||New Jersey Libertarian Party
Open Government Advocacy Project:
Source of crime information in your town
- I recently became aware of a form called a \"UCR-370\" that local police departments are required to file monthly with the New Jersey State Police. As an example, I have uploaded the Ventnor City (Atlantic County) Police Department\'s UCR-370 from April 2011 here.
The form reports the number of people who the police have charged during the month for various categories of offenses. For example, the form at the above link shows that during April 2011 Ventnor Police charged a twenty-two year old White male with possession of \"marijuana, hashish, etc.\" Based on this, I submitted the following, supplemental OPRA to the Ventnor police:
Please accept this e-mail as my request for government records in accordance with the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the common law right of access. Please respond and send all responsive documents to me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If e-mail is not possible, please fax responses and responsive records to me at 908-325-0129. Also, I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge your receipt of this e-mail.
Your April 2011 UCR-370 reports that a 22 year old male was charged with possession or use of marijuana or hashish. I\'d like a copy of the complaint (CDR-1 or CDR-2 or other form of complaint) issued against that defendant.
My thought is that knowing the names of CDS defendants might be a useful recruitment tool for the NJLP. Also, I think that regular review of UCR-370 forms could help citizens learn about instances of violent crime in their towns that might not have been reported in the local newspapers. While similar (but not as detailed) information is eventually available through the Attorney General\'s Office (see See pages 109-171. http://www.njsp.org/info/ucr2009/pdf/2009_uniform_crime_report_b.pdf ), the UCR-370 forms are required to be filed by local police departments within seven days after the end of the month.
The UCR-370 is not the only required filing. A complete list of Uniform Crime Reporting forms is on-line at http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/info/forms.html#ucr
Interestingly, the State Police considers the UCR-370 and related forms confidential and not available to the public. (N.J.A.C. 13:57-1.3(d) states that “The uniform crime report form shall be used by the Uniform Crime Reporting Unit of the Division of State Police for purposes of compliance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 52:17B-1 et seq. and such working documents shall be maintained as confidential by the Division of State Police and are not public records.”)
Despite this provision, the municipalities that I have requested UCR-370 forms from have all complied. Also, since the reports contain only numerical data, I suspect that if challenged, the confidentiality provision would be overruled.
If anyone wishes to request a UCR-370 from any municipal police department in the state, all they need to do is sent an e-mail to the municipal clerk in the following form:
Please accept this e-mail as my request for government records in accordance with the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the common law right of access. Please respond and send all responsive documents to me via e-mail at [address[. If e-mail is not possible, please fax responses and responsive records to me at 908-325-0129. Also, I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge your receipt of this e-mail.
I\'m interested in seeing some of the reports that the Ventnor Police Department submitted to the Uniform Crime Reporting Unit of the Division of State Police for purposes of compliance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 52:17B-5.1 et seq.
The N.J.-UCR 370 (\"Age, Sex, Race and Ethnic Origin of Persons Arrested (18 years of age and over)\") form submitted by the Police Department covering the month of [month and year].
If anyone experiences a denial based on N.J.A.C. 13:57-1.3(d), please let me know.
Somerset, New Jersey
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