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Increase in violent and other crimes attributed to fewer police

Although crime has increased in New Jersey during the past year, most experts attribute that increase to a reduction in police forces rather than an increase in criminal activity. In 2011, crime rose by three percent, the largest annual increase since 2008.

Cities that experienced significant declines in the number officers also experienced the biggest increases in crime, according to the annual Uniform Crime Report. For example, Newark had 213 fewer officers last year and Camden lost 101 officers. Crime increased 10 percent in Newark and 22 percent in Camden. Elizabeth saw a decrease of 29 officers and an increase of five percent in crime.

The state of New Jersey lost 1,426 city police officers in 2011. This represents a six percent decrease in the number of police.

Police departments solved one percent fewer crimes and nine percent fewer violent crimes such as murder rape, robbery and aggravated assault. However, police solved 11 percent more burglary cases.

In addition to solving fewer cases, strapped police departments were unable to prevent crime as effectively, which accounted for some of the increase, according to state officials.

Because parts of New Jersey were particularly hard hit by the economic downturn, the state's increase in violent crime is out of step with national trends. Across the U.S., violent crime was down in 2011 for the fifth year in a row.

Source, NJ.com, "Crime in N.J. rose 3 percent last year, report says," by Christopher Baxter, Dec. 14, 2012.

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