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Crime Down 22 Percent in Lawrence, Chief Announces

Lawrence Township's crime statistics for 2012 were released by Police Chief Daniel Posluszny when he presented the police department's annual report to township council last week.

Overall crime in Lawrence Township decreased 22 percent in 2012 when compared to the previous year, Police Chief Daniel Posluszny announced when he delivered the police department’s 2012 annual report to members of Lawrence Township Council during their meeting last Tuesday (Feb. 19).

The police department last year handled 45,287 “calls for service,” with those calls including everything from investigating significant crimes to completing routine administrative duties. That’s a 14-percent decrease in comparison to the 52,684 such calls handled during 2011, the chief noted.

(The police chief’s report to township council begins at the 1:30 mark of meeting Audio Part 1, available in the Patch media box to the right. A PDF copy of the Lawrence Township Police Department’s 2012 Annual Report is available from both the township website and the Patch media box.)

Homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft and arson are considered “major crimes” that each police department in the state must report to the New Jersey State Police for inclusion in the annual Uniform Crime Report. The data is also forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A total of 981 UCR crimes took place in Lawrence Township during 2012, a drop of 22 percent compared to 1,253 in 2011.

As in 2011, there were no homicides in 2012; the last homicide in Lawrence Township occurred in 2001. Rapes increased by two and arsons went up by one in 2012 compared to 2011.

But all other categories saw decreases last year in comparison to 2011, most notably in burglaries, which went down 27 percent, going from 131 in 2011 to 95 last year. (The 131 burglaries that took place in 2011 represented a 41 percent increase from 2010, according to the police department’s 2011 annual report.)

The breakdown of 2012 UCR crimes, as detailed in the 2012 annual report, is as follows:

Offense

2011

2012

Percent Change

Homicide

0

0

0 %

Rape

3

5

+ 67 %

Robbery

23

19

- 17 %

Assault

192

170

- 11 %

Burglary

131

95

- 27 %

Larceny / Theft

874

666

- 24 %

Motor Vehicle Theft

28

23

- 18 %

Arson

2

3

+ 50 %

Total

1253

981

- 22 %

Lawrence Township’s UCR statistics since 2002 are shown below:

Lawrence Township Police Department Crime Statistics

Offenses

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Homicide

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Rape

7

6

6

1

3

13

9

10

3

3

5

Robbery

33

27

18

17

27

19

19

19

19

23

19

Assault

248

208

200

235

161

159

175

148

151

192

170

Burglary

157

135

137

118

127

96

110

96

93

131

95

Larceny/Theft

865

774

883

885

843

730

735

656

717

874

666

Motor Vehicle Theft

102

82

77

57

47

52

46

31

16

28

23

Arson

4

2

5

3

7

4

8

14

9

2

3

Total

1416

1234

1326

1316

1215

1073

1102

974

1008

1253

981

During last week’s council meeting, Posluszny praised the department’s officers and detectives for doing a “wonderful job” at preventing and solving, despite the fact that the department is now down to just 58 uniformed members. Back in 2008, there were 70 sworn officers on the force, he said.

“The officers, I believe, have stepped up,” the chief told council.

But with the fact that eight veteran officers will be eligible to retire either this year or in 2014, and the fact that it takes about a year to get a rookie officer through the police academy and ready to patrol the streets on his own, Posluszny expressed concern about future staffing and told council that it was “imperative” to keep the number of officers from going lower than 58.

“I really, really would be hard-pressed [to keep crime from increasing] if we were to go under that number,” he said.

Mayor Jim Kownacki acknowledged that he too was concerned about the possibility of losing so many veteran officers and suggested that “something has to be done quick” to ensure adequate staffing in the future.   

The chief credited the department’s new 12-hour shift schedule – something that was suggested by the police officers’ union – with improving both administrative operations and crime suppression. With staggered shifts, there are more officers available to perform motor vehicle enforcements and other proactive measures in the afternoons, for example, he said.  

“We’re able to provide more officers at the times we need them,” he said of the new schedule that started last month.

 

Sanriobaby March 01, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Crime down? It sure doesn't feel like it.....

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