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Hamilton citizens need a full police force

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As published in the Times of Trenton http://www.nj.com/times-opinion/index.ssf/2012/04/times_of_trenton_letters_to_th_300.html

Hamilton Township’s Police Division is the finest police division in the state, if not the country. It needs our continued support.

The mayor sent out a press release last month touting reduced crime in Hamilton in order to avoid opposition to his plan to reduce the police budget and eliminate six police officers. This will reduce police rolls to seven officers less than what the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the FBI recommend for a community of our size. This shortsighted strategy to advance a budget goal gives residents a false sense of the reality of crime in Hamilton.

Since the township’s data have yet to be validated by the New Jersey State Police’s Uniform Crime Division in its Uniform Crime Report for 2011, it is premature to announce a 3 percent reduction in crime in Hamilton (“Hamilton crime rate drops 3 percent in 2011,” March 2).

Using the mayor’s office’s own 2011 data to compare to the 2010 data published by the State Police, what we have to be grateful for are two fewer murders and 20 fewer robberies. These two achievements should not be used to mask the rise in other serious crime categories.

2011 saw eight more rapes, a 10 percent increase in aggravated assaults, a 20 percent increase in burglaries and a 10 percent increase in automobile thefts. These are challenges to address, not victories.

If the mayor is successful in eliminating more officers, the consequences will be reduced safety for Hamiltonians. After the Trenton police layoffs, what our police need is added support, which I hope council will give by rejecting the mayor’s proposal.

Daniel Keelan

Hamilton

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