FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts: Connie Jackson, 862-253-8454 or Precious Osagie-Erese, 973-419 3689
East Orange, NJ, Feb. 4, 2019: Under the administration of Mayor Ted R. Green, the City of East Orange is now the safest it has been since 1967, according to a year-end crime report released by the Department of Public Safety.
Over the past 15 years, overall crime has decreased 83% with a 19% drop in 2018. Between 2017 and 2018, homicides fell 33%, the number of shooting victims dropped 45% and non-violent crime is down 15%.
"These positive crime results represent the progressive direction that East Orange is moving in as a whole and I commend the hard work of the men and women of our East Orange Police Division, along with our community partners, for making this remarkable transformation possible," said Mayor Ted R. Green.
When measuring departmental performance, however, Police Chief Phyllis Bindi said she considers not only crime levels, but the quality, breadth and impact that the department’s crime-fighting efforts have on the quality of life of residents and their fear of crime.
“I am happy to report that results from a community wellness campaign show 92.2% of city residents reported feeling safe in public places during the daytime and 74.2% reported feeling safe in public places at night,” said Bindi. "It would have seemed unbelievable in 2003 when there were 7,249 crimes committed in East Orange that we would be standing here in 2018 reporting an 83% reduction in overall crime, including a 75% drop in violent crime.”
Bindi attributes the decrease to several factors, including the hiring of 34 new police officers, a targeted "Drive Right, Be Right" Campaign, reactivation of the Violent Crimes Task Force and establishment of a Joint Border Patrol Program with the City of Newark.
Within the first two months, “Operation Border Patrol” took down an “open air drug market” on the two cities’ borders, arresting 59 people and taking 18 guns and nearly $800,000 worth of drugs off the streets.
East Orange has plans to establish similar border patrol agreements with the Township of Bloomfield and the City of Orange Township in 2019.
Bindi said officers are engaging the community in a number of ways, including participation in monthly crime watch meetings and community events such as food drives, fundraising walks and holiday giveaways.
The department has also been focusing on increased youth engagement through the L.E.A.D. Program, Public Safety Explorers, and the East Orange Safe Haven Police Athletic League.
"I am extremely proud of the men and women of the East Orange Police Division, who are committed every day to identifying new strategies to drive down crime, under the leadership of Chief Phyllis Bindi," said Public Safety Director Dominick Saldida, who was appointed last December. "I look forward to building upon this success and fostering an even higher level of mutual respect and cooperation among our officers and the people who live, work, visit and worship here."