JACKSON – When councilman Barry Calogero learned Jackson Township was considered to be the second safest township in the state he was thrilled but not surprised.
“We have a police department second to none. They are dedicated professionals and I am 100 percent supportive of and proud of them,” he said.
Calogero is referring to a study based on various statistics conducted by radio station 94.3 FM The Point, an affiliate of Townsquare Media’s 101.5 FM which has Jackson listed as the second safest community in the state. The first is Middletown.
The study involved 36 similar communities that have populations of at least 50,000. Collectively last year, they accounted for about 70 percent of the state’s homicides and robberies and about half of all burglaries according to the report.
The statistics used to formulate that view include that Jackson has a population of 56,563 and that there were 0.3 violent crimes per 1,000.
There was one homicide, no incidents of rape, four robberies, eight aggravated assaults, 89 burglaries and 16 car thefts.
“This is excellent news,” Mayor Mike Reina said. “Jackson is a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. That is why I moved here 30 years ago.”
“This news was a nice shot in the arm for the town. People come here to make the best for their families,” Reina said.
“Both the mayor and council have for the past four years ensured we appropriate budgetary funds towards increasing the rank and file each and every year,” Calogero said.
He added that it was important for members of the police department to “have the proper tools to do their job.”
“This news, on top of the spectacular efforts of our Little League during the world series this past summer is a testament that Jackson Township is a beautiful, safe community to live and to raise a family in,” Calogero said.
“I believe the credit has to be given to the line personnel of the agency,” Jackson Police Department Public Information Officer Captain Steven Laskiewicz said. “The patrol officers, detectives and dispatchers deserve thanks for their hard work and dedication to the residents of the township and also to the first line supervisors for their guidance and oversight of their personnel.”
Laskiewicz added that the department’s officers “take on a huge workload every day and do it professionally, and I, as well as Chief (Matthew) Kunz appreciate their commitment. Everyone does an outstanding job for an agency which covers 100 square miles and which could easily benefit from increased staffing over our current numbers.”
“Keep in mind though that this is based on (uniformed crime report) rates which only take nine very specific factors into consideration. It does not account for the many other crimes, offenses or types of incidents that our officers respond to and that keep the department busy, which as of this date has over 78,000 incidents/calls for service logged,” Laskiewicz said.
Monmouth and Ocean counties faired fairly well in the study. The station noted that these results come from municipalities with populations of 50,000 or more. Results are also based on the rate of violent crimes and not the number of crimes.
Camden was ranked as the least safe town in New Jersey, a reputation which the community has had for years in similar comparative studies.
Middletown is the safest town in the Garden State according to the report and has a population of 65,919, there were 0.3 violent crimes per 1,000. That town’s breakdown includes no homicides, three reported cases of rape, four robberies, 10 aggravated assaults, 62 burglaries and 10 car thefts.
The report has the neighboring community of Lakewood ranked at 16. Lakewood’s statistics include a population of 100,269, with 1.7 violent crimes per 1,000 with two homicides, 12 cases of rape, 61 robberies and 94 aggravated assaults. It also includes 193 burglaries and 38 car thefts.
Toms River did better by half and was ranked at No. 8. The township’s population tips at 90,504, with 0.7 violent crimes per 1,000, including one homicide, two cases of rape, 31 robberies, 33 aggravated assaults, 254 burglaries and 36 car thefts.
Looking toward Jackson’s future, Laskiewicz said “the township has been working to be more proactive to address issues and plan for future growth which is coming with the large Jackson 21 projects as well as several others which are being planned in other parts of town.”