NEWARK, NJ — Newark has been trying to tackle violence as a “public health issue” – and it’s working, the city’s mayor says.

Mayor Ras Baraka, Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé, and Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery Director Lakeesha Eure recently released 2022 crime statistics for New Jersey’s largest city, noting that there have been drops in nearly all types of violence, with the exception of robberies, which rose by 6 percent.

The latest numbers include a 15 percent drop in homicides, a 36 percent drop in non-fatal shootings, a 12 percent reduction in rapes, and a 9 percent drop in aggravated assaults (see chart below).

Fragé said the city’s homicide rate is the lowest it has been in nearly six decades, with 50 homicides reported last year – the lowest number since 1963.

Newark police officers and their state/federal partners recovered 777 illegal firearms in 2022, a 26 percent increase over the number of guns recovered last year, Fragé added.

Chief of Police Emanuel Miranda said the city has added four additional robbery detectives and a supervisor to investigate robberies.

“These detectives work on a 24/7 schedule and we commend their hard work and dedication to keeping Newark safe, resulting in a robbery close-out rate this year of over 39 percent and a carjacking close-out rate of 40 percent,” Miranda said.

According to Baraka, although the latest numbers are encouraging, “even one murder or one shooting in the City of Newark is one too many.”

“The good news is that fewer Newark families were traumatized by violence this year, which resulted in fewer funerals and fewer stressful visits to hospitals by the families of shooting victims,” he added.

“We are addressing violence as a public health issue and this year’s crime statistics attest that this strategy is effectively supporting our crime reduction efforts,” Baraka said.

Eure also credited the drop in violent crime to the city’s new approach, opining that “trauma is part of the human condition.”

And while it’s the duty of police to enforce the law, the city is also trying to address the social, emotional and mental impact of violence, Eure added.

“Otherwise, we will continue to see the cycle of violence, in which the victim becomes the perpetrator and the perpetrator becomes the victim,” Eure said.

Meanwhile, Newark continues to welcome new faces to its police force.

On Wednesday, officials swore in 55 new Newark police recruits during a public ceremony at Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The class of recruits includes 35 Hispanics, 17 Blacks, and three whites. Nine of the new officers are female.

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