CAMDEN, NJ—The number of violent crimes committed in Camden City are down from last year, according to a report from the New Jersey State Police.

The uniform crime report, released on July 20 by the state police, shows the number of homicides, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts that occurred from January to June of 2018 compared to the same time period in 2017. So far, the city has seen an 18.6 percent drop in violent crimes, but an 11.7 percent raise in non-violent crimes.

"Our police officers are continuing to make a real impact in Camden’s neighborhoods and the overall city by focusing on the tenets of community policing," Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr., liaison to the Camden County Police Department, said. "These numbers are a great indicator and another step in the right direction."

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The city saw the biggest drop in the number of recorded rapes, down from 43 cases in 2017 to 30 this year, a drop of 30 percent. The number of attempted rapes also dropped from three to one so far in 2018.

The number of homicides remained the same, with eight recorded murders in the first six months of both 2017 and 2018.

Another big drop occurred in assault cases, with 2018 seeing 104 less assaults occur over the same six-month period in 2017, down from 476 to 372. Armed robberies are also down from 2017, from 185 cases to 171 cases, or 7.6 percent. The number of burglaries also dropped from 255 to 220.

Cappelli said that other factors such as economic development and advances in the education system have also contributed to a decrease in crime across the city.

"It all contributes to an increase in public safety," Cappelli said. "As always, this does not mean we have achieved a crime level we are internally happy with, but it signifies significant progress."

However, the city saw an increase in simple assault, larceny and motor vehicle theft. Simple assaults rose from 1,346 to 1,431; there are 68 more larcenies so far in 2018 compared to 2017; and there are 100 more motor vehicles thefts so far in 2018 than in 2017, a 60 percent increase.

CCPD spokesperson Dan Keashen said since the data for Sate Police report has been collected, there has been a 28 percent decrease in motor vehicle thefts thanks to arrests that have been made in tandem with other law enforcement agencies to break up two motor vehicle theft rings that were significant contributors to the rise in the beginning of the year. He said 85 percent of the vehicles stolen have been recovered.

According to the CCPD, 40 percent of the motor vehicle thefts were of cars left with the keys in the ignition and running. As a result, the police department started its "Park Smart" public service campaign, installing signs in neighborhoods reminding residents to not leave their cars running and to keep valuables out of their vehicles.

The CCPD has also been active on social media, posting tips on both their Facebook and Twitter pages on how to avoid having a motor vehicle broken into or stolen, such as parking in a garage or driveway; parking in well-lit areas; and using theft deterrent systems such as car alarms, wheel lock devices and kill switches.

Across all of Camden County, overall crime is down 4.5 percent so far in 2018, according to the report.