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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Reliable crime statistics are, unfortunately, not available for Jersey City. J. Edgar Hoover has refused since 1935 to accept for publication under the imprint of the Bureau of Investigation the statistics furnished by the police department of the city. At different times Mayor Hague and Mr. Hoover have engaged in newspaper disputes as to the reason why the bureau considers the Jersey City statistics unreliable. The details of the argument need not be examined here; but it seems that neither disputant has ever put up a reason which, on its face, seems conclusive. A reader, however, may infer from Mr. Hoover's statements that he feels that the slogan used in the speeches of some city officials, 'No vice, no crime, no racketeering,' is not borne out by the facts, but that the city seeks to make its statistics conform to the slogan notwithstanding. Newspaper reporters insist that there is a double-blotter system in police stations. On one all reported offenses are noted; but this blotter is not made public. On the other blotter, which is opened to the newspaper reporters, appears those offenses upon which arrests have been made; this one is used in making up the statistics.

Reduced to the case method, we may well examine first the methods the police use; second, what offenses they see; and finally, what they do not see.

The lawless enforcement of the law begins at the top of the political organization. The Mayor testified in the C.I.O. case in Newark that if he thought `the surrounding circum- stances' necessitated it, he `would ignore any Vice-Chancellor's order.' (Transcript, p. 1144.) During the 1926 coal strike many Jersey City families could not get coal, while in the railroad yards were three thousand carloads of coal on its way to Manhat- tan. The Mayor called his chief of police and ordered, `Don't allow a scuttle of coal to go out of the city.'

The manager of the company that owned the coal telephoned to Mayor Hague and asked him how he dared to stop interstate commerce in that way. `By virtue of my office as Mayor.'

`That is not enough,' said the manager.

`By the law at the end of a nightstick then!' shouted the Mayor. `How do you like that one?'

The coal company `met Mayor Hague's terms and sent ten tons of coal to each police and fire station, where it was available to the poor at a few cents a scuttle.' (New York World-Telegram, January 22, 1938.)


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