New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Lieutenant Governor Tahesha L. Way, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, and New Jersey State Police (NJSP) Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan today announced a significant milestone in public safety, with the release of gun violence data indicating the lowest annual number of recorded shooting victims – including the first time under 1,000 victims were shot – since comprehensive tracking began in 2009. In 2023, 924 individuals were shot in New Jersey, down 13% from the previous year. Of the 924, 191 people were killed as the result of gun violence, a decrease of 8% from 2022.
This noteworthy achievement reflects the collective efforts of the Murphy Administration, the Attorney General’s Office, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and our community partners dedicated to creating safer neighborhoods.
“Today we mark a great achievement for public safety in New Jersey as we report the lowest number of shootings in nearly 15 years,” said Governor Murphy. “This would not be possible without the help of leaders like Attorney General Platkin and Colonel Callahan and the partnership of law enforcement across our state. Together, we have saved a historic number of lives from gun violence in New Jersey. And while we celebrate this reduction, we must also hold in our thoughts the victims of gun violence and their loved ones and must recommit ourselves to the fight to fully eliminate gun violence from our state.”
“Since the Murphy Administration entered office, creating a safer state for New Jersey residents has been a top priority. The record reduction in gun violence in New Jersey is something to recognize and celebrate, while acknowledging that we still have more work to do,” said Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way. “The Governor, State Legislature, Attorney General, Colonel Callahan, community advocates, and many others have worked together to keep our residents safe and guns out of the hands of bad actors. I look forward to continuing to build on New Jersey’s reputation as a model for gun safety.”
“The success we celebrate today alongside Governor Murphy and the people of New Jersey is a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and dedication. By working together, we have made meaningful strides in protecting our communities. People are safer in New Jersey thanks to these efforts,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Our work is ongoing. A single life ended or disrupted by gun violence is one too many. We are committed to building upon our success this year and making this state a safer place for everyone.”
“While celebrating this achievement, it is crucial to acknowledge that there is still more work to be done. The New Jersey State Police’s commitment to public safety remains unwavering, and we recognize that challenges persist,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We are thankful to Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin for their support and leadership and will continue to explore innovative approaches, engage with the community, and adapt our strategies to ensure a sustained reduction in gun violence.”
In early 2023, the New Jersey State Police used data and technology to identify opportunities to support local, state, and federal partners in reducing the number of people shot. This historic undertaking was predicated on a holistic approach to strategically deploy limited resources, a reliance on and exploitation of data and technology, community engagement, and law enforcement partnerships to keep the number of New Jersey shooting hit victims under 1,000 for 2023. This is the lowest number since the State of New Jersey began tracking this information in 2009. The 924 people shot in 2023, a 13% decrease over 2022, built on a decrease of 25% in 2022 from 2021.
Shooting victims are down in many of New Jersey’s largest cities, including Trenton, Newark, Atlantic City, and Paterson. In Paterson, where the Attorney General took control of the Police Department in March 2023, murders are down 39% and shooting victims are down 25% compared to 2022.
Amidst these positive developments in crime reduction, at today’s press conference, Governor Murphy, Lieutenant Governor Way, Attorney General Platkin, and Colonel Callahan pointed to New Jersey’s holistic approach to reducing gun violence. The Gun Violence Reduction Task Force (GVRTF), a statewide intelligence-sharing network across New Jersey’s 21 counties, facilitated collaboration among federal, state, and county law enforcement and prosecutors. Supported by the New Jersey State Police’s Real Time Crime Centers and the NJ Regional Operations & Intelligence Center resources, the GVRTF strategically focuses law enforcement resources on drivers of violence in New Jersey.
Thanks to the Governor and Legislature’s efforts, New Jersey’s laws help keep guns out of the wrong hands. A strict liability law holds gun traffickers criminally liable when their weapons are used in violence. The first-in-the-nation Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Office holds irresponsible gun industry members accountable through civil lawsuits for putting guns in wrongdoers’ hands. Under Governor Murphy, New Jersey has put tough anti-ghost gun and large capacity magazine laws on the books.
New Jersey has also invested in innovative violence intervention and prevention programs. The Attorney General’s community-based violence intervention program funds partners who use multiple strategies, including outreach teams led by credible messengers to de-escalate conflicts before violence occurs. Our hospital-based violence intervention program funds allow partners to reach victims early in their recovery after a violent crime to break cycles of violence. And our Trauma Recovery Center program funds trauma-informed services provided to victims of crime within the communities where they live. By the end of this month, Governor Murphy and the Attorney General’s Office will have made available over $100 million in state and federal funds for violence interruption and prevention since 2019.
Governor Murphy, Lieutenant Governor Way, Attorney General Platkin, and Colonel Callahan remain committed to fostering a safe and secure environment for all New Jersey residents and to using innovative technologies and strategies to further enhance public safety.