BARNEGAT, NJ – We are excited to announce the rollout of our new neighborhood policing initiative. This program will prove to be a significant undertaking for the agency as we continue to adapt to the needs of the community. In 2018, Barnegat realized the success of years of dedicated commitment by the women and men of the agency when Barnegat achieved the lowest crime rate in Ocean County. Barnegat continues to enjoy a crime rate that is as much as 75% lower than the crime rates of the 90s. That success has continued through 2019 and 2020. While achieving the lowest crime rate in Ocean County is an important accomplishment, it is not enough for us to sit back and treat it as a victory. Instead, we continue to focus on ways to improve our communication and collaboration with the community.
Community Policing In the Days of Old
In the old days– before policing became so dependent upon the automobiles that put both a physical and psychological barrier between officers and the residents– residents knew who their police officers were. They knew them by name. They were comfortable approaching them when there was a problem in their neighborhood. In turn, the officers knew the neighborhood. They knew the residents. They could identify hyper-local problems and solve them before they grew into larger, community-wide problems.
As we’ve moved towards larger areas that require officers to regularly be walled-off from the community in cars for much of their shifts, we’ve lost that neighborhood connection and the ability to collaboratively solve problems at the neighborhood level.
The Modern Neighborhood Policing Concept
In order to maximize our partnership with the community, we need to build familiarity with the residents and their concerns– just as it was done in the days of the walking beat.
In order to achieve this goal, we’ve designated 9 Neighborhood Policing Zones (NPZs).
Each NPZ will have at least two officers assigned to it. Unlike our previous patrol district model, the officers will not rotate to different NPZs. They will be responsible for that area for a period of years.
This semi-permanent assignment gives the officers the ability to develop better relationships and knowledge with the hyper-local community in the assigned NPZ.
Residents of the NPZs will be given the identity and contact information of their officers. When they have a neighborhood problem or concern, they can reach out for their specific neighborhood officers.
The officers, in turn, will get to know the people within their neighborhood and will be better able to identify and solve hyper-local problems by collaborating and working with the residents of that neighborhood.
“Barnegat residents have made a significant investment in the Barnegat Police Department over the years, and while we’re proud of the historic low crime rates we’ve achieved, we want to provide more value to the community,” said Chief Keith Germain.
“We’ve got a great community in Barnegat and cops who are outstanding problem solvers. We’re excited to see what we can accomplish as a community by building our relationships and problem solving together.”
Please follow the link to our Neighborhood Policing Page where you can learn more about the program and find your NPZ and contact information for your officers.