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The Providence crime myth

Published
Unless you were living in the abandoned East Side tunnel during the Providence mayoral campaign, you listened to round after round of desultory...

Unless you were living in the abandoned East Side tunnel during the Providence mayoral campaign, you listened to round after round of desultory electioneering rhetoric about high crime in the city.

One of the delicious ironies of the mayoral tilt was Buddy Cianci, who knows his way around a prison cell, fueling fears about crime on the campaign circuit and in Tee Vee spots, going after Jorge Elorza for a teen-aged shoplifting incident.

Even Gina Raimondo jumped onto this specious trope during her campaign for governor, using a very misleading Democratic primary direct mail hit piece on Mayor Angel  Taveras about the alleged, and ultimately false,  surge in crime in the capital city.

And it is well nigh impossible to flick on the local television news and not view alarmist depictions of crime in Providence.

Well, it is now time for the facts, which in politics we all know are stubborn things. The preliminary data is out. Not surprisingly, it shows crime down substantially across the spectrum.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare, Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements and Taveras announced the numbers this afternoon. What they reveal is that reported crime declined 15 percent from 2013 to 2014. Violent crime, which includes murder, sex crimes, robbery, and aggravated assault dropped by more than 20 percent. And property crimes, which include burglary, car theft and larceny, decreased by more than 15 percent.

City residents should remember these facts the next time a politician goes on a rant about crime in the city. Or the TeeVee stations groping  for ratings by giving viewers the foolish impression that Providence resembles Detroit or New Orleans.

The Providence crime myth
The Providence crime myth