RAHWAY — City police solved fewer than one out of four reported crimes in the city last year, according to current State Police data but that shoddy record is not stopping interim Mayor Samson Steinman from using taxpayer money to boast that violent crime is down.
A press release and broadcast on city-funded Nixle showed the number of crimes reported in the city continued a 20-year trend, dropping from 763 in 2011, to 675 in 2012 and to 615 last year, but critics say it is disconcerting that police have become ineffective in bringing criminals to justice.
In four months, the city had at least three shootings but none of the guns used in those crimes have been recovered by authorities.
State Police data for Rahway 2013 shows that only 138 of 615 offenses were cleared. In 2012, 192 of 675 crimes were solved by police. While it is great that the number of crimes dropped from 763 in 2011, to 675 in 2012 and to 615 last year, it is disconcerting that police have become ineffective in bringing criminals to justice.
“This is a failure of leadership because deployment and resource allocation are fundamental to the success of law enforcement,” said Democrat James J. Devine, the mayoral candidate opposing Steinman in the June 3 primary. “Rahway should ban local political involvement among police the same way federal employees are prohibited from partisan politics.”
Police Chief John Rodger and his wife, a sergeant detective under his command, are both members of the Union County Democratic Committee and key political advisors to Steinman.
“Rahway should also set traffic lights to overlap at key intersections with frequent auto collisions and stop robbing drivers with red light cameras that raked in $1.2 million last year,” said Devine. “Replacing police with public health officials would make more sense than waging a war on drugs that has produced 40 years of failure.”
State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, who represents Rahway, has introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana.
“Uniting police with the community must also be a priority for solving the problem of crime,” said Devine, who remarks were echoed on the RahwayDems.org website. “We cannot expect society to embrace the people who would do us harm, but few people today recognize the police department’s mission ‘to protect and serve.’ This is particularly true among groups that are more prone to being victims of crime.”
“Rahway cannot stop crime or capture offenders by pretending this problem does not exist,” according to a statement posted at RahwayDems.org. “Kids are shooting each other on our streets and city officials have been quiet. In this example of rising gun violence, the cover up is worse than the crime.”
“Real leaders know that the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that it exists,” the statement concluded. “Police failure to solve crimes, especially such brutal offenses as armed robbery and gun violence, is a problem that cannot be covered up because lives are at stake.”
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!