Crime Hits a Brick Barrier

This has been a banner year for Brick Township.

The 26-square-mile Ocean County municipality was recently named America’s safest city, after it had hovered for six years among the top five safest cities with a population of at least 75,000. The annual study by Morgan Quitno Press factors in six types of crime: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor-vehicle theft.

What does Joseph Scarpelli, who has been Brick’s mayor since 1994, think is the secret of its success? “We put our money where our mouth was,” he says. “I decided that we have to increase the manpower levels. When I took office we had 85 officers; we now have 130. My administration also decided to keep the police officers in the community, so they’re visible in the high school, the middle school, at our DARE program. We have a very young, aggressive police department, which sends out a strong message.” Scarpelli says that the town is also vigilant about gangs, which are an increasing problem in many New Jersey communities. “There are a lot of people who don’t think the cities should be improved, but you have the city problems spilling into the suburbs, and then even spilling into the Jersey Shore. We have four officers in our schools on a daily basis.”

Eleven other New Jersey cities were included in the Morgan Quitno study. Although Camden is still ranked as our most dangerous city, it moved up from most dangerous in the nation last year to fifth most dangerous this year.

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