RED BANK — Crime has increased in Red Bank and the borough has responded by adding additional police officers.
At a regular meeting last week, the Borough Council approved the hiring of three additional police officers, bringing the number of police officers in the borough to 40, which is close to its former staffing level of 42.
At the meeting Nov. 23, the borough also authorized the promotion of three existing officers.
Plans call for hiring three probationary officers all of whom have previous police experience, according to Chief Stephen McCarthy. The three are: Stanley D. Balmer, who comes to Red Bank from the Long Branch department, where he had been for five years before moving to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department; Garrett Falco, who had been with the Asbury Park Police; and Jhonatan R. Quispe, a former Rutgers University police officer, who had worked in New Brunswick and Camden, according to McCarthy.
“They’re very experienced, all these guys,” McCarthy said this week, and would be ready for immediate assignments with some additional department training.
The three are scheduled to begin on Dec. 1, according to McCarthy.
In addition to the hirings, the council authorized the promotion of three veteran officers, moving up Detective Robert Clayton to the rank of sergeant; and making Investigators Wendy Samis and Juan Sardo detectives.
As McCarthy explained it this week, the department had functioned with 42 members, but was reduced with the retirement of some ranking officers, including the previous chief. “At that point we restructured,” eliminating two captain positions. And this year the department saw three members leave, with one transferred to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, one retiring and the third officer taking a disability pension.
Fewer officers meant, “We moved people,” to accommodate the shortfall. “We have to fill patrol spots first,” McCarthy said. “That’s our number one priority.”
According to the most recent New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reports, the boorugh experienced an increase in crime from 2009 to 2010.
“Overall crime rates went up,” McCarthy acknowledged, “probably all across the board.”
The statistics indicate that that borough has experienced an increase in both violent and nonviolent offenses, going from a reported 30 violent offenses in 2009, to 55 in 2010, and from 227 to 286 for those classified as nonviolent. The report indicated increases in rape (from one in 2009 to five in 2010), robbery (from 10 to 26) and aggravated assaults (up to 24 from the previous year’s report of 17). Murders, however, were down, with none reported in 2010 and two occurring in 2009.
McCarthy explained that 2009, “was an extremely low year,” for the borough’s crime statistics. “So, it looked like a pretty big jump,” when in fact, he argued, the most recent numbers reflect what might be a slight increase over the traditional average numbers.
The rise in crime can be attributed to a wide variety of causes, including the economy, community involvement in policing and police performance in and of itself. “How we approach it and how we police also can affect crime,” he said.
Also in the final analysis, however, “Some crimes can’t be prevented,” such as domestic violence, which usually occurs behind closed doors. “We could have a police officer on every corner and we still won’t prevent that crime.”