Crime continues to drop

Crime dropped by about 13 percent in Rahway last year, continuing a long-term trend that also has seen declines across the region and the nation.

The data come from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2017 and Rahway’s statistics can be found on Page 537.

crimeTotal crime incidents were down 8.1 percent (498 incidents down to 457) while the crime index total was down 13.5 percent (385 incidents down to 333). Nearly a third of the incidents were cleared (146 of 457), for a clearance rate of almost 32 percent, an improvement over the 26 percent in 2016. Among violent incidents, 22 cases were cleared, almost 58 percent, and 13.6 percent, or 40 cases, among the nonviolent incidents.

Larceny as usual accounted for the highest proportion of crime, almost 46 percent of all incidents, followed by simple assault, 27 percent. Those two categories comprise almost three-quarters of all crime reported in the city.

Motor vehicle thefts dipped 24 percent, from 46 to 35 incidents. The largest drop in number of incidents was in the category of larceny, from 253 to 209 incidents, down about 17 percent.

Rahway was among 14 of the 21 municipalities in Union County that saw a decrease in 2017. The median was Cranford, with 200 total incidents. In terms of total incidents of crime reported, Rahway ranked 7th among the 21 towns, behind Roselle (492) and ahead of Westfield (288).

How did Rahway’s drop in total crime compare with its neighbors? Here’s a look at the change in reported crime in 2017 (with the previous year’s change in parentheses):

  • Carteret, +17.1 percent (-17 percent)
  • Clark, -11.7 percent (+20 percent)
  • Edison, +4.9 percent (-9 percent)
  • Linden, -0.3 percent (+9 percent)
  • Metuchen, +6 percent (+1.4 percent)
  • Perth Amboy, +0.9 percent (-10.6 percent)
  • Roselle, -6.1 percent (-11 percent)
  • Woodbridge, -7.4 percent (+3 percent)

For a historical look at reported crime in Rahway, check out these data I’ve compiled over the years from previous UCRs since 1998, including 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-year averagesx. Reported crime has continued to drop over the past 20 years, and not insignificantly. In 1998, the crime index total topped 1,000 and did not drop below 800 until 2003.

The crime index of 333 last year was lower than any of the 5-, 10-, 15, and 20-year averages:

  • 20-year average: 673
  • 15-year average: 591
  • 10-year average: 521
  • 5-year average: 407

Last year’s total is down about two-thirds from the 1,027 reported in 1998 and down 55 percent from the 744 incidents reported in 2008. Since 1997, the crime index rose year-over-year six times; the last time from 2010 to 2011.

There sometimes are changes over the years in how UCR data are reported but those are still considerable drops. How Rahway’s long-term statistics compare with other towns over the past 20 years also is important to take into account, whether other towns saw similar declines or even increases. Regionally, and nationwide, crime has been falling since the 1990s. Also important to keep in mind, from the Pew Research Center: “Most crimes are not reported to police, and most crimes are not solved.”

Leave a Reply