Morris County is home to 39 different municipalities, and Chatham Township was ranked to be the safest out of them – as well as being the safest in New Jersey, according to a recent study published by Safewise.com.
Safewise.com labels itself as the “authority on safety and home-security news,” according to its website. It recently released its yearly list of the safest towns in NJ, using crime data reported to the FBI. Only towns with more than ten thousand residents were ranked; the site used population statistics from 2013. Safewise first compared the number of reported violent crimes and property crimes in each city, and then based each on a per-1,000 person ratio, making the ratios even despite the variety in town size. Twelve other Morris County towns were listed as well.
According to Safewise’s data, Chatham has a violent crimes per thousand rate of zero. It has a property crimes per thousand rate of 3.93. In another study done by Safewise, Chatham was ranked as the fourteenth safest township in the nation. Its police department also recently attained an accreditation by the NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police Accreditation Commission.
Chief of Police Steven Hennelly credited much of the rating to the police force in Chatham, as well as other elected officials.
“The hard work and dedication of our police officers along with the vigilance of our residents in reporting crime and suspicious activity makes our police force especially effective,” he said. “The support and commitment of our elected officials in providing the necessary resources that allow us to effectively police the community helps as well.”
Hennelly also points to two programs in the town – a community policing program, and a recently-restored neighborhood watch program.
Community policing is a philosophy that promotes and supports organizational strategies to address the causes and reduce the fear of crime and social disorder through problem solving and community police partnerships, according to information found on the website of the Chatham Township police force. The goal of the community policing program is to maintain the quality of life currently found in Chatham, and makes sure that the lines of communication between police and residents are clear and open. The town has been divided into ten districts, with each district being assigned one community policing officer. The program is led by Officer Michael Bloom.
The recently-restored neighborhood watch program helps build upon this philosophy, seeking to continue to build the police-citizen partnership and make sure that everything that could be a concern is reported.
“Neighborhood watch is Homeland Security at the most basic level,” reads the police force webpage. “It is an opportunity to volunteer and work towards the safety and security of our homes and our homeland. Neighborhood Watch empowers citizens and communities to become active in emergency preparedness, as well as in the fight against crime.”
The group works as a set of local eyes and ears, which is a massive help to the police force in the area, since they often cannot keep track of everything that is happening in such a large area.
“The program centers on neighbors working together along with the CTPD to help reduce crime and improve the overall safety of our neighborhoods,” said Kevin Sullivan, the mayor of Chatham. “If anyone has an interest in learning more about the Neighborhood Watch Program and how it can be implemented in your neighborhood, contact Officer Michael Bloom at 973-377-0100 x551 or at MBloom@ctpd.net.”
For more information about the ranking, visit https://www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-new-jersey-2015/.
For more information about Chatham’s community policing, visit https://www.ctpd.net/community-policing.html.
For more information about the neighborhood watch program, visit https://www.ctpd.net/neighborhood-watch.html.