BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Crime in Bloomfield decreased significantly from 2014 to 2015, according to the NJ State Police Uniform Crime Report, released April 28.
The crime index, which is the total number of reported violent and nonviolent crimes, dropped from 1,229 in 2014 to 890 in 2015.
Both violent and nonviolent crimes decreased, but the major turndown was in nonviolent crimes. These crimes went from 1,125 to 794 incidents. Violent crimes decreased slightly, from 104 to 96 incidents. Bloomfield Police Director Sam DeMaio, appointed August 2015, credited the drop in the overall crime index to an increase in arrests and traffic stops.
“If you look at the activity, arrests were up 200 percent and over 100 percent for motor vehicle stops,” DeMaio said last week in a telephone interview.
In the violent crime category, Bloomfield experienced no murders in either year, but two rapes were reported each year. Robbery was down from 77 incidents, in 2014, to 60, in 2015. The lone category to increase in violent crimes was aggravated assault, from 25 to 34.
The number of violent crimes that occurred in 2014 was 2.2 per 1,000 inhabitants. In 2015, that number was 2.0 per 1,000 inhabitants. DeMaio said that during 2015 a majority of the aggravated assaults were on police officers.
Looking at statewide statistics for the years 2014 and 2015, murder increased 4 percent, from 354 to 369 incidents, and robbery decreased 7 percent, from 10,492 to 9,743 incidents. Aggravated assault increased by 2 percent, from 11,208 to 11,763 incidents, and rape increased 43 percent, from 950 to 1,362. This increase in reported rapes was due to a revision in the definition of the crime by the FBI, “leading to a more accurate understanding of the scope and volume of these crimes,” according to the State Police report.
In the nonviolent categories for Bloomfield, burglary decreased from 220 to 107 incident; larceny/theft, from 735 to 611 incidents; and motor-vehicle theft decreased by more than a half, from 170 to 76 incidents. DeMaio credited the decrease in Bloomfield motor-vehicle thefts to the increase in motor-vehicle stops and the computer-connected Automatic License Plate Reader. He said criminals think twice about driving a stolen car in Bloomfield.
“It’s simple math,” he said. “More police activity will result in a reduction of crime.”
The nonviolent crime of arson was not reported in 2014 but in 2015 there was one incident in the township.
Overall, the number of nonviolent crimes was 23.6 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2014. In 2015, it was 16.6 per 1,000 inhabitants.
DeMaio said the overall decrease in crime was due to an analysis of trends. This led to a change in BPD policing.
“It’s putting officers in the right place at the right time,” he said.
Statewide, in the category of nonviolent crimes, burglary decreased 12 percent; larceny/theft decreased 5 percent; and motor-vehicle theft increased 1 percent.
Among Essex County municipalities that share a common border with the township, Bloomfield had the second lowest overall crime rate in 2015 with 18.6 reported incidents per 1,000 inhabitants. Glen Ridge had 23.5 incidents; Belleville, 22.5 incidents; East Orange, 19.5 incidents; and Newark, 40.6 incidents. Nutley had the lowest crime rate among Essex County municipalities with 9.8 incidents per 1,000 inhabitants. The crime rate for all 22 Essex County municipalities was 27.5 incidents per 1,000 inhabitants.
DeMaio said the two rapes reported in 2015 involved people in a daily relationship. His advice was that if anyone is in a troubled relationship, to never meet the other person alone. No rapes were reported in 2016, he said.
“The crime reduction is a direct result of the hard work of the Bloomfield Police Department,” DeMaio said. “I want to commend the officers for these numbers.”