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Under Taveras Prov Crime Among Worst in US - National Report

Monday, February 17, 2014


Crime ranking is much worse during this Administration

Crime in Providence has gotten significantly worse under the administration of Angel Taveras according to a national study just released.

The annual national study by Congressional Quarterly analyzes murders, rapes, robbery, aggravated assaults, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts in more than 400 cities. Since Taveras took over for Mayor for now Congressman David Cicilline, Providence has dropped from 44 spots in the national rankings and is now among the cities in the top 25% for serious crime.

During the four year period, Providence dropped from being ranked 314th in the United States to a ranking of 358th.

The annual study prepared by the CQ press is the measuring stick for analyzing trends of serious crimes in cities in the U.S. "The purpose of City Crime Rankings is to serve as a resource for researchers, city and law enforcement officials, and the community. The book provides the means by which individuals can compare local communities to other similar communities through contrast with the national level of reported crime—more specifically, crime rates per 100,000 for individual types of reported crime, for violent and property crime categories, and for overall crime," said CQ Press, the widely respected Congressional Quarterly publishing group.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras

Stark Contrast to Mayor Taveras' Claim

Mayor Taveras told Providence residents in his recent State of the City address that Providence crime was not a serious problem, "But we cannot lose sight of the fact that Providence is a safe city. I’ll say it again – Providence is a safe city. And we are working to make it even safer by eliminating illegal guns from our streets," said Taveras. He is now a Democratic candidate for Governor of Rhode Island.

According to the CQ analysis of crime data, Providence's ranking fell more spots than almost all of its peer cities in New England. New Haven, Hartford, New Bedford, Boston, Fall River and Brockton all held their positions in the rankings better during the four year period than Providence. Only Worcester, MA and Bridgeport, CT fell more spots in the national ranking. GoLocal heard from a range of leaders and all five of the candidates for Mayor regarding the crime ranking of Providence on the national list.

Is this the best we can do?

A number of candidates for Mayor challenge Mayor Taveras' claim that the City of Providence is safe. Democratic candidate Brett Smiley claims the city can -- and must -- do better in addressing the crime problem.

"We simply must do better. My goal is for Providence to become the safest city of its size in America. The public safety challenges we're facing affect everything from our economy to our school system. There have already been three murders in our city this year, and last year there were 100 shootings. 100 shootings is 100 too many, and we need to be doing more. Providence needs more officers on the streets, a recommitment to community policing, improved data and technology and more," Smiley told GoLocal. He has written a comprehensive plan to combat crime.

GOP candidate, Dr. Dan Harrop

GOP candidate for Mayor Dr. Daniel Harrop challenges the budget decision-making. "In the immediate term, the Providence Police Department is understaffed and has 76 fewer officers than it had just five years ago.  In addition, the city has actually gone backwards in its technological use; for example, it no longer uses a system based on Compstat, which NY City used to identify the "hot spots" of criminal activity and the individuals who frequently break the law," said Harrop.

Providence is planning a new class at the police academy, but one councilman points out that this will need help to fill the huge void in staffing. "Last month, we had a US Congressman [David Cicilline] and a Mayor [Allan Fung] - have their cars broken into and items stolen while in Providence. If you're the average person and see this, there's cause for concern," said Providence Councilman Luis Aponte (Ward 10).

"We're at the lowest compliment we've been at in the police force in 15 years. Part of that has been attrition -- there have been a number of retirements. Even with the upcoming Academy this spring, by the time it's done, we'll see be at the same level, with the attrition, retirements that we'll see," said Aponte. 

"To anyone who has been the victim of crime or is close to someone who has been, Providence is not safe enough. We can and we must continue to increase the safety of our city for everyone," said Lorne Adrain, candidate for Mayor and businessman. According to FBI crime data, Providence is the second most dangerous city or town in Rhode Island.

ProvidencePolice staffing has been cut by Taveras

Providence Issues are Complex

One leader, Teny Gross who heads the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, says Providence and cities like it have unique challenges.  "I know the Newarks, the Chicagos. Providence, we have a complex set of challenges -- we're a poor city, with 1600 plus gang members, nightlife bringing in people from out of state, highway access with 95 for drugs," said Gross. The Institute utilizes Nonviolence Trainings in prison and schools, Street Outreach, hospital response to violent crime, employment services and enrichment activities.

"You need to look at two perspectives, and what we've accomplished. We used to have many more gang conflicts -- we used to have over ten across the city, now we've got two. We've made progress with group-driven violence. There's still a lot of individuals, without hope -- but with access to guns. It's a bit hard to identify those individuals, it's different than a group dynamic," said Gross.

Providence candidate for Mayor Jorge Elorza also see the link between poverty and crime. "Growing up on Cranston Street in a neighborhood where I saw first-hand how violence can infect the community, I know that nothing else matters unless our residents feel safe, and right now, too many Providence residents don't. My vision for public safety includes having every household know at least one police officer on a first-name basis and engaging community partners that give our children safe outlets and help create a culture of non-violence," said Elorza.

Similar to Elorza, Providence City Council President Michael Solomon outlines the challenges of understaffing for the City. "I applaud Chief Clements' leadership of our police department despite having approximately 75 fewer officers on the street than five years ago. The city is set to convene a new police academy for 50 new officers and this will be an important first step in strengthening community policing. Our city is safest when we have our police officers in the neighborhoods – walking the beat and biking in the street," said Solomon.


Related Slideshow: Providence’s Most Violent Neighborhoods

Each week, the Providence Police Department releases its "Weekly Crime Comparison Report" on its website. The breakdown covers how many crimes have occured in the past week, past month, and year to date in each Police District and comparing them with the same time interval from the year prior, reflecting changes in crime rates. GoLocal has distilled the key data points from this weeks report to reflect YTD crime data grouped by general category- violent, property, other, and total. For the full report as filed by the PPD, click here

Prev Next

#9: District 9

College Hill, Wayland Square, Fox Point

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 35

2012: 53

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 597

2012: 630

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 183

2012: 218

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 815

2012: 901

Prev Next

#8: District 8

Mount Hope, Hope, Blackstone

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 36

2012: 40

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 596

2012: 531

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 226

2012: 212

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 858

2012: 783

Prev Next

#7: District 3

Reservoir, South Elmwood, Washington Park

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 63

2012: 67

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 443

2012: 452

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 311

2012: 305

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 817

2012: 824

Prev Next

#6: District 1


Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 79

2012: 94

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1116

2012: 1118

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 563

2012: 580

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1758

2012: 1792

Prev Next

#5: District 6

Mount Pleasant, Manton, Elmhurst

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 128

2012: 116

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 829

2012: 885

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 531

2012: 559

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1488

2012: 1560

Prev Next

#4: District 7

Charles, Wanskuck, Smith Hill

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 172

2012: 183

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1143

2012: 1092

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 784

2012: 813

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 2099

2012: 2088

Prev Next

#3: District 4

Federal Hill, West End

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 173

2012: 188

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1082

2012: 1085

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 755

2012: 919

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 2010

2012: 2192

Prev Next

#2: District 5

Olneyville, Silver Lake, Hartford

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 206

2012: 189

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 911

2012: 865

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 758

2012: 724

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1875

2012: 1778

Prev Next

#1: District 2

Upper South Providence, Lower South Providence, Elmwood

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 213

2012: 188

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 966

2012: 964

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 841

2012: 910

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 2020

2012: 2062

Prev Next


Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1121

2012: 1135

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 7738

2012: 7714

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 5017

2012: 5296

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 13876

2012: 14145


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Didn't the old Police Chief fudge stats to make things look better?

Comment #1 by Jim D on 2014 02 17

Where was Solomon when Taveras was cutting police, silent as usual!

Taveras & Solomon are two people we dont want elected to anything!

Comment #2 by anthony sionni on 2014 02 17

That's the truth Anthony! And now the next version of TaverASS, Brett Smiley, another passive aggressive weirdo, wants to legalize marijuana???? Yeah, let's bring more underage scumbags to the city for out of control partying and buy a bag of weed too! Just so Teny can keep his waste of time, taxpayer funded gig going!!

Comment #3 by lupe fiasco on 2014 02 17

The policies of Taveras and Cicilline were always to keep Providence a big sanctuary city and attract as many undocumented people as possible that they could use to support them politically.When you import poverty you import the crime that goes along with it.Taveras and Cicilline are the winners and the taxpayers are losers...property owners and business owners unwittingly are funding the mayors agenda and votes via higher taxes. It's only going to get worse because there is no political will by the city council to curb the influx of illegals and challenge the administration...So the cost of living and doing business here in Providence will continue to skyrocket because someone has to pay for all of those Taveras votes. SUCKERS!

Comment #4 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 02 17

Prov's crime has ALWAYS been amongst the worst in the country. Why would you think it would be any better with this boob as the mayor?
Let me ask you, were we any better off with Cianci was the mayor, and the city was blossoming with organized crime?
Wake up......it will never get better, because people don't have the balls to do what it takes to make it better!!!!!

Comment #5 by pearl fanch on 2014 02 17

As sad as it is to say, YES, Providence was a lot better off when Cianci was Mayor. No matter what he did, he loved his city and made it a nice place to go to. I was going to Providence quite a lot back then and there were very few places that I didn't feel safe. Now, just going to the PPAC is an adventure. We don't even think of going out for an after show appetizer anymore - who wants to risk being caught in a drive-by gang shooting or being mugged? No way - it's out of the city and straight back home for us!

I have to laugh at the numbers - without Esserman and Cicillini to cook the books, the true numbers are finally coming out and everyone is shocked - oh please!

Comment #6 by C B11 on 2014 02 17

JO JO MONKEY is most likely right: creating a sanctuary city and attracting poor illegal immigrants sure seems to be responsible for much violent gang culture and violence in general.

Could we as a state at least try shutting down the incentives for illegal border crossers to come here while also putting E-Verify in place? Wouldn't that be a worthy experiment that could help us make Providence and other places in RI safer and more prosperous?

Comment #7 by Art West on 2014 02 17

I don't totally buy this data.. I don't think it takes a lot of other factors into consideration. I go to Providence quite often and never have any issues. In any city you are going to have criminal on criminal crime.. Gangs fighting with gangs, etc. If they want to kill off each other then let them.. So long as innocent people are ok and I believe if you go into the city and keep to yourself or your group then you will be fine. Have common sense about what you keep in your car.. If you park your car anywhere and leave valuables in view you run the risk of it getting broken into... My sisters car was stolen from the Ann & Hope parking lot in Warwick.. That doesn't mean its crime ridden there...

Comment #8 by D Salera on 2014 02 17

Vote Taveras for governor so he can transform the entire state into Providence's image.

Comment #9 by Christopher Lee on 2014 02 17

The economy around here is bad, unemployment is high. A spike in the crime around here shouldn't surprise anyone. Guess its just the price of NOT doing business in Providence.

Comment #10 by David Beagle on 2014 02 17

The headline of Providence crime among worst in the US was not actually supported by any meaningful statistics. However, the scene when "clubs" let out late at night does seem genuinely scary.

If Providence is to succeed, it must both be safe and perceived to be safe. Note anti-crime measures have really helped turn around the economy and quality of life in New York (thank you Guliani, Bloomberg.)

I can't believe anyone is nostalgic about Cianci, where the police head sold answers to promotion exams, it was pay-to-play for city contracts, organized crime flourished and he gave away the store in pension "colas" ugh.

Comment #11 by barry schiller on 2014 02 17

6th highest tax burden (Detroit is 9th); one of the highest crime rates, crappy schools. Yeah that's the ticket. Make me Governor. Oh yeah, and potholes everywhere.

Comment #12 by bill bentley on 2014 02 17

The Providence Plan kept track of the statistics, not the police department. Taveras couldn't get rid of Chief Esserman fast enough. He knew Esserman would stand up for the police in the pension dispute. Now, look what you've got.

Comment #13 by Fruma Efreom on 2014 02 18

Esserman - couldn't remember his name.

Comment #14 by Jim D on 2014 02 18

You mean, what's his name?

Comment #15 by bill bentley on 2014 02 18

Esserman was notorious for skewing the statistics, particularly as it related to characerizing violent crimes as something less. For example, he would always have the Department categorize "violent assaults" in which a cell phone or knapsack was stolen as a "property crime".

The best is the urban legend about the guy was found along the Amtrak tracks just north of the Station with stab wounds in the center of his back. Esserman showed up and in front of several Amtrak police officers said, "suicide". No joke.

Comment #16 by David Allen on 2014 02 18

In previous posts, I have pointed out the startling similarities between Angel Taveras and his political mentor, David Cicilline.
Like Cicilline, the overriding philosophy has been, if you say something long enough, people will eventually believe it.
In Cicilline's case it was Providence's fiscal condition, in Taveras's case, it's the city is safe.

The crime statistics (just like Providence's financial situation under Cicilline) simply do not support this self serving claim. There isn't a week that goes by where someone is not stabbed or shot. That's not even taking into consideration other crime categories. Also keep in mind, under the Cicilline/Esserman regime, "adjusting" crime statistics and reassigning levels of crime to different (i.e. lesser) categories was routine.

Regrettably, and to the potential harm of residents and visitors to the capital city, Mayor Taveras has embraced this misleading philosophy to protect his political hide. Between Providence's violent crime and the city's catastrophic financial problems does any still wonder why Angel wants out of Dodge?

Comment #17 by Walter Miller on 2014 02 18

Now Taveras has PARE to fudge stats. This piece of sh!t of a Mayor is the biggest rat face wuss on the face of the earth. He has a brother who is a convicted drug dealer that you never hear about. Investigate that golocalprov. Sionni check on it. As far as Solomon he doesn't have a shot he won his council seat just barely. They are both LOSERS. If it's so safe Taveras why the million dollar police detail. Or is that to cover up your secret trips to the dungeons in NYC. Taveras you should try using Pares BRYLCREEM for a lubricant. Sionni if you want to be a councilman you better start checking on these things and exposing people. I told you before Pare at the GOLDS GYM in cranston with city vehicle check him out at his Bootcamp classes. See where and who he goes with when he leaves gym. He thinks he is slick. The brylcreem doesn't make him slick and makes him get caught.

Comment #18 by Jackson Teller on 2014 02 19

Jackson: You need some medication. Call me when you get it.

Comment #19 by bill bentley on 2014 02 19

The statistics reflect "reported"crime-reported being the operativd word.

Taveras inherited a City that is described as the "hub" on the heroin highway (95).

Under Cicilline, the City became a friendly spot for cartels distributing cocaine and marijuana to do business.Street dealers were routinely arrested, but the distributors-I mean the real distributors,not those holding a few kilos- were left alone.

The tradition continues,because there is more dope on the street than ever before.
Add in those controlling the pres.drug market, and Prov.has a serous problem.

Legalizing possession of marijuana will take some of the Mexican trade -and violence-out of the mkt.,but it'll take time.

Comment #20 by mark malachi on 2014 02 19

Maybe I am just plain stupid but when I read the stats in Worcestor's GoLocal there was excessive print about the FBI's warning in comparing these numbers and relying on them when comparing different jurisdictions. Why aren't these warning embedded in GoLocalProv? See the link below.

Is there a way to keep the system consistent so that you can compare apples to apples? We could just report in the same fashion year after year, regardless of the classification and after a couple of years you would have accurate numbers, whether called property crimes or robberies, you would see the increase.

Also, why do so many people complain about the candidates? As a society I have seen the collapse of integrity in communications in part perhaps to some true facts where politicians have let people down, but this has been part of civilized and uncivilized society. However, whatever job the different mayors are doing, is there never anything good or right done by them?

Personally, I would never want to be in any of their shoes. I neither can solve the crime rate, nor balance the budget. How can you when everyone wants something? Let me ask people here: What are your ideas on dealing with the crime rate? Last I looked undocumented people are not the ones killing each other. They are not the ones getting arrested for robberies. On occasion you have one, but look at the numbers. What is the make up of the ACI, just a question?

Can we start looking for solutions if we don't like the people in office. And how about writing the truth in its entirety. I have pasted the link below for Worcestor GoLocal piece. Read for yourself.


Comment #21 by Miguel P. on 2014 02 20

Diaz: If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. Also, your truth or mine?

Comment #22 by bill bentley on 2014 02 21

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.