New Jersey police to offer weekly online updates of municipal crime data

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The New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit will now be putting weekly updates of its municipal crime data online. The announcement follows another one CivSource reported on in December, made by the Philadelphia Police Department which said it would also be putting its crime data online. According to an announcement from Governor Chris Christie’s office, the New Jersey data will be updated every week or as often as municipalities provide fresh numbers.

The first such report is already available online, and breaks out the crime data in alphabetical order by city. Subsequent updates will be found on the Uniform Crime Reporting Unit website.

The data on the web site is unverified, and published as it is received from the sending municipalities. According to the state because of the unverified nature of the reports, the data may later be revised or otherwise altered in the State Police’s annual Crime in New Jersey report, which will continue to be made public in the fall of every year.

The state notes that the first sets of reports will unfortunately be offered as PDF documents, although officials claim that machine-readable formats are forthcoming.

Other cities like Baltimore and Chicago offer similar crime data releases. Police officials in all cities mentioned here have noted that the data may always be revised and that different units may report things under different categories. As such, individuals interacting with the data are advised to treat carefully.

“For the first time, we are able to give the public a sense of the current crime picture in their area. Even as preliminary data, this will be a great new tool for the public,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.