Township Crime Rate Declining, Chief Asks For Public’s Help


Township Police Chief Lawrence Roberts asked for the public’s help in further cutting the township’s crime rate.

Major crime in the township is on the decline, state police statistics show.

Still, the statistics show, the township’s crime rate remains among the highest in Somerset County.

The township’s overall crime rate decreased from 19.2 incidents per 1,000 residents in 2012 to 15.5 incidents per 1,000 residents in 2014, according to statistics provided by the New Jersey State Police.

In that same time period, statistics show, the township’s violent crime rate slightly increased from 1.1 incidents per 1,000 residents in 2012 to 1.2 incidents per 1,000 in 2013, but then decreased to .7 incidents per 1,000 residents in 2014.

The township reported 72 incidents of violent crime in 2012, 79 incidents in 2014 and 42 incidents in 2014, the statistics show.

The township’s nonviolent crime rate decreased from 18.1 incidents per 1,000 residents in 2012 to 15.8 incidents per 1,000 in 2013 and to 14.8 incidents per 1,000 residents in 2014, according to the NJSP statistics.

In 2012, the township reported 1,150 incidents of non-violent crime, while it reported 1,001 in 2013 and 940 incidents in 2014.

The crime rate is calculated using statistics from seven “crime index” categories of crime: Murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft, according to the NJSP.

The only category that showed an increase from 2013 to 2014 was larceny-theft, according to the statistics. The township reported 569 incidents in 2013 and 616 incidents in 2014, an increase of 8.3 percent.

The most recent statistics covering the period 2013 to 2014 showed that:

  • Incidents of rape and attempted rape dropped 71.4 percent, from seven in 2013 to two in 2014.
  • Robberies dropped 45.2 percent, from 42 in 2013 to 23 in 2014, although incidents of robberies with a knife or cutting instrument doubled in that time period from three to six.
  • Aggravated assaults dropped 44.8 percent, from 29 in 2013 to 16 in 2014.
  • Burglaries dropped 24.1 percent, from 373 in 2013 to 283 in 2014.
  • Motor vehicle theft dropped 30.5 percent, from 59 in 2013 to 41 in 2014.
  • From 2013 to 2014, murders in the township stayed steady at 1.

Township Police Chief Lawrence Roberts said in a statement that the statistics reflect “the hard work of the men and women of the Franklin Township Police Department.”

“However, we are not finished and will continue to work in an effort to keep the crime stats dropping,” he said in the statement. “This cannot be done in isolation, it’s a collaborative effort. It starts with the citizens of Franklin Township. We need them to stay alert and continue to contact us with anything they feel is suspicious. Numerous cases have been originated because a resident picked up the phone to say, ‘This just doesn’t look right.’”

“Through hard work and dedication our officers develop solid cases that allow for the prosecution and conviction of these criminals,” Roberts said.

Commenting on why the township’s crime rate would be among the highest in the county, Roberts said, “Franklin is the largest and most populated township in Somerset County, so it makes sense that our numbers would be higher than other communities.”

“Additionally, there have been some definition changes over the last several year regarding the classification and scoring of certain types of crimes,” Roberts said. “Even more changes have been made for this reporting year. This could possibly show a reported increase in certain types of crimes.”

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