ORANGE - Governor Jon S. Corzine and Attorney
General Anne Milgram today hailed a dramatic
decline in homicides in New Jersey as they
announced the results of the second phase
of a statewide initiative launched last summer
to target street gangs and violent crime.
release of these crime report statistics shows
that we are winning important battles in the
war against violent criminals and gangs,"
said Governor Corzine. "Thanks to the
efforts of Attorney General Milgram and the
New Jersey law enforcement community, county
task forces, police departments, and partner
agencies, more than 4,200 offenders have been
arrested for crimes including murder, assault
with a firearm, armed robbery, and gun and
drug trafficking. We know more work remains.
Even one act of violence against a New Jersey
citizen is one too many."
were 158 reported homicides in New Jersey
in the first six months of 2009, compared
to 209 during the same time period in 2008
- a 24 percent drop. Uniform Crime Report
figures show that murders declined statewide
in 2008, marking the first time since 1999
that New Jersey has seen a drop in murders
for two consecutive years. Murders dropped
11 percent in 2007 to 381, the lowest number
since 2002. They dropped to 376 in 2008.
broader category of violent crime also declined
in each of the past two years. It declined
7 percent in 2007, and declined another .7
percent in 2008.
latest statistics demonstrate real progress
in our fight against gangs and violent crime
in New Jersey," said Attorney General
Milgram. "We have taken a very direct
approach under Governor Corzine's anti-crime
plan, conducting intelligence-led, high-impact
investigations targeting the command structures
and the most violent members of the toughest
street gangs. By removing hundreds of violent
gangsters from our streets, we have made our
results announced today are the second phase
of the statewide violence reduction initiative
implemented under Governor's Corzine's Strategy
for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods. The initiative
involves a collaborative effort across all
levels of law enforcement in New Jersey to
target the most violent street gangs and reduce
the drug trafficking and gun violence that
they inflict on our communities. Since January,
county task forces, police departments and
partnering agencies have arrested a total
of 2,376 offenders under the initiative for
crimes including murder, assault with a firearm,
armed robbery, and drug and gun trafficking.
arrested include 606 suspected street gang
members belonging to such gangs as the Bloods,
CRIPS, Latin Kings, and others. Several hundred
more of the arrested offenders were associated
with drug gangs. About 1,047 or 44 percent
of those arrested have violent criminal backgrounds.
than 409 guns were seized, including 30 assault
weapons. That is an increase of 152% from
the first phase of the initiative, when 162
guns were seized. Drugs with a street value
of $5.3 million were seized in the second
phase, compared to $4 million in drugs in
the first phase.
together both phases, more than 4,220 arrests
have been made since the initiative began
last summer, including more than 1,136 suspected
street gang members, and more than 1,647 offenders
with violent criminal backgrounds. More than
$3 million in cash has been seized.
a result of operations during both phases,
authorities were able to prevent 14 homicides.
They solved 30 homicides.
the first six months of 2009, the overall
statewide homicide rate was down every month
as compared to the same month in 2008. The
sharp decline in murders during the past 12
months coincided with implementation of the
first two phases of the statewide violence
were 209 murders in New Jersey during the
first six months of 2008. In the second half
of 2008, as the first phase of the statewide
violence reduction initiative was implemented,
there were 170 homicides in New Jersey, a
19 percent decline from the first six months
of the year. During the first half of 2009,
as the second phase was implemented, there
were 158 homicides, an additional decline
of 7 percent from the prior six months. New
Jersey is on track to see a third straight
year of declines in murders, Milgram said.
today, Governor Corzine and Attorney General
Milgram announced a new program to assist
law enforcement in tracking gangs. NJ CrimeTrack,
which is being rolled out beginning this month,
is a statewide intelligence-sharing initiative
spearheaded by the State Police that will
provide a database for law enforcement agencies
across the state to collect, store and share
their criminal intelligence related to street
gangs and their illegal activities. Police
departments throughout New Jersey will follow
clear protocols to identify known gang members
and report whenever they investigate or respond
to an incident involving gang members.
the pilot phase of this new program, more
than 3,400 gang members have been identified,
based on reports from the 16 law enforcement
agencies participating in the pilot. That
number is expected to grow tremendously as
the program is rolled out with agencies throughout
truly is power in the fight against crime,"
said Attorney General Milgram. "Just
as we have enhanced our ability to investigate
illegal gun trafficking in New Jersey through
NJ Trace, our partnership with ATF to trace
all guns recovered in connection with crime
in New Jersey, we will now be able to better
leverage our information on gangs."