Murders Up 2 Percent in New Jersey in 2006,
While Overall Crime Rate Drops 2 Percent
Trenton, N.J. – Attorney General Anne Milgram today released the 2006 Uniform Crime Report which shows that while the overall crime rate in New Jersey dropped two percent compared to 2005, murders were up by two percent, continuing an upward climb from the previous year. Murders had climbed by seven percent in 2005, compared to 2004.
Total violent crime decreased one percent from 30,904 reported incidents to 30,543. Murders increased from 418 to 427, while reported rapes decreased by four from 1,204 to 1,200. Robberies increased one percent from 13,209 to 13,354, but aggravated assaults decreased three percent from 16,073 to 15,562.
Drug-related and/or gang-related circumstances accounted for 11 percent, or 45, of the murders recorded, about the same figure as in 2005. Thirty-seven percent of all murder victims were between the ages of 20 and 29, while 14.3 percent, or 61 victims, were between the ages of 15 and 19. Almost 66 percent of murder victims were African-American, while 33.5 percent were white.
Firearms were used in 67 percent of the murders, and 31 percent of the offenders were either friends or acquaintances, according to the report. Forty-two domestic violence murders were recorded in 2006.
The number of aggravated assaults involving a firearm climbed from 2,433 reported incidents in 2005 to 2,605 incidents reported last year.
Attorney General Milgram said the figures confirmed disturbing trends of rising murder rates and increased use of guns, despite an overall drop in the rate of all crimes. The numbers underscored Governor Corzine’s newly unveiled anti-crime strategy to target resources against violent crime, and in particular gang violence and weapons offenses.
“We must be aggressive in adopting intelligence-led policing to reduce the number of gun crimes and murders,’’ Milgram said. “We also need stiffer penalties for illegal gun possession.’’
There were 6,639 arrests reported for weapons offenses, an increase of one percent compared to 2005. Of the total arrested, 31 percent were juveniles.
The total crime rate for the state was 26.4 victims for every 1,000 residents, compared to a rate of 26.9 victims per 1,000 residents in 2005. The total crime index was 28.1 victims for every 1,000 residents in 2004.
The violent crime rate was 3.5 victims per 1,000 residents, a slight drop from 3.6 victims per 1,000 residents in 2005.
Bias-related crimes were also reported up in 2006, compared to 2005. There were 825 bias incidents reported to police last year, compared to 792 reported in 2005, an increase of four percent. The number is lower than the 868 bias incidents reported in 2004, but much higher than the 625 incidents reported in 2002.
Criminal mischief and damage to property accounted for 37 percent of bias incidents, while harassment accounted for 41 percent, according to the report. Racial bias accounted for 48 percent of all bias incident crimes in 2006.
The total incidents of non-violent crime declined two percent compared to 2005, with a significant decline in reported motor vehicle thefts. Auto thefts dropped 11 percent, from 27,678 to 24,746. Auto thefts had dropped by nine percent from 2004 to 2005. In 2006, burglary increased by one percent, while larceny and theft decreased one percent, compared to 2005.
The annual Uniform Crime Report is prepared by the State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit based on information provided by municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies. The latest report records offenses from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006.
A complete copy of the 2006 Uniform Crime Report is available on the State Police website at www.njsp.org/info/stats.html.
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