The statistics from New Jersey's most violent cities paint a grim, but simple, picture, says the Newark Star-Ledger. Gun violence is increasing statewide, and resource-strapped police departments fail to solve hundreds of nonfatal shootings each year in nine of the state's largest cities. Last year, police failed to solve more than 80 percent of nonfatal shootings in those cities, continuing a trend that has left thousands of potential killers on New Jersey's streets. From 2008 to last year, roughly 2,600 out of 3,400 nonfatal shootings went unsolved in those cities.
In contrast, police and prosecutors solved 65 percent of homicides statewide from 2008 to 2011. Experts say the failure to solve the majority of nonfatal shootings is of concern because the only difference between a shooting and a homicide is often the suspect's aim. Criminals who use firearms are also likely to become involved in future crimes, and their victims are often quick to retaliate, creating a cycle of escalating violence, officials say. “These people are out there. The longer you let them stay out there, the more people they're gonna shoot,” said Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio.