Overall crime in Toms River increased in 2011 from 2010, according to data released with the state’s 2011 Uniform Crime Report.
The number of reported violent crime dipped slightly, from 103 instances in 2010 to 101 in 2011. But nonviolent crime — categorized as burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts and arson — rose from 2,862 instances in 2010 to 3,140 in 2011, the report shows.
"A lot of it has to do with the young people who have fallen victim to prescription drugs and heroin," said Chief of Police Michael Mastronardy, adding that he does not believe the slumping economy is solely to blame for more theft. "As a result of the addiction, these people need cash."
Instances of larceny — thefts performed without a weapon or force — led the nonviolent crime category, with 2,504 instances reported in 2011 compared to 2,286 in 2010. Burglary was up from 547 instances in 2010 to 589 in 2011, according to the report, and motor vehicle thefts also saw an increase in 2011, as 47 instances were reported compared to 29 the year prior.
The thefts can start small, with children victimizing their parents' property at home for quick cash. But to sustain a drug habit, more targets outside of the home are needed, the chief said.
"A lot of good young people are getting hooked up into this thing," Mastronardy said. "Try to get involved. Ignoring it is not going to make it any better. Addiction is a tough situation to overcome."
These nonviolent crimes have upticked steadily in Toms River, as 1,849 were reported in 2005. Violent crime in the township has decreased in that same time, with 133 incidents reported in 2005, data shows.
The majority of violent crimes in Toms River were robberies, according to the report, with 61 in 2011 and 52 in 2010. Aggravated assaults were down in 2011, dipping to 36 that year compared to 43 in 2010, according to the report.
Toms River reported one murder and three rapes in 2011, down from three and five instances each, respectively, in 2010, the report shows.
The overall crime rate per 1,000 residents increased from 32.5 in 2010 to 35.5 in 2011. The violent crime rate remained steady at 1.1 in 2010 and 2011, and the nonviolent crime rate per 1,000 rose from 31.4 in 2010 to 34.4 in 2011.
South Toms River's overall crime index rose from 102 in 2010 to 109 in 2011, according to the report, as instances of violent and nonviolent crime rose in the borough.
Countywide, the crime rate per 1,000 residents rose from 21.1 in 2010 to 21.8 in 2011. The violent crime rate per 1,000 declined by 0.1. The nonviolent crime rate increased, with 20.7 incidents per 1,000 in 2011 from 19.9 in 2010. There was also a 3 percent rise in overall crime in New Jersey from 2010 to 2011, with increases in murder, robbery and rape.
Ocean recorded an increase in only one recorded violent crime category — rape with 48 in 2011 from 32 in 2010. The overall incidents of crime was 12,570 in 2011 as compared to 12,162 in 2010. The incline was primarily attributed to larceny with 9,326 in 2011 compared to 8,881 in 2010.
The map plots the total crime rate per 1,000 people for seven index crimes (violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and non-violent crimes are burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) using data from the recently released 2011 Uniform Crime Report.
The crime rate per 1,000 was considerably lower in the nearby, smaller municipalities. Barnegat registered a 2011 rate of 11.8 and Ocean Township 19.4. In Berkeley Township, the crime rate per 1,000 was 16.0.
As required by statute, all law enforcement agencies in the state submit monthly and annual summary crime reports to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, under the NJ State Police.
Information about 2012 will be released in December 2013.