EWING — Comprehensive tracking only started 15 years ago, but for the first time, New Jersey has recorded fewer than 1,000 shooting victims in a calendar year, according to an announcement from state officials.

Across 2023, a total of 924 individuals were shot in the Garden State, officials said. That's down 13% from 2022.

According to officials, tracking of such numbers began in 2009, when the count of shooting victims was recorded at 1,068. It hit a high of 1,562 in 2012. The number of shooting victims topped 1,400 in 2021, before falling to 1,059 in 2022, and a new low in 2023.

"We have approximately 600,000 more residents today than we had in 2009 ... so it makes the achievement even more remarkable," Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Murphy recognized the milestone during a press conference at the New Jersey Regional Operations & Intelligence Center on Thursday, one day after the fatal shooting of an imam outside of a mosque in Newark.

Murphy referred to the latest gun violence statistics as a historic achievement for public safety in New Jersey, which he said is a direct result of nation-leading gun laws and continuing partnerships with law enforcement and community groups.

Gov. Phil Murphy discusses 2023 gun violence figures during a press conference in Ewing (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)
Gov. Phil Murphy discusses 2023 gun violence figures during a press conference in Ewing (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

Of the 924 people hit by gunfire last year, 191 lost their lives, a decrease of 8% from 2022.

The number of shooting victims declined in many of New Jersey's largest cities, Attorney General Matthew Platkin said. The numbers also dropped in New Jersey's suburbs and rural areas.

"In Newark, violent crime is down. In Trenton, shooting victims are down," Platkin said. "A remarkable example of this decline is in Paterson, where my office took over the police department in March 2023. Murders in Paterson were down 39% last year. Shooting victims were down 25%."

Platkin said New Jersey's goal is to bring the numbers down even further in 2024.

Gun safety efforts in New Jersey

New Jersey officials set a specific goal to record a year of fewer than 1,000 shooting victims.

Officials on Thursday credited the Gun Violence Reduction Task Force for progress made in the fight against gun violence, as well as investment in prevention and intervention programs — getting in front of victims of crime to prevent further violence, and using outreach teams to de-escalate conflict in the community before violence occurs.

"For too long, we've ignored the fact that community voices play a role in combating this epidemic," Platkin said.

And laws approved by the legislature and approved by Murphy are helping to keep guns out of the wrong hands, officials said.

A recently-enacted strict liability law holds gun traffickers criminally liable when their weapons are used in violence. The state has also cracked down on a proliferation of untraceable firearms known as ghost guns, and has implemented a ban on large-capacity magazines.

30 'poorest' neighborhoods in NJ

These ZIP codes in New Jersey have the highest percentage of households earning less than $25,000 in annual median income. The figures are based on 5-year data by the U.S. Census American Community Survey as of 2021.

Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5

LOOK: 50 Beloved Retail Chains That No Longer Exist

Stacker takes a look at 50 major retail chains that no longer exist and the reasons for their demise.  

Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer

More From WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM