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Crime is 'down significantly,' Bridgeton police chief says
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Crime is 'down significantly,' Bridgeton police chief says

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{child_flags:top_story}Crime ‘down significantly,’ Bridgeton chief says; search for Dulce still on

{child_byline}MOLLY BILINSKI

Staff Writer

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BRIDGETON — Crime is “down significantly” across the city as officers enforce Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 mandate and work ongoing investigations, such as the disappearance of Dulce Maria Alavez, police Chief Michael Gaimari Sr. said Wednesday.

Overall criminal activity has dropped in the past month “even lower than the standards that have been decreasing over the past three years,” according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. In addition, the majority of residents are compliant with mandates to stay home and avoid gatherings to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus.

“We are pretty much exhaustive with regards to warnings now and have moved to the issuance of disorderly charges on several occasions within the past week,” he said. “Everyone by now should be aware of the orders sent down, and as unpopular as it may appear, the Police Department is charged with enforcing those orders. We hope the public realizes that these orders are in place for their safety and the safety of those around them!”

Police on Sunday charged a resident with disorderly conduct after hosting a gathering of more than 10 people in the 100 block of Irving Avenue.

A disorderly persons charge carries up to six months in jail, a maximum $1,000 fine or both.

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There were 200 fewer calls for service in March than February, and there were nearly 900 fewer calls in March than the same month last year, Gaimari said.

There has been a significant reduction in all types of crime except for street-related robberies, so the department is increasing patrols in areas where they are occurring.

The department is still following active investigations, according to the post, including the Sept. 16 disappearance of 5-year-old Dulce, who went missing from City Park.

“We continue to dedicate investigators to the task force comprised of several agencies in locating the child and/or determining the circumstances surrounding her disappearance,” Gaimari said.

During the pandemic, officers and maintenance personnel have been cleaning and sanitizing city buildings and police patrol cars, according to the post. They’ve also formalized procedures for responding to calls and handling arrests.

“We are also providing all information available to keep the officers safe and healthy, and that extends to their families as well since when the officers finish their respective tours of duty, they are returning home to their loved ones,” Gaimari said. “I have met with every shift and detectives to try and answer all their questions based on information I have received. It’s important that we take even more precautions due to the daily interaction the officers have with the public. We’re not able to work from home, but we are doing our best to ensure we operate as normal as possible!”

Personal protective equipment for officers has become scarce, according to the post, but a few businesses and individuals have donated N95 masks, gloves, surgical masks, sanitizer and other items, he said.

“It definitely makes a difference, and it’s satisfying to me the way people have stepped up in the time of need for those officers who are there when the public needs them,” Gaimari said, adding he wants to recognize those who have helped after the pandemic subsides.

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Contact: 609-272-7241

mbilinski@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

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Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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