Crime rate decreases 21.7% from last year

Evesham Township’s crime rate has dropped 21.7 percent, with 83 fewer crimes than last year, according to the state’s Uniform Crime Reporting rate.

According to the report, simple assaults are down 100 percent, with no incidents this year compared to 10 last year. In addition, theft is down from 254 last year to 198 recorded incidents this year.

“Our agency attributes the success to two new initiatives, the Data Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Safety Zone and the Intelligence Led Policing. We put them in areas of high amounts of crime,” Sgt. Joseph Friel said.

According to the department’s website, DDACTS is a law enforcement operational model supported by a partnership among the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and two agencies of the Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Justice.

DDACTS integrates location-based crime and traffic data to establish effective and efficient methods for deploying law enforcement and other resources. Through using geo-mapping to identify areas that have high incidents of crime and crashes, DDACTS uses traffic enforcement strategies that play a dual role in fighting crime and reducing crashes and traffic violations.

The goal of DDACTS is to reduce crime, crashes and traffic violations in Evesham Township.

“We use it when there are spikes in drug activity or a burglary spree. We place undercover officers in that area, and they work really great together,” Friel said. “We see it as putting out fires that pop up all over town.”

The department regularly posts statistics as a result of the DDACTS initiative. According to Friel, Intelligence Led Policing is utilized to direct patrol efforts at reducing disorder and crime.

“If a rash of burglaries pops up all over town, ILP comes up with stats, prepares a report and works together to address that, whether it’s unmarked police cars or undercover cops we’ll use to reduce the crime,” Friel said.

Additionally, the department utilizes Facebook and Twitter for residents to report crime.

“We definitely believe it has a substantial influence on bringing crime down,” Friel said. “It allows people to report crime information to us anonymously. It has been a deterrent, according to a confidential informant. They tell us they don’t want to deal with Evesham because they don’t want to end up on the social media pages.”

The county’s initiatives play a role in the decline as well.

According to Joel Bewley, spokesman for the Burlington County Prosecutors Office, the county invested $4.8 million in New World Systems — a software, hardware, training and support company for local government and public safety agencies — using a federal grant in 1996.

Departments in the county have the option of using the system, and a majority of them do, he said. When residents dial 911, the system locates where the call is coming from. The information from the call is entered into the system by the dispatcher and the proper authorities are sent to the scene. The program allows direct communication with an officer and mobile data terminal located in squad cars, and departments can look back and analyze incidents entered in the system, Bewley said.
“We view it as a very effective program,” he said.

Recently, the department released statistics on what crime in Evesham looks like the first six months of the year.

According to the report, the percentage changes are from projected totals of 2013, compared to 2012.

Burglary is down 78 percent; robbery is down 33 percent; there have been no reports of arson and assaults are down 40 percent. Of the crimes in the report, DUIs were the only one to increase. They’re up 16 percent from last year. Weapons offenses, drug offenses and motor vehicle accidents are down 60 percent, 21 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

The numbers can be seen on the department’s Facebook page.

“We want residents to know that crime is down in Evesham. Social media gives a different avenue and what’s going on in the township,” Friel said.