Overall, crime in New Jersey rose 3-percent from 2010 to 2011, and in Chester Township, Chester Borough and Mendham Borough those numbers went up as well, according to New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa.
Chester Borough, Mendham Borough and Chester Township saw spikes in their crime index total, rising from 2010 to 2011, while Mendham Township recorded a drop.
Crime index is the total of the seven major offenses used to measure the extent, fluctuation and distribution of crime in a geographical area. The following crimes make up the index: Murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft; these offenses are referred to as Index offenses.
Chester Borough saw their numbers rise from 22 to 26 in the reporting year and Mendham Borough went from 26 to 37. Mendham Township dropped from 27 to 21, but the biggest change was a jump in Chester Township from 26 to 64 in the index total.
“There are several factors that contribute to the fluctuations of the Uniform Crime Report,” said Mendham Township Lt. Vito Abrusci. “I believe the two most important factors include citizens taking precautions that would limit their vulnerability to become a victim. And here the Mendham Township Police Department is constantly reviewing and adjusting our proactive approach to the criminal element. This includes training as well as deploying personnel effectively because maintaining a visible presence also deters crime.”
Abrusci said the credit for the drop in rate is as much due to the residents as to the officers.
“It takes a cooperative effort to have a safe and secure community,” Abrusci said.
Violent crimes, which are classified as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, went up in both Mendhams and Chesters in the reporting year.
There were no reported rapes in the release and robbery went down to zero in 2011. There was one murder in Chester Township on the report, but the increase in all communities was seen in aggravated assault. Statewide aggravated assault dropped 3-percent from 13,958 reports to 13,586. But in Mendham and Chester those numbers went up.
The biggest jump came from the smallest community where Chester Borough saw a zero assault number rise to three in 2011. Chester Township went from zero to one while Mendham Borough tripled from one assault to three and Mendham Township doubled from one assault to two.
“When you are dealing with numbers that are so low like that it might be one or two domestic calls that went unreported in previous years,” Abrusci said. “That isn’t always the case, but when you are talking about numbers separated by a small amount it might be due to reporting.”