By JOHN T. WARD
Chief Steve McCarthy has asked the borough council to OK the hiring of three patrol officers in an effort to get the number of uniformed officers back to 40, the number it began the year with.
The request, coming as officials brace for what is expected to be the tightest municipal budget in years, follows the release of the State Police annual Uniform Crime Reports data earlier this month showing that both violent and nonviolent crime in town shot up in 2010.
And if the trends of the first ten months of 2011 hold, “we’re looking at another 8- to 10-percent increase” for 2011, McCarthy tells redbankgreen.
The 2010 numbers showed that the violent crime rate rose to 4.5 crimes per 1,000 population, from 2.5 in 2009. Though there were no homicides in 2010, following two in 2009, five rapes were reported, up from one, and the number of robberies soared to 26, from 10 the previous year.
Burglaries classified as nonviolent offenses more than doubled, to 48, from 22, as the rate of nonviolent crime rose to 23.4 per 1,000 residents, from 19.1.
Echoing comments he made a year ago, McCarthy said he doesn’t get “too excited or too dismayed” by one-year changes, preferring to look at longer trends. After 2009, which was “a very low year” for crime, 2010 marked a return to levels seen in the years prior to that.
He noted that following a four-year period of 2005 through 2008, over which the average number of crimes was 332, the total fell to 257 in 2009, before shooting to 340 in 2010.
The upward trend in 2011, he said, “is nothing I’m happy with. It’s something we’re looking closely at” in terms of types of crime, where they occur, and other elements.
In a telephone interview Monday, McCarthy appeared reluctant to link the continuing rise in crime this year to manpower issues. But he noted that budget-driven furloughs of borough employees had reduced police man-hours by close to 1,000 hours in 2010. And, he said, “I think the police do play a role” in preventing crime.
The details of his request to the council have not yet been made public, but McCarthy said he is hoping to seek numerical replacements for three cops. If granted, the total number of officers would still be two shy of the level at the end of 2009.
The request is expected to be discussed at the council’s bimonthly meeting, which, normally held on a Wednesday, has been moved to tonight at 6:30 5 in the council chambers at 90 Monmouth Street.
Here’s the agenda: 11-22-11draftagenda1