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Brockton crime drops by 11 percent

March 01, 2016



BROCKTON – In a year that saw an increased presence of federal and state law enforcement agencies in the city, several acts of gun violence and eight homicides, total crime in Brockton actually dropped by 11 percent in 2015.

    There were 9,681 documented crimes in the city in 2015, compared to 10,880 in 2014, according to data provided to The Enterprise by the Brockton Police Department. The figures represent an 11 percent decrease in crime year over year.

    The data, which is similar to the figures the department sends annually to the FBI’s uniform crime statistics, includes the number of homicides, rapes, assaults, larcenies and drug violations, among other crimes.

    “It’s the continued hard work of the men and women of the Brockton Police to make this a safer place for the people that live here,” said Brockton Police Chief John Crowley.

    The biggest drop, according to the data, was in property crimes such as robbery, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

    In 2014, there were 193 documented robberies in the city. In 2015, there were 148, a drop of 23 percent.

    Total larcenies, where a person’s or business’s property was reported robbed, were down 32 percent with 2,446 in 2014 and 1670 in 2015.

    Mayor Bill Carpenter believes the drop in property crime stems from the city’s expanded resources toward helping those with drug addictions.

    “A lot of property crimes are people who are stealing to support a drug habit. We’ve recognized that, and we need to address the underlying cause of addiction,” Carpenter said.

    Gun violence in the city was a focal point of much of last year. In June after a spate of shootings, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz implemented Operation Safe Streets, a task force meant to improve communication between law enforcement officials and residents.

    The city called upon members of the FBI, DEA, ATF, State Police and other law enforcement agencies to help with the gun violence and drug crimes.

    Calls to police for gun violence increased 21.4 percent from 433 in 2014 to 526 in 2015. Those numbers include gunshot calls to the police, incidents reported by the city’s electronic gunfire detection system ShotSpotter and people who were shot.

    While the number of gunshot calls increased, the number of people shot in the city remained similar with 29 in 2014 and 30 in 2015. The number of murders dropped from 12 to 8 year over year.

    “There’s no question that our primary focus in law enforcement here in the city revolves around gun violence and drugs,” Carpenter said. “The two are tied hand-in-hand. I don’t think you can separate the guns and the drugs anymore. Our focus is on reducing gun violence and getting the drug dealers off the streets. It’s a huge challenge.”

    Drug violations increased by 9 percent from 314 in 2014 to 344 in 2015.

    Crowley said the increase is a good thing because it means they’re taking more drugs and drug dealers off the streets.

    “A lot of it went up because of the enforcement. It’s the result of good police work,” Crowley said.

    In 2015, the police department doubled the amount of search warrants executed in drug raids than they did in 2013, Carpenter said.

    “Our number of search warrants is more than double than it was two years ago. That requires a significant investment of resources. Those are investigations that take several months,” Carpenter said. “I have to credit the hard working men and women of the Brockton Police Department who are out there fighting crime on a daily basis.”

    Crowley said the department is going to continue the initiatives they implemented two years ago, which he believes are working. They will continue with their motorcycle and bicycle units, collaborating and meeting regularly with other law enforcement agencies in the city and increasing patrols during times of day when crime is known to increase.

    The department added nine patrol officers in October and Carpenter said they would be adding 14 more officers in 2016. A current staff of 187 at the police department is the highest it has been over 30 years, Carpenter said.

    “As we increase our officers we’ll create that omnipresence to put more officers in the streets. Get out in the public more and increase the fear of being caught,” Crowley said. “I hope we’re sitting down next year having this same conversation about another reduction in crime.”

Enterprise News Brockton