NEWARK, NJ — Crime has dropped 13% overall in Newark from last year, according to data released Thursday by city officials.
Homicide has dropped by 26% to 51 in 2019, while the number of shooting victims fell 14% to 204, according to the data.
During the past four years under the administration of Mayor Ras Baraka, overall crime has gone down by 31%, which translates to about 2,000 less victims.
"We are witnessing huge reductions in crime, so we’re not just talking small reductions, we’re talking huge reductions," Baraka said. "(These are) outstanding numbers over a four-year period, and we’re not doing this to take victory laps. We’re doing this to say we’re moving in the right direction."
Baraka, Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose and law enforcement partners hosted a press conference on Thursday afternoon to review the Newark Police Division's 2019 year-end summary.
Baraka said members of the Newark Police Department attended about 1,224 community events in 2019, most of which were outreach programs initiated by police. Of those, 312 events involved youth engagement to work toward better ties with the community.
The mayor said citizen complaints have dropped by 68% from 2010 to 2019, and excessive force complaints are down by 82%. From 2010 to 2014, the city paid out $1.4 million in excessive force lawsuits, this year that figure was $51,000.
"Newark was once known as the auto theft capital of the country," Baraka said. "The 2019 numbers show a 20% decrease this year over last year."
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito called NPD's consent decree "the best tool this city has ever had to really improve the quality of life for its citizens."
"It has provided the Mayor and Director Ambrose the ability to put the resources into the department that were necessary to make some of the changes that you see..."
Theodore Stephens II, Essex County acting prosecutor, said the office prosecuted 12,000 cases this year, and won about 2/3 of those trials.
"We do have an issue involving youth violence we're working on," Stephens said. "It’s going to cause the prosecutor's office to prosecute some juveniles in a very robust manner, it just can’t be avoided." He said the office plans to partner with existing organizations in Newark that aim to keep juveniles on the right path.
Stephens also announced a wire tap that was conducted in the East Ward, which had gone "without having some significant law enforcement activity for a period for time."
"We’re proud to announce that we took over $1 million of illegal drugs off the street. We collected over $200,000 in cash and we shut down a narcotics operation," he said.
Finally, law enforcement officials said the first quarter of 2020 will see efforts toward a partnership with the Newark Housing Authority in an effort to address crime in public housing. About 12% of violence was reported to have occurred in public housing sites, with eight murders and 50 people shot in public housing this year.
Ambrose said every ward across Newark reported fewer crimes, but the South Ward realized the biggest reduction in violence in this year.
Newark Crime Stats
|Theft from Auto||1,172||1,523||-23%|
|Overall Violent Crime||1,991||2,083||-4%|
|Overall Property Crime||4,458||5,349||-17%|