Springfield Releases 2008 Crime Stats

Posted on Wednesday, January 14 2009 by Heather Brandon

Violent crime is down in Springfield, but Police Commissioner William Fitchet sure sounds kind of glum about it. Maybe he just doesn’t want to overplay good news. Listen to his comments on WHYN here, as well as Mayor Domenic Sarno’s related comments here.

The Republican has an initial report up, by Peter Goonan, following today’s press conference in City Hall. From the article:

Violent crime—murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault—was down 10 percent in 2008, compared to 2007, he said. That includes a 30 percent decline in murder, a 23 percent decline in robbery, and a 7 percent decline in aggravated assault. Rape was the sole major category showing an increase. Rapes increased from 111 in 2007 to 156 in 2008.

Fitchet and Hampden County District Attorney William A. Bennett said rape referrals to the district attorney’s office are being newly counted in the police crime statistics, a key component in the spike.

Fitchet is changing the city’s three-division policing arrangement to a nine-sector plan as of Sunday, February 1. The previous commissioner, Ed Flynn, instituted the three-sector plan, which Fitchet today said he saw as not neighborhood-oriented enough. He hopes the new arrangement will enable a renewed, closer cooperation between the police department and the local beat management teams.

5 Responses to “Springfield Releases 2008 Crime Stats”

  1. NoPolitician

    Today’s story is a lot better than the one from a few days ago, which praised the drop in murder rate, but had Fitchet saying that the numbers could “shoot up at any time”. Talk about a downer comment accompanying upbeat news.

    I thought that today’s article was a lot more positive — acknowledging the gains, and stressing how the department will try and achieve even more reductions in the future.

    I believe that a big part of the job of police commissioner is to be the public face of crime-fighting in the city, to give people the knowledge that there is in fact a police department working on the problem with various straegies. Fitchet shouldn’t lie or distort the truth, but shouldn’t dwell on the negatives either.

    As with the schools, I think that one of the best ways to reduce crime in Springfield is to get rid of the bad actors living here by increasing the number of good actors living here. In my opinion, bad actors are more likely to live in questionable accommodations (slum housing), are more likely to break “quality of life” laws (such as speeding, littering, loud music), and are more likely to be comfortable living with crime in general. I can’t prove those things, but I see the addresses of people arrested, and I have to believe that someone so inconsiderate to assault someone else isn’t paying close attention to other rules.

    As people move in and out of this city each year, each comes with his or her own comfort level regarding crime. If crime is perceived as being high, people who have lower tolerances for crime won’t move here. That opens up slots for people with higher tolerances for crime. If people perceive crime as dropping, moving in the right direction, then people with lower tolerances for crime will move here, taking away slots from people who have higher tolerances for crime — those more likely to be bad actors.

    It is an incremental process, since not everyone moves at once.

    That is why it is important not to overplay crime in this city. Portray it accurately, but don’t portray the city as the Wild West — which it generally isn’t. I’ve heard nonresident people say that there is a murder every week in Springfield — clearly untrue. That is the perception out there that must be changed.

    Holyoke has seen a dramatic turnaround in perception even though the crime rates haven’t dropped that much. I credit Chief Scott with putting a “tough on crime” image out there, as well as being visible from time to time.

  2. nnm http://springfield

    Once Longhill returns you can be sure the crime goes up here in Forest Park! I have talked to police officers and it’s the last thing they want back.
    What a disgrace our leaders in city hall and the imfamous FBCA have been to the people here. We were sold down the river….
    What benefit is 300+ mostly non-working people going to give to us? NOT A THING…Our quality of life issues will go downhill quickly. I have seen Winn’s work..same old same old..project is still a project..This will be a project for 30 years.no getting out once you get in.
    Winn recieves the rents.he’s in Boston or on his private jet..payed for by us the tax payer..repairs paid by us the tax payer..police calls 8-15 a day..paid by the tax payer…noise..garbage..hookers..drugs free…

  3. Greg Saulmon http://www.local-buzz.com

    Heather -

    Have you seen a map of the nine-sector plan? I just had an idea for an info-graphic.



  4. Heather Brandon http://urbancompass.net

    The city’s web site is falling apart, with sections missing and materials being removed. I can’t find the beat management team map anymore, but there are nine beat management teams. That is presumably what a new sector map would go by to divide the city geographically.

  5. Jax http://www.writerjax.blog-city.com

    I think this is a good idea – as far as I can remember, the SPD had a neighborhood plan like this that was successful on many levels. Plus, community policing has also been a strength, and smaller sectors will help facilitate that.

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