Crime in GR was up in 2015; trended down in 2016

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — According to the most recent Uniform Crime Report, Glen Ridge experienced an increase in crime from 2014 to 2015. The report, compiled by the NJ State Police, was released April 28. However, Glen Ridge Police Chief Sheila Byron-Lagattuta provided The Glen Ridge Paper with the 2016 UCR, not expected from the State Police for another 11 months, and it shows a decrease in some crime statistics.

There were a total of 11 violent crimes committed in 2015 while in 2014 there were three.

The violent crimes included two rapes while none were reported in 2014; two robberies with three reported in 2014; and seven aggravated assaults with none reported in 2014. For both 2014 and 2015, there were no murders.

Nonviolent crimes increased to 169 incidents in 2015, up from 165 in 2014.
In the nonviolent crime category, burglary decreased in 2015, to 37 incidents, from 40 incidents in 2014. Larceny increased to 127 incidents, from 124; motor vehicle thefts increased to five from one. There were no reported incidents of arson in either year. Statewide, in the category of nonviolent crimes, burglary decreased 12 percent; larceny/theft decreased 5 percent; and motor-vehicle theft increased 1 percent.

Overall, for both violent and nonviolent crimes, in the borough there were 180 incidents in 2015 and 168 in 2014.

Byron-Lagattuta said the seven reported aggravated assaults in 2015 were actually four incidents with multiple charges stemming from an arrest.

According to the report, the overall crime rate in Glen Ridge for 2015 was 23.5 incidents per 1,000 inhabitants. Among municipalities that share a border with Glen Ridge — Bloomfield, East Orange and Montclair, Glen Ridge had the highest crime per 1,000 inhabitants.

Byron-Lagattuta said the two rapes that occurred in 2015 were between individuals who knew each other. She provided advice to avoid a potential sexual assault.

“Trust your gut or intuition,” she said in a telephone interview last week. “What is about to go wrong is what’s ignored most. Don’t be in places alone and don’t walk away from an open drink. Keep your sixth sense awake. Don’t get too comfortable with things.”

She said there was one disadvantage to walking on borough streets at night.
“It’s no secret how dark it is,” she said.

When driving, the chief warns everyone to keep their doors locked. And if anyone taps your car, do not leave your vehicle or you may be a victim of a robbery, rape or carjacking.

“Stay in your car and use your mobile phone,” she said.
She said there has been an increase in aggressive

“We’ve never seen so many angry drivers,” she said.
She advises people, if they are involved in a car accident and feel threatened, to leave the scene of the accident.

“The caveat — don’t leave the scene and go home,” she said. “Make contact with the police.”

Looking forward, Byron-Lagattuta provided statistics from the 2016 Uniform Crime Report.

In 2016, there were no murders; no rapes; three robberies, down from two in 2015;18 assaults, down from 30; 46 burglaries, up from 37; 110 larceny/thiefs, down from 127; two motor vehicle thiefs, down from five; and no reported acts of arson for either 2016 or 2015.

In 2016, the GRPD issued 3,293 motor-vehicle summons while in 2015 there were 4,456. In 2016, 165 prisoners were processed, in 2015, the number was 186. Motor vehicle crashes remained practically the same. In 2016, there were 280; in 2015, 283.

The report said the GRPD patrolled 117,199 miles during 2016, an average of 9,797 miles a month, a 12 percent increase from 2015.

The GRPD received 39,882 non-emergency calls and 1,845 emergency calls in 2016. This was a 6.5 percent decrease for total calls from the previous year.
Byron-Lagattuta said crime prevention was brought to a new level in 2016.
“We saw a spike in bike thefts and came up with a program of lock giveaways and bike registration,” she said.

She credited Sgt. Michael Medico for this program.
There was also an increase in border patrolling.

“Residents were saying they were getting left out,” she said. “Now there’s double patrols by both departments.”

She also noted that Glen Ridge homes and garages are not entered by force. She said this is because of a false sense of security.

“If people took care to lock up, there would be a cut in robbery by one-half,” she said.

In 2016, she said two more neighborhood-watch groups were established in the borough. She said if neighbors keep an eye out for anything suspicious, it gives the police a better look at the neighborhood, too.