Rahway police solve fewer than one out of four reported crimes in the city, according to current State Police data. In four months, the city had three shootings in the city and none of the guns used in those crimes have been recovered by authorities.
That shoddy record is not stopping interim Mayor Samson Steinman from using taxpayer money to boast that violent crime is down more than 35 percent.
State Police data for Rahway 2013 shows that only 138 of 615 offenses were cleared. In 2012, 192 of 675 crimes were solved by police. While it is great that the number of crimes dropped from 763 in 2011, to 675 in 2012 and to 615 last year, it is disconcerting that police have become ineffective in bringing criminals to justice.
This is a failure of leadership because deployment and resource allocation are fundamental to the success of law enforcement. Rahway should ban local political involvement among police the same way federal employees are prohibited from partisan politics.
Rahway should also set traffic lights to overlap at key intersections with frequent auto collisions and stop robbing drivers with red light cameras that raked in $1.2 million last year. Replacing police with public health officials would make more sense than waging a war on drugs that has produced 40 years of failure.
Uniting police with the community must also be a priority for solving the problem of crime. We cannot expect society to embrace the people who would do us harm, but few people today recognize the police department’s mission ‘to protect and serve.’ This is particularly true among groups that are more prone to being victims of crime.
Finally, Rahway cannot stop crime or capture offenders by pretending this problem does not exist. Kids are shooting each other on our streets and city officials have been quiet. In this example of rising gun violence, the cover up is worse than the crime.
Real leaders know that the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that it exists. Police failure to solve crimes, especially such brutal offenses as armed robbery and gun violence, is a problem that cannot be covered up because lives are at stake.