Overall crime in Rahway dipped some 15 percent last year, led by drops in larceny, burglary and motor vehicle thefts. It's the fourth year in a row crime has dropped, according to the state Uniform Crime Report (UCR).
Rahway was among 10 of Union County's 21 towns to see a decrease in crime, according to the recently released UCR, with the overall countywide crime rate dropping by 1 percent. Another 10 towns experienced an increase in the crime rate while one (Fanwood) reported the exact same numbers in 2010 as it did in 2009.
Rahway's overall crime rate dropped from 23.7 to 21.0 per 1,000 residents, putting it 8th-highest overall in the county, just behind Union (22.0) and ahead of Winfield (16.3). Neighboring Clark saw its crime rate rise from 9.4 to 14.1, as did Linden, from 33.2 to 37.0. Other nearby towns outside Union County saw crime rates vary: Carteret was up from 15.0 to 19.7 and Edison was down from 25.2 to 19.1, while Woodbridge also saw a decline, from 26.3 to 25.2.
Police Chief John Rodger attributed Rahway's decline to significantly higher manpower in 2010; much of the crime rate directly correlates to manpower." The statistics, while down, are a year behind (2010) and in some cases include reporting errors that they're trying to have corrected, such as the domestic violence numbers, he said.
Another inconsistency was in manpower, where UCR reported 73 police officers in the department for 2010, but Rodger said five officers were lost in July 2010 and two were replaced to get back to 73. Additionally, the current complement is down from a high of 90 a few years ago, the chief said. He also attributed the drop in crime to "redeploying officers from every area of the department back to patrol to keep the on-duty road compliment as stable as we can."
Crime usually correlates to the economy, Rodger said, and call volume is at an all-time high, "and when coupled with our current complement size makes proactive measures extremely difficult." The department analyzes call volume and crime occurrences daily to try to be proactive in addressing problem areas, he said, another reason he doesn't lend much credence to the UCR stats, since they're so far behind.
Because I love spreadsheets and stats, here's a look at five-year and 10-year crime stats for Rahway, based on previous UCRs. Some categories saw lows in 2010, including 10-year lows in larceny and motor vehicle thefts and five-year low in robberies, as well as a 10-year high in aggravated assault. Comparing years, however, can sometimes be inconsistent because of changes to the UCR and to reporting methods.