Report: Overall crime down 15 percent in Newark in 2018

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NEWARK -

The annual Newark crime report found that overall crime in New Jersey’s largest city dropped by 15 percent last year.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says that the crime statistics, coupled with an economic boom for the city, could mean that Newark is on the rise.

The annual report found that carjackings were down 56 percent, shootings were down 30 percent and homicides were down by 4 percent.

Baraka says that an improved economy and a decrease in unemployment is one of the reasons that Newark has been able to afford more police.

"I want to say that we are 180 officers-net plus than we were when I first took office in 2013,” the mayor says.

There has also been more community policing, and a larger presence from state police and investigations headed by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

"We have investigative units embedded in these communities, units that in 2018 resulted in 200 arrests, seizure of over 50 firearms,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says.

But do Newark residents feel safer in the city?

"Until I hear less sirens, less gunshots and all this other stuff then I'll feel safer,” says resident Sara Casimir.

But Casimir, who moved her family from Brooklyn to Newark two years ago, says that the city is doing much better than in the past. She was at the Prudential Center Thursday picking up tickets for Disney on Ice, courtesy of Mayor Baraka.

"The gentrification is not too crazy. People are still able to afford their apartments,” she says. “It's a little bit close-knit. I love how the community comes together for everything."

The only crime that saw an increase in 2018 in Newark was rape, which was up 18 percent. Police say that this is partly to do with the way that sexual assaults are now categorized and reported.

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