Latest Crime Data Shows Statewide Overall Crime Rate Down 9 Percent

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TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow released the 2009 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) which shows the overall crime rate in New Jersey dropped nine percent compared to 2008, with a significant 15 percent drop in the number of murders reported statewide in 2009.

Total violent crime decreased four percent from 28,281 reported incidents to 27,108, the eighth consecutive year of a drop in the violent crime index.  Rape decreased four percent from 1,090 to 1,041. Robberies decreased eight percent from 12,694 to 11,637 and aggravated assaults decreased less-than one-half percent from 14,121 to 14,110.

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The number of murders dropped in 2009 from 376 to 320.  This marks the lowest reported murder rate in a decade.  In 2000 there were 288 murders reported by the state’s 21 county prosecutors.

“Our latest crime data shows reductions in just about all major categories of crime. This is testimony to the skill and dedication of the men and women of our law enforcement community,” said Attorney General Dow. “While I am encouraged by this downward trend in the overall crime index and violent crime, law enforcement will have to continue to work even harder and smarter, especially during this economic crisis facing our state and nation.”

The annual UCR, prepared by the State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit, measures offenses committed during the period spanning from January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009.  The report contains data on the rate of reported Index Crimes – offenses which fall into seven crime categories, including the four violent index crimes of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and three nonviolent index crimes of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.  The UCR also contains separate statistical reports on bias crimes, carjacking and domestic violence.

According to the report, firearms were used in 68 percent (219) and cutting instruments in 14 percent (44) of all murders.  In 32 percent or 102 of the murders, the offender and victim knew each other; specifically, 24 percent or 77 were friends or acquaintances and 8 percent or 25 were family members.  Felony murders accounted for 21 percent of all murder circumstances.  Robbery was the motive in 47 percent of the 68 felony murders. Thirty-nine domestic violence murders were recorded in 2009.  Drug-related and or gang-related circumstances accounted for 5 percent or 15 of the murders recorded.

There were 4,770 arrests reported for weapons offenses, a decrease of 9 percent compared to 2008.  Of the total arrested, 26 percent were juveniles.

The total crime rate for the state was 23.9 victims for every 1,000 residents, compared to a rate of 26.2 victims per 1,000 residents in 2008.

The violent crime rate was 3.1 victims per 1,000 residents, a slight drop from 3.3 victims per 1,000 residents in 2008.

There were 73,709 domestic violence offenses reported by the police in 2009, a 4 percent increase compared to the 70,613 reported in 2008.  The number of murders attributed to domestic violence circumstances decreased 32 percent (39) compared to (57) the previous year.

Bias-related crimes reported to police decreased 22 percent in 2009, compared to 2008.  There were 683 bias incident offenses reported, compared to 876 the previous year.  Harassment accounted for 41 percent (280) of all bias offenses, while criminal mischief and property damage accounted for 39 percent (264).  Racial bias accounted for 39 percent (268) of all bias incident crimes in 2009, down from 47 percent a year earlier.

Nonviolent Crime (burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) decreased 9 percent from 198,896 to 180,733.  Burglary decreased 8 percent, from 40,132 in 2008 to 36,928 in 2009.  Larceny-Theft declined 7 percent, from 138,644 in 2008 to 128,304 a year later.  Motor vehicle thefts decreased 23 percent, from 20,120 offenses in 2008 to 15,501 in 2009.

The 2009 Uniform Crime Report can be viewed  at: www.njsp.org/info/ucr2009/index.html


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