NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In 1991, New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill's first full year in office, the city saw 283 reports of robberies, 167 reported assaults and four murders among a total of 4,447 crime incidents, according to the state uniform crime report.
Fast forward 26 years. In 2017, the last year for which full statistics are available, city police handed 191 armed robberies and muggings, 143 assaults and four murders among 2,367 total criminal incidents, a decrease of nearly 50 percent, as Cahill noted in his state of the city address on New Year's Day.
That crime rate has dropped, Cahill's office is noting, while the city has continued to grow.
In 1990, the city population was just over 41,700 residents. Now, even as the crime rate has decreased, the number of people calling the city their home has risen to more than 55,000.
As the population has grown, so has the police department. Where there were 121 officers in 1991, today there are 152 officers, according to uniform crimes reports and city figures.
While noting that many factors contributed to reductions in crime, "the growth in our officer ranks has proven to be a critical part of our crime reduction efforts," city spokeswoman Jennifer Bradshaw said in a statement.
New Brunswick crime statistics were even lower before 2017. The total number of reported incidents in 2016 was 2,255, and in 2015 the number of incidents was 2,033, both lower than the total for 2017.
Statistics for 2015 and 2016 were lower even than in 2013 and 2014.
Still the numbers for the last five years have been far below the levels recorded in 1991.