EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

March 10, 2013

Patrolmen challenge mayor's statement that crime is down

Fiorentini: The statistics don't lie

HAVERHILL — The city’s patrolmen said Mayor James Fiorentini’s announcement that major crime is down in Haverhill is misleading.

Violent crime and gang activity is on the upswing, they said, based on their first-hand experience policing the city.

In his State of the City speech two weeks ago, Fiorentini said major crime is down 13 percent in Haverhill since 2010 in seven areas tracked by local police for the FBI.

In a press release from the union’s executive committee, the patrolmen said the mayor’s account that major crime is down those 13 percent and that “quality of life” crime is down even more, is contrary to what they have witnessed policing the city. The release said the number of calls to police for services has increased in recent months and that violent behavior is also on the upswing.

“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 its press release.

In a home invasion on River Street July 23, four people people were shot and two of them killed. Investigators said the invaders believed large amount of drugs and money were in the home.

Further proof that violent crime, in particular gang activity, is rising is that the Police Department recently received a $98,000 state grant for anti-gang programs, the union said.

“In order to qualify for this grant, the city has to show that crimes and increasing violence is in fact occurring in our community,” the patrolmen said in their statement. “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 FBI’s Uniform Crime Report tracks reported homicides, forcible rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, larcenies and motor vehicle crimes. According to the report, major crimes in Haverhill were down significantly in 2012 compared to 2010. The comparison of those two years shows these drops: homicide 33 percent, rape 38 percent, robbery 32 percent, and burglaries 51 percent.

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