Crime statistics posted on the Jersey City Police Department’s Web site (www.njjcpd.org) show there were 15 homicides in the first six months of this year, as opposed to seven from January to June 2007. This is a 114 percent jump from last year.
The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) also list violent crimes other than murder (rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and non-violent crime (burglary, theft, and arson).
From Jan. 1 to June 30 of this year there were 3,443 non-violent incidents, as opposed to 3,126 reported during the same time last year, an increase of over 10 percent.
Also, in this year’s first six months, there were 1,269 violent incidents reported as opposed to 1,157 at the same time last year, an increase of nearly 10 percent.
But there were also many arrests.
From January to June 2008, the police made 5,750 adult arrests and 524 juvenile arrests. Adult arrests are up, while juveniles arrested were down. From January through June of 2007, the police made 5,611 adult arrests and 668 juvenile arrests.From a prosecutor’s perspective
Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said last week, “It is a very difficult proposition to compare homicide numbers for a one-year period to another one-year period.”
DeFazio heads the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, which carries out homicide investigations in all 12 of Hudson County’s municipalities in conjunction with the local police departments.
DeFazio continued, “You need to study [homicides] on a more extensive time period, because you can have an aberrant year like it was in 2005 when there were extraordinary amount of homicides.”
In 2005, there were 37 homicides in Jersey City, the highest number since 1982.
At the current pace of homicides in Jersey City, there could be 30 by the end of this year.
DeFazio also said that compared to the homicide rate in other urban centers in the United States, Jersey City is “well within the average.”
But he still lamented what he saw as “too many homicides” nationwide, especially with handguns involved.
According to DeFazio, 11 of the 15 homicides in Jersey City so far this year were committed with a handgun. One bright note
DeFazio is not only the county prosecutor, but also a resident of Jersey City along with his wife. DeFazio saw a possible positive point: he believes the increase in non-violent and violent incidents means more incidents are being reported to police by Jersey City residents.
He said that the UCR is an element of the COMPSTAT (Computer Statistics) program used by the Jersey City Police Department to track crime incidents, and to generate electronic pin maps of crime locations for a faster and better response.
DeFazio defended the Jersey City Police Department, saying they do “the best job possible” with the resources they have.
DeFazio added, “The problem is we see people want to misdirect blame, and that has to be focused on those who are offending society, who are continuing to engage in illegal activity.” The public responds
On Tuesday, Jersey City celebrated National Night Out, a yearly nationwide event where residents are asked to leave their porch lights on to show their opposition to neighborhood crime.
There were also celebrations organized in four of the city’s parks with free food, music, games and giveaways.
Police came out to those celebrations. At Audubon Park in the Greenville section of the city, about a thousand people were in attendance.
Among those taking part in the celebration was Vivian Brazell Hemingway, a Wade Street resident who received for an award from the Jersey City Police Department for her community work in the Greenville area.
When told about the increase in violent and non-violent crimes from last year, she commented that it was “sad.”
“You have kids hanging out in the streets, and they should be doing something positive,” Hemingway said. “There are a lot of good things going on in Jersey City, and this city has a lot to offer.” Comments on this story can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org