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Worcester saw fewer shootings, stabbings in 2016 but more aggravated assaults and traffic accidents

March 24, 2017

As Worcester officials continue to tout the city as one of the northeast's safest, newly released police data shows 2016 saw the fewest number of shootings in years.

Police responded to 26 shootings in Worcester in 2016, the lowest number since 2012, when 21 shootings occurred in the city, according to data released by Worcester Police Department this week.

In comparison, 2015 saw police respond to 31 shootings in Worcester, while 38 shootings happened in the city in 2014. The data includes fatal shootings, which are recorded as homicides as well.

"As you will see this report is consistent with our message over the past year, Worcester is a safe city and remains one of the safest cities of its size in the northeast," City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. wrote in a letter to the City Council.

The number of stabbings and slashings in Worcester in 2016 dipped as well, down to 112 versus 114 in 2015 and 129 in 2014.

There were eight homicides in Worcester in 2016, the same as the year prior.

The Worcester Police Latent Print Unit processed 73 guns recovered in crimes last year, according to a letter to Augustus by Police Chief Steven Sargent.

"These statistics are reflective of our commitment to the safety of all who live, work in and visit the City of Worcester," Augustus said. "Together, Chief Sargent and I have worked to implement new programs such as the Neighborhood Response Team who work in tandem with the Quality of Life Team to proactively address the issues that most impact our neighborhoods, in addition to directing the resources required to adequately staff the department and enhance current strategies and programs such as ShotSpotter, Real Time Crime and the Summer Impact Program."

Overall, there were 136,343 police incidents in Worcester last year and 5,964 arrests.

"Worcester remains one of the safest cities of its size in the northeast because of the hard work of our police officers and our city and community partners who collaborate with us to reduce crime and improve quality of life in all of our neighborhoods," Sargent said.
Worcester 2016 crime dataThe Worcester Police Department released crime data for 2016 and previous years.Melissa Hanson | mhanson@masslive.com

Violent crime did not, however, drop across the board last year in Worcester, the data show.

Aggravated assaults rose from 690 in 2015 to 718 last year.

Meanwhile, instances of breaking and entering rose from 1,378 in 2015 to 1,529 in 2016. Still, the figure topped 2,000 in 2011 through 2013.

Vandalism and motor vehicle theft also increased in the city last year, by small amounts.

Traffic accidents did as well. There were 9,375 traffic accidents in 2016. From 2011 to 2015, the number of traffic accidents in Worcester ranged from 8,222 to 8,983.

"Traffic issues have consistently been a top concern for residents in attendance at community watch meetings," Sargent said. "The department will assign officers to specifically address traffic issues and traffic enforcement. Officers assigned to traffic enforcement will work with traffic engineers to assist with recommendations and decisions to alleviate congestion in trouble spots."

Looking forward in 2017, Worcester police will continue to focus on reducing violent crime and property crime, Sargent said.

Mass Live: Worcester