The number of homicides in the city dramatically decreased from 2017 to 2018, but so have other categories of crime, according to police crime statistics.
Police reported a 50-percent reduction in murder, 30-percent drop in motor vehicle theft, 20-percent drop in burglary, and 20-percent decrease in arson.
But there were increases in larceny, 30-percent spike, rape and robbery, each 9-percent, and aggravated assault, 1-percent.
Police director Jerry Speziale said larceny has been on the rise due to the ongoing opioid epidemic. Paterson has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Municipal officials have filed a lawsuit against drug companies that pushed addictive painkillers allegedly causing the epidemic.
“It could be anything from a stolen phone to shoplifting. Those are your broad-based thefts,” said Speziale, explaining larceny. “I believe the opioid crisis drives that because people are trying to get money for drugs.”
Burglaries dropped as a result of increased police presence or “omnipresence,” said Speziale.
Speziale said the definition of rape has been changed from actual penetration to touching which has led to increases over the past two years. He said the increase in aggravated assaults is not significant.
Aggravated assault increased by 1-percent, according to police data.
The change in crime statistics from 2017 to 2018:
- Murders dropped from 24 to 12 — 50-percent decrease
- Rapes increased from 45 to 49 — 9-percent spike
- Robberies climbed up from 488 to 532 — 9-percent increase
- Aggravated assaults increased from 474 to 480 — 1-percent climb
- Burglaries dropped from 994 to 797 — 20-percent decrease
- Larceny increased from 1776 to 2320 — 30-percent spike
- Motor vehicle theft decreased from 631 to 441 — 30-percent drop
- And arson dropped from 10 to 8 — 20-percent drop.
“We’ll continue to work to bring these numbers down,” said Speziale.