Archive for the ‘Crime in Ocean Grove’ Category


September 11, 2011. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

September 11, 2011.   Paul Goldfinger photo. Auditorium Park in Ocean Grove, NJ.


The Neptune Police is said to have a presence in Ocean Grove 24 hours per day.  You may not see them, but undercover work is part of their tool box.


FIORELLO.  The original Broadway cast:



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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger    (Written but not posted in 2011)

America has been conflicted about race ever since Thomas Jefferson declared that “all men are created equal,” while he was the second largest slave owner in Virginia. Today, nearly fifty years after the Civil Rights movement won major victories in the sixties, the volume has once again been turned way up on racial issues—currently with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

This case brings to the forefront the subject of racial profiling as a tool in law enforcement. The controversial event began when a white Neighborhood Watch volunteer followed Mr. Martin, a black teenager, who was walking through a predominantly white gated community. It’s not yet clear that this qualifies as racial profiling, but the subject has been raised.

We have had a Neighborhood Watch program in Ocean Grove, but it is barely functioning.  There has been no formal patrolling function for the NW in the Grove, so there is no danger of a Trayvon situation occurring here, at least not by our Neighborhood Watch. In addition the police do not meet with the Neighborhood Watchers to give them some kind of training. The OG Citizens Patrols drive around and call the police if they see something worrisome, but they don’t get out of their cars to follow people.

The police ask us to call if we see something suspicious: “If you see something, say something.”

If a black teenager walks into the Grove alone or with friends, with or without hoodies, people notice. Some might be tempted to watch them or even call the police on the basis that blacks are relatively unusual here, but so are Orientals, Hassids, and frat boys. Calling just because of someone’s color or clothing is profiling. The only time the police should be called is if someone, regardless of color, is acting suspicious.

But there is a flip side to this. I know some Grovers who would have to be pushed pretty hard into calling about any black person in the Grove out of fear that they might be accused of profiling. But not calling when you should is at least as bad as calling when there is no concern.

Update:   Currently  (2015) the Neighborhood Watch is defunct, and the NTPD has made no effort to resurrect it. It might be a good idea as an adjunct program to keep our town safe, especially with nice weather (hopefully) coming in.   We have lots of kids running around town in the summer along with vulnerable tourists and seniors.

In February 2014 (see link below) we had a fascinating debate about profiling and security in Ocean Grove.  The comments had 36 responses.

a racial discussion in OG 2014

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Asbury Park.  October, 2014.  Blogfinger photo.  ©

Asbury Park. October 2, 2014. Blogfinger photo. ©

Blogfinger has a long history of reporting a variety of worrisome issues in the Grove, but frequently,  no matter what we  (BF and our commenters) say about our concerns,  our opinions seem to fall on deaf ears.

The problem is that “we the people” seem to have power only when our elected officials pay attention to us, and that is how things should work . Unfortunately, on Blogfinger, no elected officials participate in our discussions. Why?  You can guess why, but that is the bottom line. You can go to the Township Committee meetings and say things for 5 minutes, but you won’t make an impact unless you go in force, and that rarely occurs.

Citizen activism is the only answer, and we saw that work when a group of Broadway flood citizen activists pushed the Township. And now a group of Wesley Lake activists are making things happen on that front.   We can’t depend on groups such as the Chamber of Commerce or the Home Groaners Association to run with the ball on things that worry us.

All of us are concerned about crime.  The other day, a police officer in Asbury was stabbed. That town has serious crime problems, and we in OG need to be watchful regarding that situation. We must stick to our “guns” in continuing the locking of the two Wesley Lake bridges.    Soon it will be winter, and our streets will be darker at night, and our population will be smaller.

We have previously called for a resurrection of the Neighborhood Watch in town, but the NTPD, a superb police force, doesn’t seem to be enthused about that method of crime fighting, but we think it has great potential to help protect us and our properties.   Perhaps we need a group of citizen activists to start their own neighborhood watch program and do it right with signs  (see above), foot patrols, effective email/phone lists, and educational programs–including pushing for better lighting and cameras all over town. Such a group can urge the NTPD to help them.     Don’t forget that the OG Citizen Patrol was started by a citizen activist and cooperates with the police.

Here is a link to our Neighborhood Watch post in April, 2012 which discusses the problems NW has in the Grove.    BF on NW

Anybody that starts a citizen activist group can count on publicity @Blogfinger.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor.



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September, 2014.  Auditorium Square Park in Ocean Grove.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©

September, 2014. Auditorium Square Park in Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


September 9, 2014

Neighbors –   (Email forwarded to Blogfinger by Citizen Reporter William Heatley)

Be advised that our neighbor at xx Embury Ave. (# 100 block,  year-round home)  awoke about 3 am to find burglars standing in the  kitchen.  Police captured one, the other is still at large.  The  neighbor believes that  the back door was locked but most likely it wasn’t closed securely.

Nevertheless, it would seem that these intruders were walking about trying doors.

Lock all doors and accessible windows.  Also secure your vehicles.


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Cars line up on the east side of Delaware Avenue near Main.  Paul Goldfinger photo. March 26, 2014  8:00 am

Cars line up on the east side of Delaware Avenue near Main after a one inch snowfall.     Paul Goldfinger photo. March 26, 2014 8:00 am


By Paul Goldfinger, covering the crime beat  @Blogfinger


Did you ever see someone driving erratically and then notice that they were talking on a cell phone?  Or maybe you have had somebody tailgating you.  So you say, “If the police would enforce the laws on these behaviors, people wouldn’t do it.”   In other words, we intuitively understand the concept of deterrence. But we have so many laws in our society, that the police have to make decisions/choices about enforcement.

Locally, we have complained on occasion about minor laws that are not enforced in OG such as not posting yard sale notices on telephone poles.  We said that failure to consistently enforce the laws created confusion and resentment.

But another argument could be made which says that just the fear of enforcement will deter the bad behavior and that unpredictable enforcement is also effective in deterrence.   However, that is theory, albeit plausible theory.  Wouldn’t it be satisfying to see that theory in action?

Recently there was a crackdown in Ocean Grove where there was an outburst of tickets and towing done to make an impression on those who fail to follow the snow emergency parking rules. We whined on Blogfinger that the citizens should have been given a warning that a blitz was on its way.  We weren’t opposed to enforcing the rules, but we thought that this was handled unfairly.

However this morning, after only one inch of snow, not even enough to make a proper snowball, I saw quite a sight. Everybody in my neighborhood had parked correctly even though they all must have realized that no plows would show up today.

So I was wrong.  The surprise crackdown not only punished the evil-doer parkers, but it created quite an impression as seen by the good parking all over today.  Crime doesn’t pay, and deterrence does work.

Apologies to Deputy Chief James Hunt and his gallant band of deterrence officers.

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT   from Boardwalk Empire, Vol.II   With Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks  (courtesy of Fred Ohleth of OG)  “The Prisoner’s Song.”

“I’ll be carried to the new jail tomorrow,

Leaving my poor darling alone.

With the cold prison bars all around me,

And my head on a pillow of stone.”

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014.  Ocean Grove, NJ.

On Feb. 9, we received a “warning about a scam” from an Ocean Grover, Mr. Robert Burns, who became alarmed when two young men came onto his porch, knocked loudly on his door, and identified themselves as utility employees.  They asked to see the homeowner’s utility bill. He refused. The police were called. We posted Mr. Burns letter to the editor.

Here is a link to that post,  including a comment today from Committeewoman Mary Beth Jahn about what to do when confronted with a similar situation.

BF post about a scam

Today we received another comment—this time from Diane, an Ocean Grover. She complained that the race of the suspected scammer was mentioned in Mr. Burns’ letter and then posted on Blogfinger.    She believes that mentioning his race is not necessary and just promotes suspicion of African-Americans who come to Ocean Grove.   Here is Diane’s  comment:

“Thank you all for the warning. I do not mean to cause offense, but a scam is important to note as a warning to others. It is not important to note the race of the people coming to one’s door, especially when a few sentences later this is linked with recent burglaries….being in the wrong place and up to something.

I sincerely appreciate Mr. Burns bringing this to light and understand his fear, but I am afraid that if some of my young, male, African American students were to walk in Ocean Grove they might likewise be misconstrued as being in the wrong place and up to no good — which would be a true shame.

Thank you, thank you for the caution and the warning; yes, the burglaries do lay the foundation for mistrust of people in the neighborhood, and scams are always disconcerting.”

What do you think of Diane’s criticism? We would especially like to hear from some commenters who are in law enforcement.

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger

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On January 13 an Ocean Grove  citizen activist made a formal request for the Township to provide crime stats for the Grove.  That information has now been received, and here is what was received, in its entirety below:

“Mr. XXXX,

“I apologize for the delay, while our newer police statistics computer system provides us with a method to break criminal acts done by zones (including Ocean Grove), our older system does not provide a similar capability. As such, I have provided below the statistics regarding Burglaries and thefts in Ocean Grove since the implementation of our computer system in September or 2012.

“Definition of Burglary:

N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2. Burglary

“a. Burglary defined.  A person is guilty of burglary if, with purpose to commit an offense therein he:

(1) Enters a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof unless the structure was at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter; or 

(2) Surreptitiously remains in a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so.

“b. Grading. Burglary is a crime of the second degree if in the course of committing the offense, the actor: 

(1) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; or 

(2) is armed with or displays what appear to be explosives or a deadly weapon.

“Otherwise burglary is a crime of the third degree. An act shall be deemed “in the course of committing” an offense if it occurs in an attempt to commit an offense or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission.

“List of burglaries by dates:


Sept – 6

Oct – 4

Nov – 9

Dec – 1


Jan – 1

Feb – 0

Mar – 2

April – 2

May – 3

June – 0

July – 1

Aug – 0

Sept – 0

Oct – 6

Nov – 7

Dec – 14


Jan – 14


It should be noted that we have recently arrested our prime target for the upswing in burglaries between October and today. However, that does not mean that there aren’t others out there who will commit crimes such as this. As such, we continue to urge residents and businesses to be vigilant in reporting suspicious individuals and to always secure their homes and cars.

“In October, as soon as our target was released from prison, we began increasing patrols (marked and unmarked) as we suspected that he would resume his prior ways. Strong aggressive police work was required to ensure that we could arrest this subject once we were had enough evidence of his involvement and once we were able to determine his whereabouts.

“The Neptune Police Department is always aware of the current climate and happenings in Neptune Township and constantly adjusts our tactics to maintain a safe and secure environment for our citizens.

“I hope this information is helpful. If you still require the information from the prior years, I would suggest that you file an Open Public Records Act request and we will provide you with the information we can provide under the law. However, we may not be able to separate it out to Ocean Grove area only. ”

Thank you.

Michael Bascom

Acting Police Director

Editor’s Note:  Within the last few days we have learned a great deal about this epidemic of burglaries in Ocean Grove.  Having this knowledge  is so much better for the people of Ocean Grove than when we knew next to nothing during the crime wave;  and since nature abhors a vacuum, the void was filled with fear, speculation, pleas for information and rumors.

The police didn’t say much because it was an ongoing investigation.  We now know some of  the specifics regarding their admirable efforts.

During these recent weeks, the press had nothing to report, but you, the commenters on Blogfinger, gave us an idea of what was happening, including a source who told us that there were about 40 events—an eye-opening stat.

Two days ago, the police director and the chief of police gave exclusive interviews to the Coaster. For some reason they did not announce a press conference or a press release. Then yesterday they released another exclusive report to the Coaster  about the arrest while denying Blogfinger and the rest of the media.  We did receive a copy of a memo that revealed some of that story.

But it was only because of independent research by two BF readers that we learned of the suspect’s prior arrest on similar  break-ins in OG in 2011.

Now we are able to post  the crime stats  (above)  that would not have been released if it weren’t for a formal request by yet another BF reader, and now the police director tacks on an editorial (above)  admitting that they had been looking at this guy since he got out of jail in October. Up until today, that information was not released and was not mentioned in either of the Coaster exclusive articles.  This is why a diverse and informed media is best for the public good.

If the police decided that it was time to release certain information, then they should have provided that information to all local media including us.  This is not a criticism of their fine police work.  But, since releasing information about a crime wave is presumably done to inform the public, then such information should be disseminated widely and not just to one outlet.  Hopefully the Coaster article represents a door opening, and we encourage the police department to continue to communicate with the public when appropriate, using all available local media outlets.

We want to thank our citizen activist for arranging the release of the burglary statistics above  and then providing them to us.    Information sharing via BF is the only way that I can make this unique public service continue to work for all of you.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger

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IMG_4121 - Version 2

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor  @Blogfinger

The irony of the headline quote could actually be hilarious except for the fact that our crime wave is a serious matter.  We have been covering this story since postings on  Jan 12 and 13 when we received comments from 26 Ocean Grovers reporting crimes and expressing anger and fear.  Yet none of our elected officials responded on Blogfinger to our readers.  This web site offers a public forum, but the Township and the Police Commissioner will not participate in our discussions.  However, they will say things in an article in today’s  Coaster,* because no one can answer them back at that venue.

One of our citizens made a formal request for crime stats 12 days ago when he contacted Mr. Michael Bascom, the Neptune Township Commissioner of Police, who promised to get back to him.   That has yet to occur.

Today, in the Coaster, we find quotes from those parties and others who would rather talk to a reporter than to the people. Most of their remarks sound like an  attempt to blame Ocean Grovers for the failure to solve this crime wave.

Mr. Bascom said  (from the Coaster) …”residents should be mindful not to provide criminals with opportunities to commit crimes.”

He said, “These are crimes of opportunity with many residences having open windows, unlocked doors, and no lights on. If people just take simple protective measures and report suspicious activities it could make a big dent and possibly help us catch the perpetrators. When they enter a house it is sometimes as easy as opening a door and walking in.”

Anne Horan of the OGHOA  said  “she would like to see the Neighborhood Watches get into action, especially in the winter when the population in Ocean Grove drops, and that she would like residents to be more wary of what is going on around them. People need to make sure they keep their lights on and keep an eye out for what’s going on around them.”

This is pathetic.  The OGHOA has done absolutely nothing about this problem and now the President is asking for help from Neighborhood Watch, another feeble and nearly invisible OG crime-fighting organization.  Maybe the N. Watchers  should become a subcommittee of the OGHOA.

In addition, why didn’t any of these officials say that many of the burglarized homes were locked and that sometimes people were at home when the break-ins occurred?

Randy Bishop, another Committeeman who has been silent, did make a comment to the Coaster.  He said “Residents should heed the warning of police and secure their properties.”     Is this the most enthusiasm he can muster up on behalf of the citizens ?

Police Chief Hunt  said that he has a greater police presence in the Grove. He stated that he is using marked and unmarked vehicles as well as undercover police. You can read his  and others’ full comments via the Coaster link below.*

Coaster link

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Such the facts m'am.  Crime scene photo by Ken Buckely on Broadway

Just the facts m’am. Crime scene photo by Ken Buckley on Broadway

While sending us a terrific news image, Ken has actually found beauty in the evidence. Ken says an illegally parked car forced the plow to go around.  Will we hear about this in the Neighborhood Watch Report?  Ken’s documentary weapon of choice: an iPad 2.    It seems awkward to take a photo with an iPad.  But we can’t ignore this fine result.  Thanks, Ken.  We are having a field day today with guest photographers. —-Paul @Blogfinger


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