State officials: Paterson sees significant reduction in violent crime in 2023

Part of the decline in crime is attributed to the allocation of state resources and nearly $1 million in additional summer funding, officials say.

Joti Rekhi

Jan 3, 2024, 12:02 PM

Updated 202 days ago


New Jersey state officials, including the Office of the Attorney General, said the city of Paterson saw a significant reduction in crime in 2023.
Attorney General Matt Platkin’s office took over the troubled Paterson Police Department in March. The crime reduction includes significant decreases in the numbers of murders, shootings, shooting victims, aggravated assaults, sexual violence and robberies.
According to the Paterson Police Department's preliminary year-end crime reporting numbers, there were 17 murders in 2023 compared with 28 in 2022 (a decrease of 39.3%), shooting victims decreased by 25.2% (95 vs. 127), and aggravated assaults decreased by 15.8% (1,098 vs. 1,304).
“Shootings can’t be the only indicator of public safety in the city. We have to look at public safety holistically. And what I mean by that is: when you look at assaults, robberies, when the average citizen is being victimized walking down the street,” said Isa Abbassi, officer in charge. “Violent crime in Paterson is down 18%. That is beyond significant.”
Part of the decline in crime is attributed to the allocation of state resources and nearly $1 million in additional summer funding between Memorial Day and Labor Day where major cities typically see an increase in criminal activity, according to officials.
Officials say reasons for improvement also include a violence reduction initiative in which Paterson police officers provide additional coverage to dedicated hot spots as well as police department listening sessions to hear directly from city residents.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh responded to the statistics and told News 12 New Jersey there was a significant improvement in public safety with a 66% decrease in homicides and a 30% reduction in shootings during the first three months of 2023, before the takeover.
“Something was happening before and it was because of the strategies that we were implementing relative to not just relying on the police department to drive down crime. But taking a holistic and compassionate approach to public safety,” Sayegh said.
The mayor said strategies he has implemented to increase public safety include a reintegration program that’s been running for over a year, an opioid response team and empowering residents financially. He has hired about 200 new police officers during his tenure.
“The interesting thing about policing is, we’re constantly fighting the unknown and people judge us on the known,” said Officer in Charge Abbassi. “We don’t know what we prevented. We don’t know what we stopped from happening, but our intention is to continue towards that North Star and make sure nobody is victimized in our city.”
Sayegh says he would like to get control of his police department back.

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