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Chief: Crime in Lowell Down 16% in 2011


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  • Chief: Crime in Lowell Down 16% in 2011


    LOWELL -- Police Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee credits hardworking officers, cooperation from residents and agencies across the city, and a bit of help from Mother Nature with what appears to be a significant drop in crime in Lowell last year.

    Seven types of crime most closely monitored by the Police Department dropped by 16 percent in 2011, compared to 2010, according to preliminary statistics released by the department's Crime Analysis and Intelligence Unit.

    Lavallee said the numbers are far from final, but represent a tally of crimes discussed by top department officials at biweekly meetings that monitor crimes across the city.

    Those meetings, known as Compstat meetings, in which top commanders review when and where crimes occur so that they can shift officers into "hot spots," are a major part of the department's crime-fighting strategy.

    Aggravated assaults, burglary, robbery, car breaks, shoplifting and vandalism are types of crime police focus on when determining where to send officers, and crime was down in each of those areas last year.

    Aggravated assaults were down 15 percent, from 930 in 2010, to 801 last year. Burglary was down 5 percent from 1,007 to 959. Car breaks were down 27 percent, from 1,218 to 886. Robbery was down 15 percent, from 211 to 179. Shoplifting was down 3 percent, from 223 to 217. Vandalism was down 16 percent, from 1,801 to 1,508.

    Murders, the most serious type of crime, though a type not tracked every two
    weeks, was down 50 percent. There were six people killed in 2010, and three last year.
    The numbers are preliminary and based on a tally of offenses that made it into reports prepared for the meetings of police officials that are held every two weeks.

    The crime statistics that city police will send to the state police and FBI as part of the National Incident Based Reporting System, will be more comprehensive, complete and include more types of crime.

    Those numbers are still being tallied and will not be released until spring.

    Nevertheless, Lavallee praised the hard work of those in uniform and all those at the Police Department, and lauded the cooperation the department has seen from residents, businesses and neighborhood groups.

    "When you look at what this community does collectively to deal with crime and disorder, I think it's incredible," Lavallee said.

    Lavallee said Mother Nature played a roll too. City Manager Bernie Lynch gave police an extra $100,000 in overtime after eight people were shot, including one woman who died, during a party early on New Year's Day last year.

    But Lavallee said that after that shooting, heavy snow and bad weather kept crime largely in check.

    "The crime we were seeing was negligible because of the inclement weather, so we were able to save that money until warmer weather arrived," he said.

    Lavallee also credited a move that added a second-shift of narcotics detectives who increased the number of drug arrests. Lavallee said he believes drug-abuse drives much of the city's crime.

    He also credited the Compstat meetings, which enable commanders to put extra officers in the areas where crime is occurring, at the times when it is occurring, so the department can make the most of limited resources.

    The department used grant funding to add more overtime and targeted patrols, and partnered with state and federal agencies to bring more resources to Lowell. Lavallee said gang violence in Lowell was down an estimated 40 percent last year.

    Lavallee said the numbers could change when the department completes its full NIBRS report, but he expects them to remain largely the same. The report will be released in the spring.

    Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_19751693...#ixzz1jgLnnYQb
    Everybody counts or no one counts.
    -Harry Bosch

    Some of you may remember that in my early days I was sort of a bleeding heart liberal. Then I became a man and put away childish things.
    -Ronald Reagan

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