For the third consecutive year, the level of crime in in Mt. Laurel has decreased.
According to the New Jersey State Police’s Uniform Crime Report, the overall level of crimes reported in Mt. Laurel for 2015 dropped 13.4 percent compared to 2014.
In 2015, Mt. Laurel police saw 666 crimes reported, compared to 769 in 2014 and 859 in 2013.
Much of the drop between 2014 and 2015 can be attributed to the same factor that caused the drop between 2013 and 2014 — a significant decrease in the overall number of burglaries and thefts.
For 2015, the number of total burglaries reported in Mt. Laurel was down 40.4 percent, with a drop from 114 reported in 2014 to 68 in 2015. For 2015, the number of total thefts in Mt. Laurel was down 14.6 percent, with a drop from 514 reported in 2014 to 439 in 2015.
Those figures are keeping in line with the decrease in the number of burglaries and thefts the township saw between 2013 and 2014, which at that time saw total burglaries drop 24.5 percent and total thefts drop 7.9 percent.
When asked about the decrease in burglaries and thefts over the past several years, Lt. Stephen Riedener of the Mt. Laurel Police Department pointed to a database system adopted by the department in October 2013. The system allows Mt. Laurel Police to track the transactions of secondhand goods in the township. It is also used by several police departments in surrounding municipalities.
Many thefts and burglaries result in the selling of the stolen items in other towns, so cooperation and effective communication among all departments in the area is critical to having any chance of catching these criminals.
“Our detective bureau is constantly networking with other departments in our region, talking and sharing info about tactics and strategies to keep crime down,” Riedener said.
The database tracks the secondhand dealers or pawnshops where criminals might go to sell stolen items, and then officers are able to later search the database for items matching those reported stolen to the authorities.
“(The database) continues to be a real big help,” Riedener said. “It gives detectives solid leads and evidence against people, deterring them from selling in the area.”
Riedener accredited the “data driven approach” to the success of the department’s anti-crime efforts, as it is constantly looking for the best place to station officers to prevent thefts.
“Specifically in our commercial areas, as that is where most of our crime comes from,” Riedener said.
Regarding the other areas of crime cataloged by the report for 2015, Mt. Laurel saw little change.
Mt. Laurel had 33 violent crimes reported in 2015, a slight uptick from the 28 violent crimes reported in 2014. The number of reported robberies also increased slightly, from 12 in 2014 to 13 in 2015.
There were also 18 motor vehicles stolen in Mt. Laurel in 2015 compared to 16 in 2014.
To see the full 2015 Uniform Crime Report for Mt. Laurel or other New Jersey municipalities, visit www.njsp.org/ucr/current-crime-data1.shtml.