Fifty new officers joined Jersey City’s Police Department Monday, expanding the city’s ranks to 945 officers at a time when the city’s crime rate has been on the decline.
According to the city, data comparing the first 6 months of 2017 and 2019 shows shootings are down 70% — from 53 to 16 — and homicides are down 75% — from 12 to 3.
Yearly totals show a decrease as well, although it’s not as striking. From 2017 to 2018, shootings dropped from 103 to 74. Homicides were down from 20 to 15.
City officials credit the police force for the major drop in crime, but advocates with the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement say a growing police force doesn’t necessarily translate to less violence.
And while they agree that crime has decreased, they’re are skeptical of the data.
“We might be talking about a 6 month period that is predominantly winter months as opposed to a 6 month period that is predominantly summer months. So of course the violence in the winter is going to be lower than the violence in the summertime,” said anti-violence advocate Frank Gilmore.
Advocates say it’s going to take more community involvement to reach Mayor Steve Fulop’s goal of eradicating violence altogether.