William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews
In June residents were telling us there were several larcenies committed in Gloucester City. Since the City Police Department has stopped issuing weekly crime reports we asked the police to release their records about that crime over a period of two to three weeks. We were told to submit an OPRA request for that information. Instead of asking for the number of thefts over a three-week period, we narrowed it down to just one week. The OPRA was submitted on June 28. Because of the 4th of July holiday and the city offices working a 4 day week instead of 5 days we didn't receive the answer to that request until July 8.
The results of another OPRA we submitted regarding a fight between young black and white kids at a playground on Easter Sunday, April 4, are also published below. The kid's parents/guardians were also involved in that argument. The police would not release the information to us because incidents involving juveniles are restricted. We asked for a redacted report without the juvenile names and ages with a detailed description of what happened and where it occurred.
The information was still not released.
As a last resort, we asked for all the crimes committed on April 4. And, we got what we wanted. The names of the kids were redacted the names of the others involved were released. Since the matter was 4 months ago we have decided there was no reason to publish the names of the adults. From what we learned the dispute was settled between the two sides.
What we didn't expect to find in the answer to the OPRA was news about a drug raid that was conducted on that day in the 400 block of Middlesex Street. Six people were arrested.
Government agencies/departments have seven days to answer an OPRA request. If at the end of that time the request can't be fulfilled they can ask for an extension. For example, not too long ago the Gloucester City Police asked us for a 30-day extension to compile our request for a list of crimes committed in a week. It can be a long-drawn-out process and in today's news business where the topics change within a 24-hour period having to wait for information for a story for 7 days or even longer makes it awful hard to keep the public informed.
Gloucester City Police Chief Brian Morrell said in May the reason weekly crime reports were stopped was that his department was too busy answering calls. He said in one week alone there were 450 incidents that the Gloucester City PD answered. We don't know if these many incidents are happening each week or if it was an isolated case. Either way 450 calls in one week seems to be an extraordinary number for a town with a population of 11,200 people in a 2.8-mile radius. The thought is concerning.
July 10, as everyone knows by now the city experienced the first shooting in ten years. The 18-year-old city resident was struck 7 times. Supposedly 15 shell casings were found at the scene.
When asked why the weekly crime reports stopped Chief Brian Morrell, who is also the city administrator, sent us this response via email.
"Although we’d like to produce a crime report each week, it can be challenging based upon the volume of incidents we deal with weekly. You had sent an OPRA recently for a week’s worth of reports and there were 450 incidents in that time frame. We are in the final stages of accreditation, so assignments like generating a weekly crime report have to be set aside because my staff has a lot to do with this endeavor. I believe our department puts information out on our social media that is relevant and timely when it relates to crime and other information for the public. If there was something that didn’t make it out recently, I will make sure that gets rectified," said Morrell on May 13.
GCPD on July 8 sent out a media release warning the public there were 10 car break-ins/attempts in the neighborhood of Gloucester Heights in one night. They also warned residents that thieves were targeting catalytic converters.
Gloucester City is not the only police department in the immediate area to stop issuing weekly or monthly crime reports. To mention a few the towns of Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Mt. Ephraim have also stopped. Westville on occasion issues a monthly report.
We think the weekly crime reports helped to keep the public aware of what is happening in their neighborhood, and feel they should be reinstated. Not everyone has a Facebook page and it seems at times the police feel if they post something on their Facebook account that is all they have to do. Forget the media.
But, that is just our opinion. What are your thoughts?
Do you need to know what crimes are being committed in your area?
Or don't you care?
Are you concerned about more shootings happening in your City?
Are you satisfied with the police protection you are getting?
Please let us know as we will keep asking for crime data from the police if you want us to. If not we will spend our time looking into other issues. You can comment below this article. And if you do include your full name along with a working email address. Just your name will be published. Or if you don't want your name published send your comment to CNBNews1@gmail.com.
Below is what we received from our June OPRA (Open Public Records Act) request. And, below is the data from our request for crimes committed on Easter Sunday, April 4.
JUNE 22, 2021 Police responded to a home in the 300 unit block of Mercer Street, to investigate a call about unknown persons entering the residence through an unlocked back door. The perps stole multiple items, including a black chrome book.
JUNE 23, 2021 A police officer was dispatched to Kathryn as a resident wanted to report footage from her camera showing someone attempting to burglarize their vehicle. The footage revealed at 0134 shows a white male attempting to enter their car by pulling on the door handles. The suspect was described as a white male, thin, with a bald head wearing khaki shorts and a grey T-shirt. Entry was not gained and no items were missing.
JUNE 23, 2021 Police responded to a call in the 900 block of Monmouth Street for a report of multiple items being taken from a 2019 Chevy Silverado. Taken was a wallet containing identification along with credit and debit cards.
JUNE 25, 2021, A police officer performing parking enforcement came upon a suspicious-looking 2000 Chevy Cavalier that was parked on the west side of King Street near North Broadway. After further investigation by the officer, it was determined that the vehicle was reported stolen in Camden City earlier that day.
JUNE 25, 2021-A East Thompson Avenue resident observed a male juvenile take a bike from his neighbor's yard. The man chased after the juvenile and located him a few blocks away. The juvenile gave the bike to the neighbor. A search of the area for the suspect was negative.
JUNE 26, 2021 police were dispatched to the 400 unit block of Bergen Street for a report of a stolen quad. Unknown persons entered the resident's yard around 2 AM. The thieves cut the chain lock which was securing a National Motor Quad ATV 86ml engine. The bike was yellowed when the resident purchased it for $400 but he painted the plastic fenders black.
GLOUCESTER CITY POLICE CONDUCT DRUG RAID EASTER SUNDAY
A drug raid was conducted by Gloucester City Police on Easter Sunday, April 4 in the 400 unit block of Middlesex Street (above). Six people were arrested and charged with various CDS crimes. (image courtesy of Google Maps)
APRIL 4, 2021-A drug raid was conducted in the 400 unit block of Middlesex Street. Allegedly the occupants were distributing narcotics. Six suspects were arrested were Kenneth E. Bergman, Adrienne Alexis Clary, Paul David Kern, Alicia M. Koldesko, Megan D. Long, and Chris M. Storms.
Local officers involved in the investigation and raid included: Joseph Green, Michael Calzonetti, William Defoney, Carlos DePoder, Jason Flood, Johanna James, Raymond McKenney, Codey Nicholas, Keith O'Donnell, George Spingler.
APRIL 4, 2021-At 0205 a Gloucester City police officer was sent to Brooklawn to help officers from their department with a fight at the Empire Diner.
APRIL 4, 2021 Officer dispatched to the 100 unit block of S. Burlington Street for a loud noise complaint
APRIL 4, 2021 Officer dispatched to Route 130 for a report of an erratic driver.
APRIL 4, 2021 Officer dispatched to Cumberland and Sussex as three puppies were running at large. The dogs were in poor condition and kept in a yard. Animal Control was called.
APRIL 4, 2021 Officer was dispatched to Royal Farms, Route 130, and Market Street for a possible overdose. The person said she was sleeping and refused medical attention.
APRIL 4, 2021 officer was dispatched to the 100 unit block of King Street. The family residing in the home gave police numerous blunts and loose marijuana. One individual was taken to the hospital for treatment. The CDS was placed in a locker to be destroyed at a later date.
APRIL 4, 2021, An officer was dispatched to the 200 unit block of Essex Street as the neighbor was concerned about a fire pit in the rear of the residence. Everything was okay.
APRIL 4, 2021, officers were dispatched to numerous places in the city for people who overdosed
APRIL 4, 2021, two-vehicle accident in the 100 unit block of Monmouth Street. One person was injured and transported to Cooper Hospital for a complaint of neck pain.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The four incidents below in the unit block of S. Burlington Street pertain to the fight between the kids and parents/guardians at a nearby playground.
APRIL 4, 2021, unit block of S. Burlington Street for a possible fight, none was found however the citizens who gathered in the area were told to disburse and go home.
APRIL 4, 2021, unit block of S. Burlington Street, criminal mischief no charges filed at this time.
APRIL 4, 2021, police were called back to the unit block of S. Burlington Street, a small group of the people who were told to go home returned. The order was issued again the people left the scene.
APRIL 4, 2021, police were called again to the unit block of S. Burlington Street for a fight involving juveniles. All parties were advised of their right to sign a complaint.
APRIL 4, 2021, in the 100 unit block of Washington Avenue, a male fell from a ladder and was taken to Cooper for treatment.
APRIL 4, 2021, Burglary alarm at Municipal Building. A search of the premises disclosed the building was secure, highway department was called to reset the alarm.
APRIL 4, 2021, at 02:30 AM, business checks were conducted at the following locations: Dollar General, Speed Clean Laundromat, Hunan Chinese Restaurant, Metro PCS, H&R Block, Tropical Illusions, all were found to be secure.
APRIL 4, 2021, at 04:01 an officer was dispatched to the 900 unit block of Birch for a loud music complaint. Officer found all was quiet when he arrived.
APRIL 4, 2021, an officer assisted Brooklawn Police with a traffic stop on a vehicle that had fled the scene.
APRIL 4, 2021, the officer conducted a foot patrol in the area of TREBERO PLAZA, Route 130, and Klemm Avenue.
APRIL 4, 2021, the officer performed a property check at Bottle Stops Liquors, with no issues.
APRIL 4, 2021, officers were dispatched to 1400 Crescent Blvd., for a male unconscious inside a vehicle. Investigation reveals the individual was sleeping and was waiting for a tow truck as he had a flat tire.
ALL PERSONS CHARGED ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE.
*In 2018, Gloucester City, NJ had a population of 11.2k people with a median age of 34.8 and a median household income of $55,554. Between 2017 and 2018 the population of Gloucester City, NJ declined from 11,333 to 11,246, a -0.768% decrease, and its median household income grew from $51,152 to $55,554, an 8.61% increase. source Data USA
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