Fall River Sees 3-Year Drop in Violent Crime, Shootings
Article Date: January 14, 2014
From The Herald News
By Brian Fraga
FALL RIVER — Violent crime in Fall River has been decreasing for the past three years, especially shootings, which have fallen by more than 60 percent since 2011, officials said Tuesday. In 2013, the Spindle City also experienced fewer aggravated assaults, robberies, burglaries and homicides than 2011 and 2012, which continued a three-year declining trend in those categories.” Over the last three years, crime has been dropping in our community, and that’s important,” Mayor William Flanagan said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Fall River Police Department.
Accompanied by police Chief Daniel Racine and Bristol County District Attorney Samuel Sutter, Flanagan said he believes Fall River is shedding the image that many people have of the city being a dangerous place to live. He noted that similar-sized urban communities, such as New Bedford and Brockton, had more murders last year than Fall River. “It’s important to get out the truth, to get out the statistics, to change the negative tone that people have been talking about in our community,” Flanagan said.
With a squad of uniformed patrol officers behind them, the three main speakers in Tuesday’s press conference credited the violent crime decline on a variety of factors that include additional resources, more police officers, interagency collaboration, new technologies such as the Shotspotter gunshot detection system and tough-on-gun-crime strategies that include the district attorney’s policy to seek dangerousness hearings for any person charged with an illegal gun felony. “I think the Shotspotter helps. I’d like to see it in Attleboro as well. It’s a tool among many that we’re utilizing,” said Sutter, who also suggested that his office’s dangerousness hearing policy has been “striking fear” among criminals.
Until David Rodriguez, 26, was shot and killed during the early morning hours of Jan. 5 outside Ship’s Cove, Fall River had gone 15 months without a homicide. The city had two homicides in both 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the city went an entire calendar year without a murder for the first time since 2000, according to The Herald News archives. Meanwhile, robberies — armed and unarmed — dropped from 277 in 2011 to 263 in 2012 and 240 in 2013. Within that category, business robberies dropped slightly, from 93 in 2011 to 89 in 2012 and 82 last year.”The numbers are somewhat significant,” Racine said. Burglaries have also decreased, falling from 902 in 2011 to 808 last year, while aggravated assaults also fell from 666 in 2011 to 570 in 2013.
The rate of shots-fired incidents has seen the most significant decrease. In 2011, there were 122 shootings in Fall River, which fell to 107 in 2012. Last year, there were 43 shots-fired incidents, a 60 percent decrease from the previous year despite the fact that ShotSpotter — an acoustic sensor system designed to report shootings in real-time, went live in 2012.”We are making great strides in the battle against gun violence, the No. 1 battle on the crime front that mayors, district attorneys and police chiefs face,” Sutter said. –
Racine declined to disclose how many of last year’s 43 shots-fired calls were reported by ShotSpotter. “We choose not to reveal when ShotSpotter is activated,” Racine said. “It’s an investigative tool. “Other state and local elected officials, as well as neighborhood group leaders, representatives from local nonprofits and high-level police department brass attended Tuesday’s press conference in the police department’s community room.
The speakers credited all those present for helping make the city safer while Flanagan said the police department’s community policing philosophy is paying off. “The relationship we have between officer and citizen in Fall River is second to none,” Flanagan said. “And because we have those good relationships we’re able to get good intelligence and also solve crime effectively within our community.
“To continue the city’s downward trajectory in violent crime, the mayor said resources — financial and manpower — will be necessary. “A lot of it comes down to funding,” Flanagan added. “And it comes down to people.”
Original Article: http://www.heraldnews.com/article/20140114/NEWS/140119391/11661/NEWS