BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The Bloomfield Police Department released its 2015 annual crime report on Jan. 6. Gun arrests, drug arrests, arrests for outstanding warrants and motor-vehicle stops with a summons being issued increased significantly in the township when compared to 2014 statistics. Of the seven crime categories reported, the only increase was for aggravated assault. Bloomfield Police Department Director Sam DeMaio said this increase was due to assaults on police officers and a reflection of increased Bloomfield police activity. The report is to be sent the New Jersey State Police for its annual Uniform Crime Report.
According to the report, there were no murders in the township in 2014 and 2015. There were two rapes reported in both years. DeMaio said the two 2015 rapes were the results of domestic violence. He advises women to use the courts to protect themselves against a husband or boyfriend in a possible domestic violence situation.
“A lot of times, people don’t use the judicial system as much as they can,” DeMaio said in a telephone interview. “Get a restraining order. It’s often declined but it’s always offered. The woman might feel it’s not needed but it’s always good to get one.”
For a woman to protect herself against stranger-to-stranger rape, DeMaio said that a woman should always be aware of her surroundings and whenever possible, travel with a companion.
In the remaining criminal categories, robbery, which is the taking of another’s property by force, as defined by the State Police, decreased from 72 incidents to 59, or an 18 percent decrease from 2014 to 2015.
Aggravated assaults increased over that time by 43 percent, from 23 incidents to 33.
Burglary, the unlawful entry of a property to commit a felony, decreased 52 percent, from 219 incidents to 106.
Incidents of theft, which is the taking of another’s property to deprive them of ownership, decreased from 726 to 602, or 17 percent. Auto theft also decreased, from 170 incidents to 75, a decrease of 56 percent. Overall, in these seven reported categories, there was a 28 percent decrease in crime from 2014 to 2015. There were 331 arrests, in these categories, in 2015, according to DeMaio, and 211 arrests in 2014.
The report said the BPD made 17,763 motor-vehicle stops, in 2015, that resulted in a summons. This was an increase of 464 percent from the 3,150 stops, with a summons, during the previous year.
Other criminal categories were reported in the recently released data.
Gun arrests increased by 60 percent, from 15 to 25; warrant arrests increased 205 percent, from 269 to 820; and drug arrests increased 151 percent, from 154 to 387. Total BPD arrests for 2015 were 1,426. In 2014, they were 652.
“In 2015, we really changed the way the entire Bloomfield Police Department does business,” DeMaio said. “We are insisting that everyone is accountable for what they do. We don’t want a typical department. It’s not a clubhouse, it’s a business.”
In addition to crime reduction, DeMaio said the chief aim for the department is citizens’ satisfaction. He said both goals are measured each day.
He also lauded partnerships between the township and other law-enforcement agencies for the decrease in crime.
He said there are three Bloomfield detectives, each reporting to either the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, or the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
“That brings the resources of those agencies to us,” he said. “And because we participate, we get a share of the forfeiture.”
The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program, which is managed by the U.S. Marshall Service, provides participating law enforcement agencies with a monetary share of assets obtained from criminal activity.
DeMaio said that in 2015, the township received $11,000 from assets seized by the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and another $9,000 is pending from the DEA. This money is used for BPD equipment and training, he said.
The department is currently operating with 105 sworn officers. The director expects this number to increase to 119 when the next police academy class graduates in June.
Mayor Michael Venezia expressed his pride in the new direction the Bloomfield Police Department has taken.
“The increase in productivity and performance of our police is a testament to their bravery, pride and dedication,” he said in a press release.