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Crime Rates Drop 17% During First Half of 2012

There were 346 reports of crime in West Orange from January to June in 2012, compared to 417 crimes reported in 2011 during the same time.

 

Overall crime dropped by 17 percent during the first six months of the year, though assaults and motor vehicle thefts have increased, according to township’s Uniform Crime Report. 

 “If you look over the past 15 years, [crime] has significantly declined,” said West Orange Police Chief James Abbott.

There were 417 total crimes reported from January to June in 2011, according to the UCR. Total crime dropped to 346 during the same period in 2012, a 17 percent decrease. However, the statistics for 2012 are still estimates because they have yet to be verified by the state. 

There was a decrease in robberies from 24 during the first half of 2011 to 7 in 2012, and an increase in motor vehicle thefts from 25 in 2011 to 42 in 2012. Other statistics include: 

 

 

Offences 

 

2011 January - June 2012 January - June   Homicide 1 0 Arson 3 0 Rape 2 0 Robbery 24 7 Aggravated Assault 18 21 Burglary 94 69 Larceny 240 207

Motor Vehicle Theft

 

35 42 Total 417 346

 

Mayor Robert Parisi also weighed in on the declining crime numbers. 

“The overall trend has been continually going down, and we are happy about that,” said Parisi. 

In 1997 when Abbott was sworn in as chief, there were 1,690 total crimes reported and 1,760 the year after that. That number has continued to fall since. Police reported 783 total crimes in 2009, 668 in 2010, and 878 in 2011. 

Previous crime reports can be found here. A breakdown of crime since 1997 can also be found in the photo gallery. 

Abbott cautioned about the pitfalls of concentrating too much on the UCR, however. He noted that crime rates in any town can spike or decline for innumerable reasons. 

He noted the recent spat of armed robberies and the at Misty’s Restaurant and bar earlier this month as examples of the fluctuations that can occur.  

“We’ve had some bad things lately, nobody is hiding on that,” said Abbot. “But we will deal with them. And we have made some good arrests and some real cooperative investigations with county and state and federal agencies ....”

The decline in crime comes a year after the department laid off . With four vacancies in the police department this year, there are currently 92 officers on staff.

In a recent article on Patch, Christopher Jacksic, president of the West Orange police union, PBA Local 25, said the department is -- down from a high of 122 in 2006 -- and related to increases in overtime. 

Parisi said in the coming week, the administration will seek approval from the council to fund new initiatives to combat crimes, including working more closely with Orange. He also hinted at a possible restructuring of the police department, which may include the hiring of additional officers. 

“We plan on hiring more cops; it is all going to have to be part of a restructuring townwide because the law says we can only raise taxes two percent, and that doesn’t give us a lot of room,” said Parisi. 

Michelle Cadeau August 24, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Did you see it?
Gary Englert August 25, 2012 at 12:38 AM
^ And here is just a little bit more of wohopeful's repetitive, cowardly, anonymous Internet nonsense...and I'll buy a porterhouse if someone can get this nitwit to bring it into the nearest occupied lion's cage.
Ken August 25, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Pretty doubtful. I recall a good number of robberies in the Gregory and Montrose areas that finally ended when SOPD caught the guy, whose name escapes me, who was a habitual burglar. If all his crimes didn't cause it to go up in the first half of the year, I doubt the current rash will, either.
Ken August 25, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I again reiterate my offer to chip in for the moving truck. Whenever you're ready to go, I'm in. I'll even throw in a couple empty boxes and some packing tape.
Ken August 25, 2012 at 01:17 PM
There have been countless mentions over the past year of how the reduced number of WOPD officers hasn't led to a reduced number of officers on the street at any given time. The articles here about overtime, the comments of the union head, and even listening to the scanner for any length of time all seem to indicate this is true. Having more officers would be wonderful, though we all know the exact same people who continually harp on how unsafe they think we are would all have complete meltdowns if they were asked to pay a few dollars more a year in municipal tax to hire some new officers. But in a town as spread out as WO, even if you had 2 or even 4 more guys on a shift, it's pretty difficult to prevent things like burglaries from occurring in the first place. We're an urban-rim town; we have easy access to a fast interstate highway; we have lots of little windy suburban streets filled with homes where no one is home all day to keep an eye on the neighborhood -- there's only so much you can do.

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