Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hellwig: Crime is Down

Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig offered charts at Tuesday's community forum to show crime reductions including a 25 percent decrease last year in serious crimes.

"That's almost unheard of," he said.

Hellwig, who is also the city's police director, displayed a graph showing 2,071 serious crimes in 2005, the year before Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs took office. In 2006, the number climbed to 2,184, but last year the total dropped to 1,856. For the first six months of 2008, the rate is 1,135. (Note: That is 61 percent of the 2007 rate.)

Hellwig presented another graph on shots fired, a tally related to Operation Ceasefire, which investigates treats each shot fired as a potential casualty. The number dropped from 280 in 2006 to 204 last year, and at six months, the 2008 count is 88.

Homicides, an issue in the 2005 defeat of the late former Mayor Albert T. McWilliams, stood at 15 that year. McWilliams lost the June 2005 primary in his bid for a third term, but mounted a general election write-in campaign that Robinson-Briggs countered with campaign fliers pinning the high homicide rate to his administration.

In 2006, there were 10 homicides, Hellwig said, and in 2007, four. The first half of 2008 also produced four, according to the chart.

Hellwig called the drop in crime rates "the result of good, strong, positive leadership."

Even pedestrian fatalities declined from five to one since a big increase in motor vehicles summonses, he said, noting "8,000 summonses to date." The increased enforcement is meant to overturn the perception that drivers suffer few consequences for speeding or other infractions in Plainfield, in contrast to stricter enforcement in neighboring municipalities.

Hellwig, who began his public safety career in 1968, became emotional as he described his successes in Plainfield "in the twilight of my career."

"There has been change, positive change, historic change, because of positive leadership," he said.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous CH said...

I was pulled over on South Ave a month ago for a random checkpoint by Burger King; of my insurance, license, etc. THANK YOU Police Department for making sure safe and legal cars and drivers are on the City streets. Keeep up the Good Work !!!!

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the numbers in your post are correct, a drop of 328 "serious crimes" (2184 minus 1856) from 2006to 2007 represents a 15% drop, not 25% as Martin Hellwig suggested. Another concern is this year's statistic, which would represent a slight increase in serious crime by the end of 2008.

Is Mr. Hellwig trying to deceive the good people of Plainfield, or does he just need a math tutor?

10:39 AM  
Blogger Bernice said...

I thoght I checked it, but if you deduct the smaller number from the larger number and divide the results by the original number, it is 15 percent. Hmmm.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bernice,

The issue is not % but the perception of crime, violent or otherwise. MH offers no action steps or vision as to how to address this issue of crime. His public relations presentation is nothing more than what one would expect from an over paid and under worked general. His pronouncement gives litle solace to a community looking for leadership and vision accompanied by bold action steps. Quality of live issues, crime being one, have been and continue to undermine the community's enthusiasm.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Speeding is still a problem on residential streets like Watchung Ave. Enforcement is sporadic and seems to only occur for a short time when someone complains... we need consistent enforcement of the 25 mph speed limit, additional speed limit signs, and traffic calming measures like speed humps.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For 2008, the number of homicides to date is really TWO (2), not four.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recently a friend in the neighborhood told me about a speeding ticket she got on Leland. I was so excited she got a ticket, so excited that the police department was now addressing these quality of life issues. My friend thought I was nuts as she was fired up in a different way about getting the ticket, as you may imagine.

As the director stated, "the perception that drivers suffer few consequences for speeding" is finally reversing in Plainfield.

Good Job Martin.....thank you

J.M. Spear

11:43 PM  

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