Earlier this year, presidential candidate Donald J. Trump made some frightening statements at the Republican National Convention about how there was a surge in violent crime nationwide. Afterwards, many experts parsed his comments and pointed out that they were misleading and oversimplified a very complex issue. This happens often when it comes to relaying crime statistics. Even in New Jersey, which has a national reputation of being crime ridden, the actual facts are more complicated than has otherwise been indicated. So, is crime on the rise or on the decline in our state? The answer is yes and no. Newark still has a crime rate that is considerably higher than average compared to all communities in America with Newark raking as one of the most dangerous cities in America. However, statewide figures contain good news about the first quarter of 2016. Crime in all categories was down by 24.4% over the same period in 2015. As an example, in the first quarter of 2016 violent crime in Camden actually fell by 6.2% for the same period last year.
But as is often the case, good news is often a companion of the bad which is why it is dangerous to oversimplify the facts when it comes to relaying crime statistics. On a city by city basis, crime rates vary. Thirty-four percent of the state’s murders occurred in Newark in 2016. The best thing people can do if they wish to get a complete and accurate view of crime statistics is to use the resources available to them and look at city by city crime data. One such resource to visit for a complete picture of crime by community is the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).