EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 26, 2013

City gets $468K to boost patrols

Grant comes after murder and complaints of hike in street crime

HAVERHILL — As neighbors complain about street crime and officers say they can’t keep up with the problem, Haverhill is getting $468,000 to increase police patrols.

The money, coming from a state grant, will allow the city to increase patrols in inner-city neighborhoods, Mayor James Fiorentini said.

“It will allow us to do foot patrols, bike patrols, to send people door to door and to increase police presence in our target areas,’’ Fiorentini said.

He said the grant will be used for police overtime.

“We’re going to use this money ... to concentrate community police in areas where there is more crime than in other areas,” Fiorentini said. “We do want to add more people, but not with this grant.’’

The money comes as neighbors of inner-city areas such as Mount Washington complain about street crime. The most recent serious incident involved the stabbing death of a 25-year-old man last week on High Street in that neighborhood.

Leaders of the patrolmen union have said their department lacks enough officers to deal with street crime in Haverhill. They have also said they are concerned about an increase in gang activity.

State Rep. Brian Dempsey said the city’s delegation to the Statehouse made Haverhill leaders aware of the available grant money. The city then applied and won the money, he said.

“This award comes at a critical time for the city,’’ Dempsey said. “I think Haverhill’s growth has been significant, but unfortunately because of budget constraints, the city hasn’t been able to increase police staffing to the level we’d like to see.

“We’ve been working with the city to provide additional police officers on the streets,’’ he said, adding concerns include the recent murder and street crime in other areas of the inner city.

Police Chief Alan DeNaro said the grant will be used to pay officers overtime for conducting “hot spot” enforcement in areas where crime is on the rise.

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