, Salem, MA

Local News

April 1, 2013

Crime dropped 10 percent in Peabody

PEABODY — With his tenure as Peabody police chief winding down, Robert Champagne has offered the city an annual report showing a continued drop in crime in 2012.

Total crime decreased 10 percent, with 2,700 “reportable crimes,” according to the document sent to the City Council. Since 2011, violent crime decreased 3 percent and property crime dropped 11 percent.

Champagne attributed the improvements to “increased presence of officers in businesses and neighborhoods and the use of technology to meet our demands for service.”

The report reflects a reliance on computerized models to analyze crime and accidents from multiple angles, to give police clues as to where problems are likely to happen. As a result, the department deploys officers “to prevent crime before it occurs,” according to the report.

The report charts a 14 percent overall crime drop since 2009.

“They’re patrolling a lot more,” said Mike Garabedian, chairman of the council’s public safety subcommittee. “And I really believe it is making a difference. In West Peabody, it has. I see them all the time there.”

A big increase was reported in drug overdoses — up 65 percent. But Deputy Chief Scott Carriere attributes much of that to a record-keeping issue. A lot of the incidents listed as overdoses were actually suicides or suicide attempts, he said — not accidental overdoses resulting from illegal drug use.

That said, however, he notes that “there definitely is an increase in the availability of opiates,” and illegal drug use remains a serious problem.

The report notes nearly 84,000 calls for service, including 15,523 that came via the emergency 911 line. Compared to 2011, the number of calls dropped by 13 percent. Most of the dispatch calls were for medical assistance, from nosebleeds to cardiac arrest.

While more than 2,000 burglar alarms went off — that’s about six a day — 96 percent of these were false alarms. Roughly 1,500 “disturbances” were reported, from loud parties to loud music, and roughly the same number of traffic accidents, with a third of those minor. Nearly 300 people reported injuries as result of vehicular accidents.

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