ESSEX COUNTY — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore “Ted” Stephens held a press conference to share
During his 2020 Essex County Prosecutor's Office (ECPO) report presented earlier this week, Theodore “Ted” Stephens announced that violent crime is down in Essex County, particularly in Newark, by 4% since 2019.
According to Stephens, who was named acting prosecutor in 2019, there were 78 confirmed homicides in 2020.
“Compared to the 104 homicides committed in 2018, that is about a 25% decrease," he said. "Impressive under any circumstance, particularly when we are balancing criminal justice reform, and the jail population continues to decline.”
Of the 78 homicides in 2020, Stephens noted that 56 were solved, representing a 72% closeout rate.
"That number does not include the six homicides from 2018 and 2019 that were solved in 2020," he said. "The national average for solving homicides is in the low 60% range.”
Stephens acknowledged how these stats mean nothing to a family of a victim whose crime is not yet solved and pledged to continue working hard to solve every crime.
He also spoke of the seismic shift in the law enforcement community after George Floyd's death, which he said "propelled the nation in a long-overdue conversation.” Providing credit to law enforcement, organizers, and elected officials, he stated that "all the protests here in Essex County were peaceful.”
Over the summer of 2020, TAPinto East Orange/Orange covered the historical use of force town hall held by the ECPO, where Stephens pledged that all Essex law enforcement would have body cameras by the summer of 2021.
Additionally, the ECPO received an Excellence in Policing award from Attorney General Grewal for carrying out community-friendly policies and procedures.
Referring to food insecurity the pandemic caused, Stephens mentioned the importance of giving back as well. He noted that the ECPO has worked with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and the Senior Center Manager Butts in East Orange each week for the last nine months to participate in the food distribution programs. In that time, more than 600,000 units of food were given to residents in need throughout Essex County.
The ECPO is the largest and busiest prosecutor's office in the State of New Jersey.