PATERSON, NJ – The number of robberies in Paterson jumped by 13 percent in 2012, rising to the highest level in almost two decades.

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The city’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) said there were 851 robberies in 2012, compared to 752 in 2011 and 769 in 2010. During the decade from 2000 through 2009, Paterson averaged 630 robberies per year, the statistics show. The 2012 numbers are higher than every year since 1994, when Paterson had 1,053 robberies, according to UCR reports over that time period.

Police director Glenn Brown said the robberies are being committed by individuals acting on their own as well as by organized crime crews. Brown said the police department is taking steps to try to combat the robbery problem, but he declined to give details.

“I don’t want to give away my game plan,’’ Brown said. “We have increased the number of plainclothes personnel assigned to this. Our detectives are working as fast as we can to catch these individuals. We already have put a few of these crews behind bars and we’re working on two others as we speak. We hope to have them behind bars shortly.’’

City police last week released images from store security cameras of two men they say are responsible nine robberies during a one-month period.

Aside from the robbery numbers, Paterson’s crime statistics were fairly stable in 2012. The overall number of crimes dropped from 6,228 in 2011 to 6,182 in 2012, a drop of less than one percent.

Reductions in non-violent crimes like motor vehicle thefts and burglaries were the biggest reason for that drop. The number of violent crimes rose by 3.6 percent, from 1,493 in 2011 to 1,554 in 2012, the reports show.

Paterson had 24 homicides in 2012, compared to 17 in 2011, according to the UCRs. Two of the 2012 cases involved shootings by police officers.

Here’s a breakdown on the other crimes covered in the UCR:

  • Rapes went from 39 to 24
  • Aggravated assaults went from 685 to 655
  • Burglaries went from 1,790 to 1,611
  • Larcenies went from 1,891 to 2,110
  • Motor vehicle thefts went from 1,054 to 907
  • Arsons stayed the same at five.