulated a total of 265,840 index offenses in 2000 compared to the 277,472 offenses recorded in 1999. The 2000 crime index statistic represents the lowest number of recorded crimes since 1972 when New Jersey reported 223,517 total crimes.

        "The crime rate in New Jersey has been dropping for the past several years, reaching its lowest point in nearly 30 years. While the tough laws we've passed in the Legislature have undoubtedly helped reduce crime, the backbone of crime prevention will always be good, solid law enforcement. As today's statistics demonstrate, New Jersey continues to be a safer place to live and work," said acting Governor DiFrancesco.

       Attorney General Farmer said, "I am gratified by these new and encouraging crime statistics. While the factors that influence crime are often complex, intertwined and difficult to analyze, one thing is clear from these UCR numbers - the overall crime rate in New Jersey continues to drop. And that translates directly into safer streets, safer schools, safer neighborhoods and, ultimately, a better quality of life for all New Jerseyans.

       "I'm proud to say that we in the Department of Law and Public Safety have encouraged - and continue to witness - an unprecedented level of cooperation among local, county, federal and state law enforcement agencies. I believe this climate of cooperation, along with the everyday bravery and commitment of those police officers who man the front lines, has been an important ingredient of our success.

        "Despite the continued success indicated through these statistics, however, we can not afford to become complacent. We will continue to work to reduce violence and gang activity, to keep illegal weapons and drugs out of our neighborhoods, to catch pedophiles, scam artists and others who would exploit the Internet for illegal purposes and to deter all manner of other criminal activity."

        According to Superintendent Dunbar, 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 policing resources.

         In 2000, the violent crime categories of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault dropped 4 percent (from 33,579 crimes in 1999 to 32,276 crimes in 2000) - the seventh consecutive year in which violent crime dropped across the state. The non-violent crime group of burglary, larceny/theft and motor vehicle theft also decreased 4 percent (from 243,893 offenses in 1999 to 233,564 reported crimes in 2000).

         The number of recorded murders remained statistically unchanged in 2000, increasing by less than one-half of one percent (from 287 murders in 1999 to 288 murders in 2000). Even with the recording of an additional murder during the 2000 report period, the murder rate continues to represent the lowest number of such crimes since 1967, when 274 murders were recorded statewide.

        The individual crime categories report the following statistics:

  • rape decreased 4 percent (from 1,412 crimes in 1999 to 1,352 crimes in 2000);
  • robbery dropped 5 percent (from 14,251 reports in 1999 to 13,550 reports in 2000);
  • aggravated assault dropped 3 percent (from 17,629 reported offenses in 1999 to 17,086 offenses in 2000);
  • burglary dropped 7 percentage points (from 47,135 in 1999 to 43,934 in 2000);
  • larceny/theft declined 4 percent (from 161,363 reported crimes in 1999 to 155,480 crimes in 2000);
  • motor vehicle theft declined 4 percent (from 35,395 offenses in 1999 to 34,150 offenses in 2000).

         "Law enforcement professionals throughout New Jersey can take pride in the Uniform Crime Report being released today. These numbers are more than just dry statistics. They represent a better quality of life for the people in the communities we serve and we are committed to doing our best to see that this downward trend continues into the future," Chief Henderson said.

         Juvenile arrests for violent crimes dropped 5 percent in 2000 (from 15,358 arrests in 1999 to 14,522 arrests last year). Overall juvenile crime dropped 6 percent from 71,567 arrests in 1999 to 67,532 arrests in 2000.

         In viewing the 2000 crime statistics with those of the nation and the Northeast region, Attorney General Farmer noted that New Jersey's 4 percent drop in overall crime exceeds the national and regional crime rates - no change in the national crime index and a 2.4 percent drop in the Northeast Region crime rate. Similarly, New Jersey's 4 percent drop in violent and non-violent crime surpasses the national and regional crime reductions as reported for 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 revised education policies;
  • the employment of innovative crime fighting techniques such as community policing programs, bicycle patrols and other community-based police responsibilities;
  • the introduction of new technologies such as in-car camera systems, mobile data computers and other technological advancements as implemented in New Jersey's state and municipal police departments over the past year;
  • the implementation of a centralized State Police-operated 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 2000 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 2000 New Jersey crime report independently tracks the specific crime categories of carjacking, domestic violence and bias crime (crime categories not tracked under the federal UCR crime reporting system). Carjacking incidents increased 11 percent from the 380 offenses reported in 1999 to 420 offenses in 2000. Domestic violence dropped 4 percent from 80,681 offenses reported in 1999 to 77,680 offenses recorded in 2000 and bias crime increased 5 percent from the 679 reports recorded in 1999 to the 710 reports in 2000.

         Each section of the state - urban, suburban and rural - also logged decreases in criminal activity. Urban crime dropped 5 percent (from 169,346 offenses in 1999 to 160,108 offenses in 2000), suburban crime declined 2 percent (from 90,075 offenses in 1999 to 88,236 offenses in 2000) and criminal activity in rural New Jersey dropped 3 percent (from 18,051 reported crimes in 1999 to 17,496 reported crimes in 2000).

         The report notes that in 2000, no New Jersey police officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty. However, 3,158 police officers were assaulted in 2000, a one percent drop from 1999, a year in which 3,191 police officers were assaulted in the line of duty.

         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 two county park police agencies. Collectively, a total of 555 law enforcement agencies submit reports to the State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit.

         The 2000 New Jersey Uniform Crime Report is available via the New Jersey State Police Web Page at: www.njsp.org. Printed copies of the 2000 UCR are available by contacting the State Police Public Information Office at 609-882-2000 x6515.

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