After a particularly crime-filled 2009 for Moorestown, total offenses in 2010 dropped—though not back to the pre-2009 crime totals.
Total crimes and non-violent crimes fell in Moorestown from 2009 to 2010, while violent crime increased, according to the state Uniform Crime Report (UCR).
The report shows crime totals for every town in New Jersey from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2010.
Moorestown enjoyed a drop in overall crime from 614 offenses in 2009 to 545 last year. The decline comes mostly thanks to larcenies, which fell 14 percent, and car thefts, which dropped in half to eight incidents.
But while total crime overall dropped, individual categories of crime rose. Moorestown experienced more rapes, robberies, burglaries, arsons, domestic violence incidents and bias crimes in 2010 compared with 2009. (See a chart at the bottom of this story for 2009-2010 for all reported crimes.)
Sgt. Lee Lieber said the UCR is a valuable tool for measuring the effectiveness of the department's crime-fighting strategies over a long period of time.
For example, he said, the township experienced a rash of vandalism incidents in the downtown in 2009, so police increased their presence there and the incidents subsided.
"It's a grade over a period of a year," he said. "It gives us like a global picture of what's going on in the town."
As far as an analysis of the numbers and what they mean, Lieber said the department looks more closely at the specific crimes being committed than simply the raw data.
There was a string of bank robberies in 2010, he said, as well as an increase in thefts, namely shoplifting, at the Moorestown Mall. Without being too speculative, Lieber said some of that could probably be attributed to the poor economy.
But while the UCR provides a long-range look at crime, Lieber said the department views reports on a daily basis.
"We don't wait for the UCR stats to come out to act," he said. "As we see crimes happening, we respond immediately. We're looking at crimes as they happen."
In the last month, Moorestown has experienced several highly visible crimes, including an , a , and most recently in the Golf View Road area of town.
Lieber said police have blanketed that neighborhood with patrols in response to the burglaries.
Moorestown’s crime decrease is in line with county totals. Burlington County reported about a 2 percent overall decrease in crime. Neighboring Maple Shade and Mount Laurel also saw their criminal offenses drop in line with Moorestown’s. Crime in Mount Holly remained relatively flat, while Cinnaminson saw an uptick.
Over the past five years, Moorestown has seen a mixed bag of crime statistics. The black eye of the period is 2009, when non-violent crimes soared, pushing up the overall crime index. Other years, the crime totals have fluctuated.
The drop in overall crime from 2009 to 2010 is encouragaing, Lieber said. "We're always encouraged if there's a drop in crime. We can use that as a yardstick to see how we're doing. Fortunately, the UCR seems to bear out ... what we're doing is working."
Moorestown Five-Year Crime Totals
Non-violent Crimes *
Violent Crimes **
* Burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft
** Murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault
Statewide, crime was up 1 percent from 2009, according to the data. The report also shows a typical 24-hour cycle of crime statewide. In a day in 2010, it was typical to see: one murder, three rapes, three arsons, 32 robberies, 38 aggravated assaults, 43 vehicle thefts, 106 burglaries and 354 larcenies.
“Our latest crime data shows a slight increase in the overall crime rate in New Jersey,” state Attorney General Paula Dow in a statement. “We must be aggressive and smart in fighting crime, especially during this economic crisis facing our state and nation.”
View or download the full 2010 Uniform Crime Report.
Violent Crime in Moorestown
Non-Violent Crime in Moorestown
Motor vehicle theft
Other Crime in Moorestown