The Chelsea Police Department (CPD) and City Manager Tom Ambrosino released crime statistics from 2015 this month and, while overall crime is down, Chief Brian Kyes said they remain concerned that violent crime numbers remained the same as in 2014.
While overall crime was down 8.3 percent from 2014 (1,479 to 1,356 incidents), the numbers of violent crimes remained basically unchanged from 2014 – going from 419 to 420 incidents. Violent crime for reporting purposes comprises murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, and robberies.
There were no murders in Chelsea in 2015.
“While I am somewhat optimistic that Overall Crime is down just over 8 percent from 2014, both the City Manager, myself as the Police Chief and the police department as a whole remain extremely concerned that Violent Crime has remained consistent with the total numbers from 2014,” said Chief Kyes. “The [incidents] that contribute to these total numbers are predominantly Aggravated Assaults and Robberies, armed and unarmed. The vast majority of the Sexual Assaults…that took place in the city of Chelsea sadly occurred in a familial setting involving family members and/or known individuals.”
Kyes said it is a larger trend across the country right now to see an uptick in violent crime from what were historic lows. Kyes said one highpoint in the discussion is that there were no homicides in 2015, while there were 12 in 2010.
“I have been hearing from my counterparts around the State in all of the 35 Major Cities that they have been experiencing the same trend as it pertains to Violent Crime with either a slight increase or similar numbers from 2014,” he said. “As a result, this crime category will continue to be our major priority at the Chelsea Police Department for the foreseeable future and we will continue deploy all of our available resources while engaging the assistance of our local, state and federal partners to drive this number down over the course of calendar year 2016 and beyond. On a positive note Violent Crime has decreased 35 percent over the last three years since 2012 and there were no homicides to report in the City of Chelsea in 2015. We all remember in 2010 there was a record high of 12.”
The same story has, in fact, played out all over the region, and even in Boston.
The City of Boston reported an all-time low in homicides in 2015, but at the same time, violent crimes such as non-fatal shootings were on the rise.
The worst months for crime in Chelsea during 2015 were April, May and July.
In April, property crimes shot up to 110 incidents, the highest monthly level all year, while violent crime remained at an average level of 36 incidents. In May, property crime went down a bit, while violent crime surged to 49 incidents.
In July, both property crime (97 incidents) and violent crime (50 incidents) were both high.
For individual types of crimes, see below:
- Murders went from 4 to 0.
- Rapes went from 19 to 22.
- Aggravated Assaults went from 226 to 214.
- Robberies went from 170 to 184.
- Burglaries went from 198 to 152.
- Larcenies went from 741 to 663.
- Motor vehicle theft stayed the same with 121 for both years.
The Street Robbery Task Force activities included 1,013 field interviews, 165 arrests, 69 warrant arrests, 34 weapons seized, 40 drug case evidence seized, 21 robberies cleared/arrest, and 423 motor vehicle stops.
Kyes said the statistics, which are part of an annual submission to the FBI crime statistics office, give him further reason to strengthen the newly-adopted walking patrol directive he unveiled last summer.
“Both the City Manager and myself are absolutely committed to a significant police presence by having our Officers spend quantifiable time each and every shift out of their cruisers walking the streets and neighborhoods where we have experienced the most serious crime problems,” he said. “We will also continue throughout 2016 our dedicated walking patrols in certain areas of the city. It is our intent to positively engage our residents with intensive outreach while eliciting their innovative ideas and suggestions to put in place to keep our community safe and secure.”
He also said the CPD will not celebrate the overall decrease in crime statistics as a milestone.
“The community can expect both ongoing covert and overt operations to address gang activity, drug distribution, prostitution, public intoxication and public drug use as well as all property crimes throughout 2016,” he concluded. “We will not take this slight decrease in overall crime as some type of victory or a sign that we have reached some significant milestone or benchmark but rather as a reminder that there is much more work to be done to increase the perception of safety in the hearts and minds of our residents and community stakeholders.”