NP saw another drop in crime last year

NP saw another drop in crime last year

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Crime in town was down again in 2018, say police officials, who are crediting the ongoing decline in criminal activity to continued smart police work and a strong relationship between officers and the public.

Deputy Chief Arthur Martins said he and Chief David Tikoian reviewed the year-end data and their preliminary findings showed a reduction from 874 incidents in 2017 to 837 incidents in 2018, or a drop of 4 percent. The numbers for 2018 have yet to be finalized, he said.

“We expect that the 2018 totals may be reduced another percentage point or two once the Rhode Island State Police and FBI have evaluated the data,” he said. “Due to the fact that our figures are only preliminary, we are proud to announce that crime in North Providence will be reduced by at least 4 percent, perhaps more.”

The drop in crime last year was much smaller than the 16 percent decline from 2016 to 2017, said Martins, but it’s still great news for a town that’s seen a mostly steady drop-off in crime over the past decade.

Crime rose by 4 percent in 2016, but that number was down sharply from five years earlier. The town saw 1,028 incidents in 2016, 987 incidents in 2015, 1,225 incidents in 2012, 1,218 incidents in 2013 and 1,072 incidents in 2014. With the declines of the past two years, that’s an overall drop of more than 31 percent in seven years.

Martins said the department under Tikoian continues to see success using the Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) policing model to help police target problem areas.

“We want to put the cops where the activity is occurring,” he said.

A number of crime categories saw significant reductions in 2018, though in some of the categories, such as robberies (six down to four), the overall low numbers rendered the percentages less impressive. Aggravated assaults were down from 26 to 21 incidents, or 19 percent, simple assaults were down from 170 to 160 incidents, or 6 percent, larcenies from motor vehicles were down from 49 incidents to 33 incidents, or 33 percent, and burglaries dropped from 70 incidents to 62 incidents, or 11 percent.

A December spike in house breaks inflated the burglary numbers somewhat, he said.

There was an increase in 2018 of motor vehicle thefts, from 43 to 51, said Martins, but a North Providence Breeze story in October, in which police urged residents not to leave their cars running in their home driveways or the parking lots of convenience stores, seemed to help.

“Since that story went out, I think we’ve only had one or two incidents,” he said.

There was an increase last year in larceny of motor vehicle parts, from 24 incidents to 31 incidents, or 29 percent. Most of these involved stealing of tires and rims, an issue that’s been plaguing the state, Martins said.

Shoplifting totals were also up, from 64 incidents in 2017 to 85 in 2018. Drunk driving cases were “way up,” said Martins, from 51 incidents to 84 incidents. Police were proactive in their enforcement, he said, and many of these arrests happened because they were in tune with the behavior that comes along with driving drunk, and that enforcement work is all about making the town safer.

Drug incidents were down sharply, from 84 in 2017 to 53 incidents last year.

The Breeze will have a full breakdown of the crime numbers once they become official.