EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 15, 2014

Editorial: Lawrence needs tough reply to armed robberies


“I am not going to micro-manage but we have a crime problem we have to fix,” Rivera told Harmacinski after the meeting.

“If people think it’s OK to do something like this in the city of Lawrence they are absolutely wrong,” Rivera added.

It isn’t easy. Police, in many cases, have no clear description of the robbers. In Saturday’s convenience store robbery, the Bennington Street store had security cameras in place, but they were not working at the time.

It’s not even clear that these crimes are related. They may be merely multiple crimes of opportunity.

Fitzpatrick has said that he will take a proactive approach in 2014, stepping up patrols in certain areas to look for suspicious activity. He said police also will reach out to residents and businesspeople who are seen walking alone.

Armed robbery is a serious crime that puts the entire population of the city at risk. Nervous robbers start waving guns at frightened victims and sooner or later, a trigger will be pulled. There is a strong likelihood that someone will be killed or seriously injured.

Perhaps some kind of task force, similar to the one that beat the auto insurance fraud racket in the city, is in order.

The problem isn’t businesses that have too much money on hand or people who walk alone. Those behaviors may be foolhardy, but they are not illegal. The problem is the criminals who profit from preying on the merely foolish.

Police have to hit the robbers hard, enough so that they make the calculation that the risks they are taking are not worth their ill-gotten rewards.

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