EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

January 15, 2014

Editorial: Lawrence needs tough reply to armed robberies

Lawrence is suffering a wave of armed robberies, a plague of dangerous crime that needs swift and aggressive police action.

Last weekend, there were seven armed robberies in the city, most of them Saturday night. In these crimes, a convenience store was robbed of $1,500 and a resident was robbed of $700 in cash he was carrying. A Pizza Hut delivery driver was robbed at gunpoint and less than 30 minutes later, a victim was struck in the head with a gun and robbed.

Police records from Saturday also show there were armed robberies on North Parish Road at 7:42 p.m., on Eutaw Street at 9 p.m. and at 11:23 p.m. at 26 Farnham St.

The brazen weekend crime wave comes in the wake of an increase in armed robberies in the city in November and December. There were 18 armed robberies in December 2013, compared with 14 in December 2012.

Police are calling on businesses and individuals to keep less cash on hand and be aware of their surroundings, reporting anything suspicious to police.

Acting Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said the Bennington Street convenience store hit Saturday night had too much cash on hand. Fitzpatrick said no business should have more than $150 in the register at any time. “That’s plenty to make change,” he said.

If confronted by an armed robber, “I wouldn’t offer up any kind of aggressive resistance,” Fitzpatrick told reporter Jill Harmacinski.

Advising people to be cautious and careful is fine, but we need police take on this crime spree aggressively. It has gotten to the point where one can’t walk down the street or deliver a pizza in Lawrence without being in fear of one’s life.

Mayor Daniel Rivera met with Fitzpatrick earlier this week to discuss the robberies. Cracking down on crime was a centerpiece of Rivera’s successful mayoral campaign.

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