Looking at Violent Crime

Putting 2010 behind us

The New Year is almost one week old and Chelsea hasn’t tallied a homicide, yet.

The disaster of 2010 is hopefully behind us.

Thirteen homicides in a city this size was extraordinary.

It got many of us wondering.

Was Chelsea becoming the wild west?

“Absolutely not,” said Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes.

“Every one of the homicides here was unrelated. They were as random as random gets,” he added.

He was genuinely bothered by the assertion that Chelsea was becoming the wild west.

“We could have had an additional 1,000 police officers stationed throughout the city and even that wouldn’t have stopped most of the homicides last year. When someone is intent on committing a stabbing or a shooting and then goes ahead with it behind closed doors, how are we supposed to stop that?” he wondered aloud.

“All the homicides last year were about chance violence and violent instances that could not be stopped,” he said.

“They were all about violence and bad luck.”

The chief knows of what he speaks.

He referred to the countless meetings officials of this city attend which discuss violence and its roots and its eradication.

“No one has the answer how to rid the city of it. It is economic. It is partly about many, many things. But when violence strikes in an instant, just like that, and for seemingly no reason, how do we defend against it?” he repeated.

The string of homicides here last year have for the most part been solved, unlike in neighboring Boston where the number of homicides hovered near 80 with 87% unsolved.

“Chelsea is not the wild west,” Chief Kyes repeated.

“When we had crime problems escalating on Chester Avenue last year we added police strength in that neighborhood. Wherever we feel a challenge to law and order, we respond. However, last year’s murders baffles us. None of us in law enforcement can pinpoint exactly what caused all the violence,” he added.

Chief Kyes has his finger on the pulse beat of crime in this city. He takes that pulse everyday and he pays close attention.

“At least 2010 is over. I’m hoping for a less violent year in Chelsea. I’m hoping what happened last year will not be repeated this year or any year after,” he said.

Boston has already chalked up one homicide.

One week into the New Year and Chelsea’s slate is clean.

Let’s see how long it can remain that way.

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