Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Jersey police layoffs result in increased crime rates

Police in Newark and Camden made nearly 7,700 fewer arrests last year than in 2010 as violent crime rose during the same period in the wake of some of the largest police layoffs in New Jersey history, reported the Star-Ledger.

After looming budget deficits forced the two cities to lay off more than 160 cops each, the combined number of arrests fell to 25,012 last year from 32,703 in 2010, records show. Camden’s arrest rate dropped 43 percent last year from 2010, while Newark’s dropped by 16 percent.

According to the Star-Ledger, the decline in arrests has been more pronounced in Camden, where 240 officers remain. In 2009, Camden police made 11,279 arrests. That number dropped to 9,380 in 2010 and to 5,348 last year. Meanwhile, homicides rose from 34 in 2009, to 39 in 2010, to 50 last year. Non-fatal shootings and burglaries also rose in each of the three years, records show.

In Newark, the number of arrests last year was down for the third year in a row, continuing a trend that began in 2009, records show.

In 2008, there were 31,075 arrests and the 67 homicides that year were the fewest since 2002. In 2009, however, the number of arrests dropped by 7 percent, to 28,742. They fell another 19 percent, to 23,323, in 2010 and by 16 percent last year, to 19,664, reported the Star-Ledger.

The layoffs in Newark, which took effect Dec. 1, 2010, seemed to have an immediate effect on arrests. Between January and June of 2011, police recorded nearly 4,000 fewer arrests than they did during the same period in 2010, reported the Star-Ledger.

As arrests continued to decline in Newark, the number of homicides rose each year since 2008. There were 91 homicides last year, the most since 2007. Non-fatal shootings followed a similar arc, rising from 258 in 2009 to 349 last year, police records show.

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