The mayor’s announcement yesterday that he will not run again for the city’s highest office grabbed headlines throughout the region.
At a news conference late last month, the mayor also made headlines. Called to trumpet his administration’s success driving down crime, the mayor made a bold claim. “We’re on target for the lowest number of homicides since records have been kept in Jersey City. It’s quite a significant accomplishment.”
If true, the achievement would have been newsworthy. And, indeed, local and statewide media repeated the mayor’s claim. But like other claims the mayor has made on crime generally and homicide specifically, there was no truth to it.
In fact, as the mayor pointed out with apparent pride, there had been 12 homicides on the date of his press conference. What he didn’t say was that this was one more than Mayor Jerramiah Healy’s low of 11 in 2012.
And on Christmas day, 46-year-old Khaliq Lockett was gunned down in Bergen-Lafayette, becoming the 13th homicide of the 2022, putting the administration’s record at two higher than Healy’s low. A 43-year-old Jersey City man has been arrested and charged in the case.
Misleadingly, at his news conference the mayor also went on to compare the figure for the 2022 along with that of the average number of homicides under Healy. “When we took office, there was on average, mid-twenties in the number of homicides per year. This year, we are at twelve.”
The Fulop administration has averaged 19.5 homicides per year, lower than Healy’s 23.5 average but nowhere near twelve.
In his “Recap of 2022 in Jersey City” email on Saturday, the mayor repeated the claim with a twist, writing that in 2022 the city “had the lowest homicide rate…since records have been kept.” Again, the claim was untrue. Adjusting for Jersey City’s population growth, the “rate” was identical with Healy’s 2011 number at 4.5 homicides per 100,000 residents.
Indeed, when compared with New Jersey overall and Newark next door, the administration’s performance has been sub-par. Through 2020, the last year for which records are available from the FBI, Jersey City underperformed. While Jersey City’s average yearly homicides went from 23.5 to 20.5 under Fulop, that drop of 13 percent wasn’t as good as the state, which saw homicides drop by by 22 percent. Nor was Jersey City’s performance as good as Newark’s, which saw a 40 percent drop in homicides over the same period.
Last month’s news conference wasn’t the mayor’s first foray into homicide disinformation. In October 2019, the mayor said the city was on track to see a “twenty-year low” in homicides. Again, the mayor’s claim was picked up by local media. Again, the claim proved untrue. By the end of the 2019, the city logged 13 murders, again, two more than Healy’s low.
With his current term ending at the end of 2025, Fulop will continue to shape the city’s approach to public safety for three more years.
The mayor’s office did not respond to an email requesting comment.