After four years of declines, Rahway saw a spike in reported crime incidents of almost 10 percent in 2011, nearly twice as high a jump as the countywide rate, according to the latest Uniform Crime Report (UCR) (.pdf) by the New Jersey State Police.
Nonviolent crime categories (burglary, larceny) were up 14 percent while violent crime (murder, robbery, aggravated assault) was down 13 percent in the city. Overall, 55 more incidents of crime were reported in 2011 than 2010. Larceny (+10 percent) and motor vehicles thefts (+68 percent -- 38 incidents to 64) fueled much of the increase, with larceny accounting for 58 percent of the overall crime rate in Rahway.
Most category totals for 2011 were lower than the city's 10-year averages, with the exception of aggravated assault. Here's a look at Rahway's UCR data from 2002 to 2011. Rahway's crime rate of 23.0 per 1,000 residents is considerably lower than the 39.1 in 1997, though year-to-year comparisons can be inconsistent considering changes in reporting over the years.
Overall, crime was up about 4.9 percent in Union County (28.9), with 13 of 21 towns reporting increases. At the county level, violent crime was up 6 percent while nonviolent crime was down 7 percent. Robbery was down 6 percent but burglary spiked by 26 percent. Aggravated assault was down 7 percent. Elizabeth accounts for more than two out of every five crime incidents reported in Union County, including more than half of robberies and aggravated assaults, a third of larcenies almost two-thirds of motor vehicle thefts.
Within Union County, Rahway's crime rate was the sixth-highest, most similar to Roselle (25.6) and Kenilworth (20.5). Among neighboring towns, Linden (35.4) was down 4.4 percent, Edison (20.6) and Woodbridge (27.1) both were up almost 8 percent, Carteret (22.3) was up almost 13 percent, and Clark (13.7 - again the county median crime rate at 13.7) was down 2.8 percent.
Most of the 13 towns that reported an increase experienced a double-digit jump, with nine towns rising more than Rahway's 9.6 percent. Only Roselle (+8.9 percent), Elizabeth (+4.75 percent) and Fanwood (+2 percent) saw smaller increases in crime rates. Kenilworth jumped the most from 2010 to 2011 (+37 percent), followed by Westfield (+35 percent).
Last year's UCR indicated that crime dipped by about 15 percent in 2010 in Rahway and about 9 percent in 2009, after essentially remaining flat in 2008.