After a significant one-year reduction in gun violence, New Jersey’s shooting statistics in 2022 dipped closer to pre-pandemic levels, according to data the State Police made public this month…

What experts said

Jillian Snider, a retired New York City police officer and an adjunct lecturer at John Jay College, said many experts don’t think it’s “appropriate” to use crime numbers from 2020 and 2021 as a basis for comparison “because they were so many variables affecting criminal behavior.”

Pandemic-era spikes: Snider and other experts cited the COVID-19 pandemic, the ripple effects of the George Floyd murder and protests, high unemployment and other crises.

“When I talk to my colleagues at John Jay, we say 2019 is the last real set of numbers we have,” said Snider, who is also policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based R Street Institute think tank. “2019 was the last year we have when we weren’t seeing anything out of the ordinary.”

National downturn: Snider said New Jersey’s downward trend for shootings in 2022 matched what happened in other places around the country that endured spikes in violent crime in 2021 and 2020. She said that trend has continued in the early part of 2023 in many cities in America…

Experts: There are lessons in Newark

Brick City successes: Some experts said Paterson ought to look toward Newark for ways to combat gun violence. That Essex County city had 32% reductions in shootings and gunshot victims last year. Newark’s 2022 shooting numbers also were lower than those for 2019, bucking the statewide trend.

Snider, the John Jay College lecturer, said those statistics were particularly interesting considering Newark’s reputation as a high crime area.

Snider noted that various reforms aimed at improving community relations were made at the Newark police department in the past decade as part of a United States Justice Department intervention. She wondered whether police-community relations in Newark have played a role in the reductions in shootings.