Crime rate increases, but burglaries down in Medford

While overall reported instances of crime rose 3.7 percent in 2016, the Medford Township Police Department saw a decrease in burglaries.

While the overall crime rate in Medford Township last year increased 3.7 percent according to the Unified Crime Report, the police department saw the number of local burglaries decrease from 39 reported instances in 2015 to to 26 in 2016 — a roughly 33 percent decrease from the prior year. This stat has led Medford Township Police Department to believe it is moving in the right direction.

“One of the positive things that has come about this past year is that Medford’s burglary statistics are down, which is reassuring because it shows that our patrolling is working,” Chief Richard Meder said. “We will continue to work with the community, but we need people to talk to us and tell us when they see things that are out of the ordinary so we can address them.”

Although fewer reported burglaries in town is an unquestionably positive feat for law enforcement officials, other categories of crime, such as rape, assault, larceny and motor vehicle theft, increased slightly in 2016. Yet, seeing as these increases were minor — for example, motor vehicle theft increased from one reported instance in 2015 to three in 2016 — Meder said he is not overly concerned that the report means there is an increase in crime throughout the town.

“[The crime rate as reported by the UCR] went up a little over the previous year, but our crime rate is still right where we normally are,” Meder said. “We probably average between 220 to 300 [crimes per year] going back over the past couple of years. We’re right around where we normally are, give-or-take a little.”

Published by the state Department of Law and Public Safety each year, the Unified Crime Report compiles and lists official data on reported crime from all municipalities. This information is typically utilized by police departments to analyze and assess how their efforts are meeting the needs of the town they serve annually.

Meder, along with other department staff, plans to evaluate and assess the recently released UCR, making sure that it accurately compares with the Medford Township Police Department staff reports that had been filed last year. This is a standard protocol the department completes each year to ensure all reports filed are accurate, and that the UCR reflects the correct statistics.