NJ crime increases raise issue of police layoffs

By DAVID PORTER | May 15, 2011 | 12:15 PM EDT

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Violent crime is up in Newark and other New Jersey cities this year, and some are blaming it on recent police layoffs that are becoming commonplace across the country.

But some experts say it's difficult to make a direct connection.

For instance, Newark had its most deadly summer in decades last year, months before more than 160 police officers were laid off.

And this year's statistics are skewed by a 37-day murder-less stretch a year ago, the city's longest in more than 40 years.

Newark police union vice president James Stewart Jr. offers a counter argument. He says with more officers forced to go out on patrol, there are fewer to be deployed in high-crime neighborhoods or perform investigative work.