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Linda Tyer: Crime data attest to progress in Pittsfield

August 17, 2017
The Berkshire Eagle: Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD — Creating a place where people want to live, work, and visit requires, first and foremost, a sense of safety and security. Every aspect of community life depends upon public safety initiatives that stabilize neighborhoods and inspires a diverse business landscape.

A top priority of my administration has been strengthening law enforcement through strategic planning and investments that complement the work of our engaged community partners. Pittsfielders have invested in their government and in their community by extending their time, talent, and treasure. Every once in a while it's important to highlight the outcomes of our work while acknowledging that every day we are presented with opportunities to be and do better.

Encouraging crime stats

A recent review of data collected and collated by the police department's crime analyst suggests promising benchmarks related to crime in the city . An evaluation of incidents in which a criminal charge was attached for the past three years for the six-month period between January through July was undertaken. The number of criminal incidents during this time frame indicates a consistent decline.

The overall rate went down 1 percent between 2015 and 2016, and decreased by another 18 percent between 2016 and 2017. Additionally, the numbers of criminal incidents in the summer months alone also decreased over the past three years. There were a total of 446 incidents in June and July of 2015. This June and July, that number is down to 287.

While we can't attribute this decline to any one specific factor, we do know that there are cumulative efforts on multiple levels to keep our city safe and help our citizens to achieve their maximum potential. Contributing factors include enhanced work around prevention by way of outreach and mentoring programs, a growing initiative to create opportunities for those impacted by poverty, greater access to home ownership to stabilize families, the addition of law enforcement personnel, and state-of-the-art technology like ShotSpotter to combat gunfire.

There is greater community emphasis on tackling the opioid crisis through prevention, intervention, and recovery. Among other things, first responders are trained to create bridges to treatment and support for those who find themselves in a life-threatening opioid crisis.

Strength in numbers

Another striking data point is Pittsfield's unemployment rate. The current rate is 5.2 percent compared to 10.2 percent in 2010, 9.2 percent in 2013, and 7 percent in 2015.

These numbers reflect that a great deal of good work is happening every day by a lot of people who care deeply about Pittsfield. The strength of this collaborative effort and investment makes a difference.

At the same time, I understand that when a serious, violent crime occurs it shatters our sense of safety and security. Together, we have, and will continue to, take a firm stand against crime and support initiatives that lift people up.

I extend my deepest thanks to the Pittsfield Police Department, an exemplary law enforcement agency, and to our many community partners who are so vital to our city's success.