Overall Crime In Township Decreased From 2020 To 2021

Public Safety Director Quovella Maeweather speaks to the Township Council about township crime statistics at the April 12 meeting.

The overall incidence of major crimes decreased by about 12 percent from 2020 to 2021, although there were small increases in some categories, according to statistics compiled by the Franklin Township Police Department.

The total number of major crimes dropped from 735 in 2020 to 648 in 2021, according to the statistics. The figures were presented to the Township Council April 12 by Public Safety Director Quovella Maeweather.

There were some small increases from year to year, however.

The number of rapes increased from three in 2020 to 14 in 2021, according to the statistics.

The number of gun assaults increased from 7 in 2020 to 15 in 2021, the statistics show.

Burglaries increased from 52 in 2020 to 71 in 2021, and motor vehicle thefts increased from 39 to 60, according to the statistics.

Categories in which decreases from year to year were shown included larceny/theft (476 to 307); robberies (16 to 12), and murder (two to one).

For the purposes of reporting crimes to the state and national Uniform Crime Reports, crimes are classified as UCR Part 1 and UCR Part 2.

There were 496 UCR Part 1 crimes reported in 2021, of which 57 were considered violent crimes. In 2020, a total of 694 UCR Part 1 crimes were reported, with 46 classified as violent crimes, according to the statistics.

In 2021, the FTPD closed out 85 percent of its cases, up from 81 percent in 2020. according to the statistics.

Domestic violence incidents decreased slightly from 2020 to 2021, from 506 to 493, according to the statistics.

The FTPD made 44 Driving While Intoxicated arrests in 2021, up from 2020’s figure of 38 and 22 in 2019, according to the statistics.

“Franklin Township is one of the leaders in DWI arrests in New Jersey,” Maeweather said. “We receive grants to do DWI arrests and enforcement.”

The number of DWI crashes remained steady at 20 from 2020 to 2021.

FTPD officers responded to 91,717 calls for service in 2021, up from 86,972 calls in 2020, according to the statistics.

Police recovered 31 weapons the statistics showed.

“They were all recovered from the street,” Maeweather said.

The racial demographics of the FTPD are more closely mirroring that of the township in every area except that of Asian officers, the report showed.

According to the 2020 Census, about 23 percent of the township population is Asian, but only about 2 percent of officers are Asian.

When Township Councilman Ram Anbarasan (D-At Large) asked about that discrepancy, Maeweather told him that she might have some good news in that area in the near future.

About 59 percent of FTPD officers are white, compared with 31 percent of the township population. Black officers comprise 27 percent of the FTPD, while about 24 percent of township residents are Black, according to the report.

About 12 percent of the sworn FTPD officers are Hispanic, while Hispanics make up about 17 percent of the township’s population, according to the report.

Women make up about 13 percent of the department’s sworn officers, the report states. Of those, 7 percent are white, 5 percent are Black, and 1 percent are Hispanic.

“If you look at the female officers, that has increased by 4 percent from 2019, the number of Black officers increased by 15 percent, and we’re steady with our Hispanic and Asian officers,” Maeweather said. “I will say that a lot of times that just the attraction of the diversity in the department attracts other new officers to the town.”

Commenting on the department’s overall racial makeup, Maeweather said, “I think it is quite remarkable to see that we are getting there. We are closely resembling the makeup of our community.”

The department paid $1,531,169 in overtime and $628,746 in comp time in 2021, according to the report. That’s contrasted with 2020’s figures of $1,382,986 in overtime and $430,654 in comp time.

Even with the increases, Maeweather said, “I think that we are at remarkable low numbers as we kept everyone accountable for overtime and comp time.”

In terms of personnel, Maeweather told the Council that there are currently six patrol squads, each of which has “a lieutenant, two sergeants and four out of the six squads have eight officers.”

“So our goal … is to fill the TO, the Table of Organization, and to finally have nine officers, two sergeants and a lieutenant on patrol with each squad,” she said.

“What that does is, if everyone comes to work … we have approximately 10 cars on the road at one time, and during overlap, we could have as many as 20 to 25 cars on the road at one time.”

Maeweather said she expects the seven police officer vacancies to be filled this year.

Overall, Maeweather said, “I work with a group of extraordinary people who have shown me that despite differences, they are willing to work hard to make a difference in this town.”

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