Questionable Crime Statistics in Atlantic City, NJ
In a recent report on crime rates in New Jersey, Atlantic City ranked as one of the state’s ten most violent cities. The latest New Jersey Uniform Crime Report, which compiles data from NJ State Police and is released annually, indicated that Atlantic City is one of the most violent cities in NJ.
In 2014, there were six murders, 15 rapes, and 200 violent assaults in Atlantic City. Moreover, according to the report, there were more than 500 violent crimes in Atlantic City in 2014. Although this represents a decline from the total number of violent crimes committed in Atlantic City in 2013, the number is still alarming for a city with a population of less than 40,000 residents.
Tourists Commit Crimes in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Atlantic City officials have complained that the report is inaccurate because it fails to take into account the impact of tourism on crimes rates in the South Jersey area. A large percentage of criminal activity in Atlantic City comes from non-residents who are just visiting for the summer or who are taking a brief vacation to the city.
Every year, millions of people trek to Atlantic City to visit the casinos and the Boardwalk. The influx of non-locals has a profound effect on the overall number of crimes, including violent crimes, in Atlantic City. Beyond that, thousands of individuals who work in Atlantic City travel from other areas.
Accurate Crime Statistics for Atlantic City
Government leaders and other authorities in Atlantic City argued that crime statistics should measure the rate of crime relative to the actual population. Atlantic City leaders have asked that the city be classified as a “resort municipality” in future crime rate reports. Once a municipality receives this designation, the crime rate is adjusted in order to account for a high number of tourists and “seasonal residents.”
Altering the way the crime statistics are measured for the annual study would not be unprecedented. In previous years, other Jersey Shore towns have received special designations to indicate that the crime rates are skewed by a massive influx of tourists and other out-of-area visitors. One example is the borough of Avalon, NJ, which has a population of just 1,300 local residents. Without an adjustment for a high number of tourists, the crime rate in Avalon would be more than twice as high as the crime rate in cities like Camden or Newark.
In fact, Atlantic City has previously been designated as a “resort municipality” for the purposes of compiling crime statistics. However, that changed when the number of seasonal residents shifted. The NJ Uniform Crime Report has a strict cutoff for determining what constitutes a “resort municipality”: the number of seasonal residents in the town must reach at least 25 percent of the total population throughout the year. Since the resident population in Atlantic City has remained constant while the number of seasonal residents has declined, the city failed to meet the standard of 25 percent in 2014.
For more information about the crime rate in Atlantic City, NJ, read the PressofAtlanticCity.com article at http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/does-the-state-s-crime-report-make-atlantic-city-look/article_8f5f9c18-eadb-11e4-895e-67458f03d652.html
If you have been charged with a violent crime in Atlantic City or anywhere else in Atlantic County, New Jersey, John W. Tumelty can help you. Mr. Tumelty is a former prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney with the experience needed to win in the courtroom. Call him today to discuss your criminal charges over the phone or schedule a free consultation at one of his conveniently located offices.