Four years ago you would never have read in The Westfield Leader what you read recently.
Crime is up! Arrests are down!
Shawn Mullen, candidate for council Ward 3 and a former FBI agent, referenced in his letter to the editor the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report. What it says about Westfield is frightening: crime is up in nearly all reported categories. Specifically, the report tells us that since 2019 property crimes are up 22 percent; larceny/thefts are up 21 percent and motor vehicle theft is up 25 percent. In fact, the police blotter in this newspaper two weeks ago listed four reports of thefts or attempted thefts of cars in Westfield and last week listed five auto break-ins or attempted break-ins and one theft.
You would expect that, as in the past, arrests would have increased as the crime rates went up. They have not! In fact, since the start of the Brindle administration in 2017, arrests are down, 1,293 in 2017 vs. 299 in 2020, a dramatic decline as reported by the WPD.
Why? Because enforcement of our laws has been tempered by the policies of the Brindle administration. It may be their priority to do so. But, you would think that their highest priority would be to protect the families in Westfield. Obviously, it isn’t.
Our speed and traffic tickets are also down dramatically, 5,400 in 2017 vs.1,583 in 2020. If you don’t believe the numbers, just try to make a turn on Central and South Avenues as cars speed through red lights.
The folks coming to our town to rip us off know they face a smaller risk of capture and arrest than they did four years ago. They see our borders as open due to not enough police patrols and a lack of strict enforcement of the law. That is what is making them bolder.
Some solutions to these dangerous statistics are apparent, but obviously not apparent to the Brindle administration. They have had four years to do it, and they didn’t.
A more reliable solution to our crime problem is a change in administrations. JoAnn Neylan, a former assistant district attorney and now a public defender, has written in these pages and spoken in public about what her administration would do to decrease crime in Westfield… more freedom to our police to do their jobs, stricter enforcement of the laws, and deployment of more officers on patrol providing them the latest detection technology, among other solutions.
The past four years have given us murals on walls, butterfly artwork in the streets, thousands of dollars spent on a coffee kiosk, seesaws in parking lots, and rainbow colored crosswalks. That’s nice.
It would really be nicer, however, to know that you could leave your home in the morning and know that your car is still there, and that you will not be assaulted on your way to get into it.
So, ’no,’ Westfield is not safer today than it was four years ago. But, we can change that on November 2.