Through the first six months of 2016, the city of Newark experienced 43 murder incidents with 45 murder victims. Of these incidents, 95% involved firearms. Of the victims, 84% were male and 87% were African American. One-third of the victims were ages 24 or under at the time of the incident. Additionally, 87% of the victims were known to the New Jersey criminal justice system before their death. For the victims with a New Jersey criminal history, 64% had been committed to a correctional facility for 30 days or more. Of those individuals who had been incarcerated for 30 days or more, 36% were killed within 12 months of their most recent 30-day incarceration.
The characteristics of those identified as murder suspects or persons of interest are remarkably similar to the murder victims. For those murders committed in the first six months of the year, 33 suspects or persons of interest have been identified. All were male and 94% were African American. Slightly over one-third (39%) were ages 24 and under at the time of the incident. Furthermore, 94% were known to the New Jersey criminal justice system prior to their involvement in the murder incident. For those individuals known to the New Jersey criminal justice system, 71% were committed to a correctional facility for 30 days or more. Of these individuals, 55% were involved in the murder incident within 12 months of their most recent 30-day incarceration.
For the 43 murder incidents, the most common motivation was a drug dispute or drug robbery which comprise 35% of the incidents. The second most common motivation which involved 21% of the incidents was personal disputes. Of these incidents, half involved boy/girl disputes. Only 12% of the incidents involved a group/gang dispute; however, group or gang members were involved in 72% of the 43 incidents as a victim or a suspect.