Reported crime dipped back down in 2012

Overall crime dropped 13 percent last year compared to 2011, including a nearly 10-percent dip in violent crime, according to statistics released by the Rahway Police Department.

Most every category tracked by the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) declined in 2012 after some spikes in 2011, and most also were below any five-, 10- and 16-year averages (which you can compare in this Google spreadsheet):

* Robbery, +30 percent, from 33 incidents to 43 in 2012;
* Aggravated assault, -36 percent, from 50 to 32;
* Larceny, -17 percent, from 365 to 303;
* Motor vehicle theft, -11 percent, from 64 to 57; and,
* Burglary, -3 percent, from 114 to 110.

The overall crime rate per 1,000 residents declined from 23.0 to 20.0, within the average 22.79 over the last five years (2008-12) and below the 24.81 average of the past decade (2003-12).

The state’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR), typically released late in the year, is generally the first time data from other municipalities is presented together for comparison so it’s unclear how Rahway’s decline last year compares with neighboring towns or county- or state-wide trends. The 2011 UCR was covered in a blog post last month, showing crime spiked some 9 percent — twice the increase seen countywide — after four years of declines.

Police Chief John Rodger said the department constantly tracks city crime data to address changes or coverage, but the UCR numbers are released so late that they’re essentially worthless for use in actual crime fighting. Statistics provided by the Police Department are the same that will be submitted to the state for the UCR, he said.