Annually the NJ State Police releases what is called the Uniform Crime Report. Viewable on the internet the report contains a wealth of information regarding who is doing what illegal activity in NJ and where the crimes are occurring. In case you were wondering how many American Indians and Alaskan natives were arrested for committing crimes in NJ this would be the place to look.
The report also contains a comparison of what happened the past two years and how each county fared; this could be considered a report card of sorts telling us how as a society we are doing from year to year.
In Union County 20,583 arrests were made which was a decrease of less than one half of one percent from 2004 and there were 13,145 more males arrested than females, which could be considered an interesting statistic and very telling when one ponders the differences between the sexes.
Adult arrests decreased by one percent but alarmingly juvenile arrests increased by 6 percent over last year also of concern is that murders increased by 64 percent. By comparison in neighboring Middlesex and Somerset Counties juvenile arrests were down 6 and 5 percent respectively and murders 24 and 79 percent.
So just what is going on here and what are they doing that we are not?
Perhaps the answer lies in what they have been doing in those counties after the fact. The Middlesex County website shows a plethora of services available to youth before and after incarceration at the detention center that it shares with Somerset County. Union County on the other hand had little information available about preventative services for youth or follow up services for that matter.
Looking at the stats for individual municipalities tells absolutely no story at all, the numbers are up and down in the suburban as well as the urban centers of the county, with Westfield and Mountainside showing some increases in arrests for violent crimes while Plainfield and Rahway showed decreases.
One conclusion that can be drawn is that it doesn’t matter much where one lives in the county as the incidence and type of crime shuffles back and forth from year to year from town to town. But overall 30.5 persons per one thousand inhabitants were victimized in 2005 which is down from 34 persons in 2000 and 35.5 for 1999.
Though things have improved since 1999 it is sad to say that according to the State Police Report Union County placed fourth out of New Jersey’s twenty-one counties for the number of murders and third for car jackings statewide, so it appears that we still have some considerable work to do.
Ensuring the personal safety of the county’s resident’s takes teamwork on the part of all the municipalities working closely with county officials to educate the residents so that they can take measures to protect their families and property, improvements in solving serious crimes and prosecution to the full extent of the law.