NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CAPTAIN RICHARD ANDREWS
We'll now hear from one of Atlantic City's finest, Captain Richard Andrews. CAPTAIN ANDREWS: Thank you and good afternoon. On behalf of the Atlantic City Police Department, I'd like to thank you for allowing me to address the Gaming Commission.
I am presently the Captain of the Casino Hotel Investigation Section of the Atlantic City Police Department. The casino unit was implemented shortly after the passage of casino gambling. Currently in my office, there are 14 detectives assigned to the unit, including myself and one sergeant. Our function involves the investigation of all crimes that occur on casino properties. However, we are limited by jurisdictional boundaries. Those boundaries were dictated by a memorandum of understanding dated back on June 15th of '79, between all law enforcement agencies.
What this memorandum states, the Atlantic City Police Department will enforce violations of the 2C Code on all casino properties, except for the actual casino floor.
COMMISSIONER BIBLE: What does that mean?
CAPTAIN ANDREWS: Excuse me?
COMMISSIONER BIBLE: What does that mean, the 2C Code?
CAPTAIN ANDREWS: That's our laws for New Jersey. They go by number.
COMMISSIONER BIBLE: It used to be number two.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Between one and three.
CAPTAIN ANDREWS: In other words, if you are arrested, you will be charged with 2C-33 something, dash, that might be breaking and entering, larceny, something like that, that's what the 2C Code is.
COMMISSIONER BIBLE: Property crimes?
CAPTAIN ANDREWS: Yes.
The Police Department, in general, has moved on significantly since the passage of casino gambling. When I became a policeman in 1972, we had a total of 200 officers. As of this date, that number has doubled, and we continue to move on.
Not only has our department grown, we've also added additional units. We have an excellent bond disposal unit, SWAT team, canine unit and several other new units.
The Commission will undoubtedly want to know how the casino crime element is being addressed by the Atlantic City Police Department. I've been advised that our public relations officer has made available to you certain statistics.
Briefly, I'd like to touch on these statistics and offer you some information detailing how the casino unit handles the crime element. First of all, in the Atlantic City Press, dated December 14th of '97, the Captain of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, that would be the State Police, the other law enforcement agency that deals with crime in the casinos, in his report he stated that more than half of these crimes that occur on the casino floor are non-violent thefts, that being your pick pockets, coin thefts, things of that nature.
This is most accurate. However, within our jurisdiction, we have reported 2,621 thefts out of 3,221 crimes for the 1997 period. It appears that these crimes of opportunity are most troublesome and are addressed when time and manpower allows.
As I previously stated, my office employs 12 detectives for 12 casinos on a 24-hour basis. With this limited manpower, it becomes necessary for us to prioritize our cases. In other words, we would immediately investigate a violent incident, for example, robbery, rape, assault, crimes in progress would obviously be dealt with by uniform patrol or a follow-up investigation by my office.
At this time, and of utmost importance to the Police Department and casino officials is the juvenile problem, namely, unattended juveniles. National media attention has focused on this problem, and has opened our eyes here in Atlantic City to deal with the same. Myself, along with Captain Al Rongione of the Juvenile Section, have met with casino officials for the purpose of enforcing curfew violations within the casinos and to put an end to the dilemma of juveniles wandering about the casino hotels without parental guidance.
On a personal note, I'd like to offer the Commission some of my thoughts concerning casino gambling in Atlantic City. Being a life-long resident of Atlantic City, I have seen the metamorphosis the city has undergone. I lived at what is now the Trump Worlds Fair, our playing field is now their parking lot.
During the '50 and '60s, Atlantic City was a thriving town, with tourism and conventions being its primary industry. The boardwalk was crowded at all hours of the night, there were bars and restaurants on every corner, tourists came from all over the country.
When we approached the late '60s into the '70s, Atlantic City's future was dismal. Tourism started to decline, and major businesses left the area. In the spring of 1972, I entered the Police Department. At this time, unemployment was out of control, as was crime in the city.
Unlike today, violent crime existed on a regular basis. Offenders thought nothing of robbing a gas station for $40.00 or knocking a woman to the ground for $10.00. Statistics will show that from the pre-gambling era crime has decreased somewhat significantly. There's no doubt that gambling has placed many people in the employment pool.
I have personally witnessed many people I have taken through the justice system that are now employed and supporting their families. This is not to say that crime does not exist, any urban city has its share of problems.
As indicated from the statistics, we processed approximately 3,221 cases this year, and for the population of over 36 million I don't think the numbers are too bad, particularly, when more than two thirds are of a non-violent nature.
In closing, I'd like to thank the Commission for the time allowed to convey my thoughts. I hope my information has been of some assistance. I'll be glad to answer any questions.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you, Captain Andrews.
COMMISSIONER BIBLE: The previous testifier indicated that in 1995 437 juveniles were taken into custody, I assume that was by your department. What happens to those individuals as they get processed through the justice system?
CAPTAIN ANDREWS: At this time, I cannot give you an accurate answer. I will refer with our juvenile captain and forward you a report.
COMMISSIONER BIBLE: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Any additional questions?
Again, thank you so much for taking time away from your duties today to be here with us.