Report: Crime Down in Lakewood


lawsonLakewood, NJ – All types of crime dropped in the United States in 2009, with decreases in most categories even more dramatic in New Jersey, according to statistics released Monday by the FBI.

The figures show that violent crime in the country dropped for the third straight year, and property crimes dropped for the seventh consecutive year.

Violent crime was down 5.3 percent nationwide in 2009, although New Jersey showed only a 4.3 percent decline in violent crime. However, murder and manslaughter dropped by 15.2 percent in New Jersey in 2009 compared to the previous year, while that category saw only a 7.3 percent decline nationally.

Robberies, down 8.4 percent in New Jersey in 2009, was on par with the 8 percent national drop in that category.

Aggravated assaults declined by only 0.2 percent in New Jersey in 2009, while they dropped by 4.2 percent nationally.

Motor-vehicle theft, down 17.1 percent nationally in 2009, decreased by 23.2 percent in New Jersey.

But property crimes in New Jersey dropped 9.1 percent, while they declined by only 4.6 percent nationally. Burglaries were down by 7.8 percent in New Jersey, and thefts were down by 7.4 percent in the state, while nationally, the declines in those categories were 1.3 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

The federal numbers often vary slightly from the New Jersey State Police’s uniform crime report, which has not yet been released for 2009.

In Lakewood, burglaries and property crimes apparently dropped so much that the FBI believed the numbers were underreported and did not include them in its report.

The Lakewood Police Department reported that burglaries were cut in half, from 526 in 2008 to 260 last year, according the department’s crime analyst, Karen Mayers. Property crimes fell by more than 30 percent, from 1,424 to 991.

Mayers said a state audit three months ago found the counts to be accurate. Such audits are normal, she said, when a significant or unusual increase or decrease is spotted. In 2008, the FBI determined Lakewood’s statistics on violent crime and aggravated assault were overreported.

According to the township, violent crimes dropped by 44 percent and aggravated assault by 50 percent from 2008 to last year. Asked why changes like these did not draw the state’s attention, Mayers deferred to the State Police, which could not confirm any information late Monday.

Lakewood Police Chief Robert Lawson stood by his 2009 statistics. He attributed the drops to a national downward trend in crime combined with good police work and residents’ vigilance.

Department Spokesman Lt. William Addison blamed the appearance of underreporting to a spike in residential development in 2008 that attracted more property crime such as burglaries and thefts at construction sites. The numbers have since dropped as the housing construction leveled and residents took better precautions, he said.

“It was open house there for a while,” Addison said. “It took us some time to get people to start locking their doors and windows.”

{Read full report at APP/}


  1. That’s interesting- We (my wife and I) less safe in Lakewood than ever. All day long we hear about burglary’s on Friday nights and car broken into.