By ERIN ROLL
Most crime in Montclair remained steady or declined between 2017 and 2018, but murder and sexual assault saw an uptick, according to the Uniform Crime Reports assembled by the FBI and the New Jersey State Police.
In years past, specifically 2016 to 2017, Montclair saw a spike in several types of crime, including burglaries, thefts, robberies and assaults.
The FBI recently released crime numbers for 2018 based on the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reports, which uses data submitted by local police departments. The reports also include college and university police departments, sheriff’s offices, and transit police departments.
Police Chief Todd Conforti said the decrease in some crimes in Montclair could be attributed to crime prevention education programs, advancements in security systems and video surveillance, community policing programs and partnerships and an increase in staffing directed towards traffic enforcement. The department also uses a new CAD (computer-aided design) software system that improves the department’s crime analysis, tracking and ability to direct patrol to areas where patterns are identified.
Montclair saw three homicides in 2018, after three years of no murders or manslaughter cases being reported for Montclair. In all three cases, the victims were women and the alleged perpetrators were current or former partners.
In May, 20-year-old Akirah Townes of Orange was stabbed to death, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, as she was preparing to leave for a vacation with friends. Her ex-boyfriend, Ahighiah Broomes, who escaped after the stabbing, later turned himself over to authorities.
Townes’ family launched a foundation, Akirah Kares, to help teens and young adults learn about the warning signs of domestic violence and abusive relationships.
Angela Bledsoe was shot and killed, allegedly by her live-in boyfriend James Ray, in October at the couple’s home on North Mountain Avenue. Ray fled the country, but was later apprehended in Cuba.
Bledsoe’s family established a scholarship fund at Bledsoe’s alma mater, Florida A&M University. Bledsoe’s daughter with Ray, who was six years old at the time, is now in the care of Bledsoe’s relatives.
In November, Tameeka Johnson, 40, was found stabbed to death at her apartment in the Union Gardens complex on Glenridge Avenue. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Jones, was named as a suspect in her murder, and was apprehended in March.
In 2019, there was one homicide. Josiah Correa, 24, of Montclair, was arrested on suspicion of stabbing his father, 51-year-old Jose Correa of Woodland Park, at the apartment that the younger Correa shared with his mother on Orange Road.
In 2018, Montclair saw a decrease in sexual assault reports with 10 down from 13 in 2017. In 2016, four were reported, and there were two in 2015.
Crimes against people
Robberies saw a decline last year, with five in 2018, down from the 18 in 2017. There 24 reported in 2016. In 2015, Montclair saw seven robberies.
In 2018, there were 19 documented aggravated assaults, dropping from the 29 in 2017. In 2016, that number was 21. In 2015, there were 16.
Crimes against property
Larceny and theft was the most frequent type of crime reported to the Montclair Police Department over the past four years.
In 2018, Montclair saw a decrease in thefts, following an increase between 2015 and 2017: 350 reported cases, down from the 450 reported in 2017. There were 417 thefts reported in 2016, and 382 reported in 2015.
Motor vehicle thefts saw an increase in 2018, with 42 reported motor vehicle thefts up from the 30 in 2017. In 2016, there were 31, down from 35 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2015.
Burglaries have declined over the past four years. In 2018, 110 were reported, dropping from the 170 reported in 2017. In 2016, there were 124 reported burglaries, dropping from the 143 in 2015.