EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 18, 2014

Council wants plan to reduce violent crime

FBI report: Haverhill 15th most violent Mass. city

HAVERHILL — Haverhill was the 15th most violent community in Massachusetts in 2012, as measured by violent crimes per 10,000 residents, according to figures just released by the FBI.

Tonight, City Council President John Michitson will ask his colleagues to send a letter to Mayor James Fiorentini and Alan DeNaro, who is police chief and public safety commissioner, asking how they intend to reduce violent crime and make the city safer.

Michitson said he wants to know what “measures and resources are needed to address this and other public safety issues” as the council begins work on next year’s city spending plan.

“I want to know the police chief’s recommendation to the mayor as part of the budgeting process for fiscal year 2015,” Michitson said.

According to the FBI analysis, 418 violent crimes in Haverhill were reported to police in 2012, the most recent year the bureau has reviewed. That translates to one violent crime per 67.5 Haverhill residents. The analysis said there were 61,897 residents in 2012.

The most violent Massachusetts communities in 2012, according to the FBI review, were Chelsea, Brockton, New Bedford, Fall River, Springfield and Lawrence.

Haverhill’s police patrolmen’s union has also raised alarms that violent crime and gang activity is on the upswing. The union has said the Police Department is woefully understaffed to deal with the problem.

“The ever increasing media coverage of incidents such as the murder-shootings of July 2012, multiple stabbings and other violent encounters should be enough to cause concern,” the union said in a press release it put out in March 2013. “We need to refrain from turning a blind eye to these problems, and instead work with the mayor, the citizens and outside agencies to aggressively address these issues.”

The “murder-shootings’’ referred to in the union press release involved a home invasion on River Street in the summer of 2012. Four people were shot in that incident and two of them died. Investigators said the invaders believed large amounts of drugs and money were in the home.

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