Essex County sees major drop in homicides so far in 2023: Stephens

The homicide rate in Essex County year to date has dropped to its lowest number in decades.

Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II says a review of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for the county in 2023 revealed 57 homicides reported by local police departments, compared with 78 in 2022. This represents a 27% drop in homicides, or 21 fewer victims killed, so far this year.

Some 49 of the homicides, or 86& of them, led to the issuance of criminal charges, helping to bring closure to crime victims, Stephens says.  By comparison, the national clearance rate for homicide cases, based on FBI data, is 52.3%, significantly lower than Essex’s rate.

“This is by no means a victory lap since each homicide represents a loss of life, and each one pains us deeply,” Stephens said. “We will continue to work in close partnership with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to reduce all violent crime in Essex County, especially homicide.”

Forty-five of the 2023 homicides were firearm-related; eight involved stabbings;  four were domestic-violence related; and four were by other means. There were two additional homicides in the county, but since one was reported in an Essex County Park and the other on Port Authority property, they are not included in these figures. An additional homicide was reported in Newark in 2023, but since the victim died from an injury sustained in 2022, that also isn’t included.

The prosecutor says he commends the detectives and assistant prosecutors assigned to the Essex County Homicide Task Force, who work hand-in hand on homicide investigations to bring a sense of justice to crime victims and their loved ones.

The task force consists of detectives assigned from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, the Newark, East Orange, Irvington and Orange police departments, the New Jersey State Police and other local, state and federal partners, all under the leadership of ECPO Chief of Detectives Mitchell McGuire.

Here’s a breakdown for 2023 v. 2022 by municipality:

Municipality 2023 2022
•    Newark                                     43 50
•   East Orange                            3 11
•   Irvington                                  5 9
•   Belleville                                  2 2
•   Bloomfield                              1 1
•   Fairfield                                      0 1
•   West Orange                          0 1
•    Orange                     0 1
•    Montclair                                 0 1

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