Jerramiah Healy likes to tout how crime in Jersey City has dropped 33 percent since elected mayor in 2004. This is wonderful news, or is it? Such statistic gives little comfort to many residents who feel unsafe living in Jersey City. When Mayor Healy talks about crime statistics, he conveniently omits arrest statistics. It is like reporting a person’s weight without knowing their height or reporting the temperature without knowing the geographic location or season. Without such complementary information, how do you know the person is overweight or if the weather is unseasonably cold? There is more to this story.
It begins on January 21, 2010, when the mayor’s office issues a press release, "Crime drop a 30 year low". Mayor Healy subsequently took offense at all the local media outlets, including this newspaper, for refusing to report such remarkable news. As someone who lives in Jersey City, I understood well their skepticism. At such time, I was actively tracking Jersey City crime statistics reported by the Jersey City Police Department (JCPD) website. I contacted both the Police Director’s Office and the Mayor’s Communications Office and politely inquired why arrests are down significantly, too. Naturally, they did not mention such in the press release. Despite receiving a terse response, they never provided an answer. (The question was later posed to the administration, almost a year later, in a January 23, 2011 Hudson Reporter article). It is common knowledge among criminologists, law enforcement professionals, and economists that "offenses" (crime) and arrests have an inverse, causal relationship. In plainer terms, more police activity (arrests), leads to fewer crimes committed. Offenders are either deterred, meaning they move on to less risky (and hopefully pettier) criminal activity or become incapacitated (imprisoned).
Mayor Healy likes to tell residents that crime has dropped because he has hired 300 more police officers during his administration. Perhaps this is so, but how will we know? I have my doubts. Why? Because the JCPD stopped reporting arrest counts immediately after the Mayor’s January 2010 press release. You will no longer find arrest information reported in the COMPSTAT section of the JCPD website. This change occurred immediately after I privately inquired about a decrease in arrests. Coincidence? Decreasing crime has been a longstanding national trend across America’s cities. How does the Healy administration take credit for such efforts when they hide crime-fighting information? What good does it serve the public to provide more highly trained and skilled police officers if they are not making more arrests? With the right leadership, our fine police department has the talent and expertise to excel. Leadership starts with the Mayor’s office. The city needs a pro-active Mayor that has a vision, a plan, and the courage to implement effective crime fighting efforts. In my opinion, the best candidate to be Mayor of Jersey City is Steven Fulop. Unlike the current mayor, this battle-tested Marine has a vision and a plan for Jersey City. You can read more about his Public Safety Plan at: http://stevenfulop.com/platform