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Violent crime down, property crimes up in Toms River

New Jersey's Uniform Crime Report shows that crime in Toms River and in Ocean County increased from 2010 to 2011. This is in line with an overall increase statewide that many experts believe is the result of large layoffs in police departments across the state.

Although crime was up overall, the amount of violent crime dropped slightly. There were 101 violent crimes recorded in 2011, with 103 reported in 2010. However, nonviolent crimes - burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts and arson - rose by about 10 percent.

The Toms River chief of police believes that the change reflects more than just a bad economy. He believes that more local young people are becoming addicted to heroin and other drugs, and turn to theft to support their habits. His theory is borne out by the statistics, which show that larceny -- or thefts conducted without weapons or force -- was the leader among nonviolent crimes.

The recent increase in nonviolent crime is part of a bigger trend. Nonviolent crimes have become more frequent every year since 2005. The decrease in violent crime also fits the pattern, with 133 incidents reported in 2005 and 103 in 2011.

The majority of the violent crimes reported were robberies. Aggravated assaults were down in 2011, as were murders and rapes.

The overall crime rate increased in 2001, but the violent crime rate was steady - the decrease in reported violent incidents changed the rate per 1,000 residents by .1 percent. Only one type of violent crime saw an increase - rape. In 2010, 32 rapes were reported. In 2001 48 took place.

The crime rate is much lower in smaller Ocean County towns than in Toms River.

Source: Toms River Patch, "Report: Overall Toms River Crime Rate Up," Jan. 8, 2013.

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