Township Saw Crime Increase in 2011
Millburn Police Chief releases crime stats for 2011; police worked more cases last year.
Millburn Police saw an overall increase in crime in 2011, mostly because of the rash of car burglaries and thefts last year.
In addition, there were 10 more home burglaries in 2011 than in 2010 with a total of 61.
Millburn Police Chief Greg Weber released the numbers of cases of major crimes in 2011 on Wednesday, saying that among the total 636 larceny cases, more than 200 were car burglaries. There were 439 larceny cases in 2010, according to the crime statistics.
In 2011, however, there were 29 simple assaults 19 aggravated assaults, including an attempted carjacking where the victim was hospitalized after being pistol whipped in a parking lot of The Mall at Short Hills.
Millburn was among towns hit by a statewide car theft and burglary ring in 2011 that went into 2012 and was busted up last month as a result of a 10-month-long task force investigation that led to the arrest of 11 people.
“We played a big role in that,” said Weber, who did not want to release the name of the officer on the task force because there are still some loose ends to tie up with that case and more arrests could be coming. “I’m proud of the work he did with the task force. He was right in and did a really great job.”
Millburn was the only small town on the task force, not only because it was the site of numerous cases, but Millburn led the way for the task force by inviting the neighboring towns to share information on the cases last summer.
The car theft and burglary ring preyed on people who did not lock their car doors and sometimes even easier targets – those who left the keys in the car as well, Weber said.
“Out of every 10 car thefts, there was probably one with the doors locked,” he said. “And out of 25 car burglaries, maybe three had locked doors.”
While 26 felt like a lot of car thefts, Weber said, a decade ago, there were 89 car thefts and in 2003, 110 cars were stolen.
In addition to seeing more cases, there were fewer police officers last year. Weber has been addressing the increase in crime with increased patrols, three new hires in the patrol ranks, the purchase of a license plate reader and a proposal to township for video surveillance cameras to be place strategically around town.
Township officials are still reviewing the camera request, which would cost about $500,000 if Weber were to get the number of cameras police think would be ideal for Millburn and Short Hills.