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FBI Report Shows Crime Up in Manchester

Recent FBI data shows some crime statistics in Manchester are on the rise

Recent data shows that, overall, crime in Manchester rose in 2010, a trend that the township's chief of said likely cannot be explained by any single factor.

Statistics recently released by the FBI show that there were 24 violent crimes — which include 21 aggrevated assaults, two robberies and one forcible rape — reported in 2010 when the township's population was 42,400. There were 459 instances of property crime that same year — 140 burglaries, 9 vehicle thefts and 310 larcenies/thefts. 

"Looking at the two years from 2009 to 2010, we can say that the economy had a lot to do with where we're at today with the increase in stats," said Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski. 

In comparison, Manchester experienced 17 violent crimes and 383 property crimes in 2009. Looking back to 2005, the township had 14 violent crimes and 347 property crimes and roughly the same population.

Despite the rise, Manchester's crime rate remains proportionally lower than many surrounding municipalities — in a comparison among 10 Ocean County towns, Manchester is near the bottom of the list in terms of violent and property crimes per 1,000 residents (see chart below).

Klimakowski and township administrators have already begun to address a part of the problem: law enforcement staffing shortages.

"Our goal is to rebuild the police department back to where it needs to be," said Klimakowski, who took over as chief on Feb. 1, 2011. "I can't fix the economy, but I can fix the police department."

Those fixes include adequately distributing manpower and adding staff to the detective bureau to solve crimes and catch repeat offenders early on, rather than after they have committed numerous offenses, he said. 

The department has faced over the past three years. In 2008, Klimakowski said that the force was at its peak with 68 officers, but 10 were lost to retirement over the following years. Only after renegotiating contracts with the local PBA was the department, which now employs 62 officers, able to begin hiring staff this past August in hopes of reaching 64 officers by June, 2012. 

"With more officers out on patrol, there would be more of a police presence," Klimakowski said. "We can certainly speculate and say that if there are more officers out there, maybe the thefts and burglaries wouldn't have taken place."

Being effectively two officers short in the detective bureau has been difficult. The bureau should employ six detectives, Klimakowski said. Five are on presently on staff, though one is often tied up with administrative duties including evidence and Megan's Law management.

"If we had adequate staffing at that time in the detective bureau, these crimes could have been solved earlier which may have reduced the number," he said.

The chief also said that in 2010, a single individual was responsible for a number of burglaries in the township's Pine Lake Park which section which, Klimakowski said, accounted for a portion of the increase.

Brick and Toms River, two bigger local municipalities, in their crime data. 

"Everybody is experiencing the increase," Klimakowski said. "I can't say definitively, but I can speculate, that a lot of it has to do with the economy and people being out of work."

The chief said that criminals have appeared more desperate recently, as the department has investigated "every type of theft imaginable," including more instances of people stealing scrap metal, Klimakowski said. 

Manchester administrators, like other towns, must be mindful of tightening budgets, which makes adding officers difficult. Even though the department has added officers, the recently introduced municipal budget shows that the total salaries and wages for police is proposed to drop $125,000 from 2011.

"I don't know of anyone who has increased their numbers since 2008," Klimakowski said. "People are trying to survive, just to stay level."

Though Klimakowski offered the aforementioned potential factors for increasing crime rates, he cautioned that it is difficult to trace the increases to a particular cause. 

"We can speculate to a lot of different things," he said. "I don't want to point the finger and say it was just because we were short on manpower or that the economy is bad, but I do think that they play into the big picture."

 

Crime in Manchester

Year Violent Crime Total Aggravated Assault Robbery Property Crime Total Burglary Vehicle Theft Larceny/Theft 2005 14 12 0 347 69 17 261 2009 17 11 6 383 92 9 282 2010 24 21 2 459 140 9 310 Property Crime Rates in Manchester
and Neighboring Towns in 2010 (per 1,000 residents):
Violent Crime Rates in Manchester
and Neighboring Towns in 2010 (per 1,000 residents):
  1. Seaside Heights - 90
  2. Toms River - 29
  3. Lavallette - 26
  4. South Toms River - 24
  5. Brick - 17
  6. Berkeley - 16
  7. Lakewood - 14
  8. Jackson - 13
  9. Manchester - 11
  10. Island Heights - 7
  1. Seaside Heights - 14
  2. South Toms River - 2.4
  3. Lakewood - 1.6
  4. Brick - 1.3
  5. Lavallette - 1.1
  6. Toms River - 1
  7. Berkeley - 0.9
  8. Jackson - 0.8
  9. Manchester - 0.6
  10. Island Heights - 0.5

 

With additional reporting from Charlie LaPlaca.

Bryan October 26, 2011 at 11:52 PM
Might help if our fine officers would focus on fighting crime instead of fund rising for the town aka seatbelt tickets etc! I'm sure they didn't go though all that training in the academy to write seatbelt tickets! I love our police dept but I really wish they would spend more time patrolling our streets watching our homes instead of waiting for speeders on 571 & route 70!
stacy October 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Lets hope these losers don't read the Manchester Patch.Now they know the police shortage and that they are fundraising and chilling on 571 and the 70!
Steve Crosson October 27, 2011 at 12:21 PM
I think Brian was correct when he stated that there is no definite cause for the slight increase in crime in Manchester. Let's face it folks the only municipality with a lower rate was Island Heights a town so small you could fit inside Crestwood Village with room to spare! To have to cover a large geographic area like Manchester is a difficult task which the current force seems to be doing very well
WhitingBoy October 27, 2011 at 01:11 PM
The police are up against it, with such a large area to cover. The actual crime rate is likely more chilling than these skewed numbers, if you took out folks over 65 who have a nearly 0% chance of committing these crimes. If you take out 30K people (likely the amount of seniors in villages), then our rate is only below Seaside in violent crimes (6 per 1000) and Prop crimes (46 per 1000). I’d love it if the parents had to pay the fine or do the time with their children (even the 20+year old knuckleheads who live at home and do nothing but cruise around at night causing problems). If your teen is out with nothing to do every night, and you don’t care where they are; they are more than likely causing trouble. This likelihood goes up if the teen leaves the house dressed like a hoodlum. People can still watch their kids in a bad economy. The police are doing their jobs…we just have to be more vigilant and call them when we see something suspicious.
Sandra Couto October 27, 2011 at 03:38 PM
We recently moved from the eastern part of Monmouth County where these statistics probably represent one quarter of a year instead of a whole year. While more police, focusing on crime prevention is always a plus-everyone should remain vigilent & aware of their surroundings at all times. The best defense is a good offense. We all play a part in reducing & keeping keeping crime stats low.
Whiting Resident October 27, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Ok... just throwing this out there. Maybe if we didn't pay our police as much as we did then we could hire more of them. I am sure that there are a huge number of competant individuals that would be more than willing to take the job at 25% less than what were paying them now. We could save money and increase the workforce at the same time. In the real world thats how things work.
Da Gr8 1 October 27, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Can someone break this down even farther? I would love to know the statistical breakdown of the municipality covering beckerville roosevelt city pine lake ridgeway richard estates holly oaks ect ect ect
Traciee October 28, 2011 at 12:57 AM
I am sure the polce are doing the best job they can with what they are given to work with. And as far as "chillin" on rt 571...people think that it's a race track most of the time and how many "drug busts" are made from them "fundraising"! Lets think positive and give credit where credit is due.

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