East Side Ravaged By Break-ins, Start Citizen Group

Sunday, August 16, 2015


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Graffiti on a private home on the East Side of Providence.

A new crime watch group has emerged on the East Side of Providence, following the first half of the year of breaking and enterings which saw over 150 in the first six months of 2015 -- and now East Side residents are talking about engaging the services of a private security firm given the current climate.  

The "Blackstone-Elmgrove-College Hill" Facebook group has been formed as a "social media hub for dissemination of public safety information for the Blackstone-Elmgrove-College Hill neighborhoods of Providence" -- and members on another forum have been discussing the possibility of banding together to pay for additional security services. 

East Side resident Cheryl Simmons, who provides a daily crime updates to an email distribution listed, reported that one East Side resident had turned to a private security "experiment" on Thursday.

The initial posting by a resident on the list was the following. 

"Given all of the foregoing, that is why we (as a June 2015 B&E victim with a second trespass event 4 weeks later) engaged and have been running a 1-2 week experiment with SecurityRI and paying for that out of our own pockets."

The response from another member was as follows:

"This step shows great initiative. So, at $22.95 an hour, a five-hour patrol would cost $114.75 (or $41,884 per year). Divide by 30 homes and contribution would be $3.8 per household per shift or $1,396 per year. If coverage were five nights a week on a changing schedule (unpredictable to criminals), cost for a year would be $29,835. Divided by 30 it would be $994 per household per year. I would be agreeable ( if not happy) to paying a share if 29 other households agreed. Are computations correct? Any thoughts? 

Sadly, I have become very uneasy with life here, in sharp contrast to the past 15 years. Is it because crime has increased, is it due to the perception that crime has increased now that we have regular updates? That hardly matters; it just feels really lousy. All I know is that I'm eager to take back my community or must think about getting out -- and the latter is certainly not what I want."

Group Member Speaks Out

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The new FB group is "encouraging anyone who wants to set up a crime watch group or to join a private security cooperative to post to this Facebook page."

One member of the growing Facebook group said that she has had increased concerns since her home on the East Side was tagged with graffiti back in May. 

"When I first saw it, I thought I would be sick," said Kathy Reavis, who said the graffiti occurred while the family was out of town. "I was informed by the police that it wasn't an isolated incident, that we weren't targeted.  But I couldn't walk on that side of the house until plants started growing over it.  It took the city about four weeks to come clean it up."

Provident Mayor Elorza recently noted that the city has had to resolve more than 300 instances of graffiti across the city this year. 

“With the arrival of summer I have put the Graffiti Task Force on ‘high-alert’,” said Mayor Elorza in statement back on August 6. “If you see graffiti, call my Center for City Services [421-CITY] and let us know so we can continue our aggressive efforts to keep Providence beautiful.”  

"People are angry -- really angry," said Reavis.  "There's a feeling that there's not enough police to go around.  If there are more pressing issues in other parts of town -- shootings, robberies -- then if feels like the East Side is vulnerable.  Two years ago I had a car stolen, it was eventually returned, but damaged. I've got cameras outside now, I've got them all around the house in fact.  I think realtors should be concerned, they'll have a hard time selling houses if this keeps up."

Police Response

With the development of the new Facebook group tracking crime -- and crime-fighting opportunities -- on the East Side, the Providence Police Department weighed in. 

"We have active social media accounts that we use to provide information to residents who engage on those platforms," said Public Information Officer Lindsay Lague. 

As for the issue of graffiti as property crime, Lague offered the following. 

"While the police department does not track graffiti as a separate crime category, the Department of Public Property, which oversees the Graffiti Task Force, or the Mayor’s Center for City Services may be able to provide insight into reported and addressed graffiti," said Lague.  

"We have increased our presence on the East Side with additional monetary and personnel resources. We have made a number of arrests that we expect to impact the frequency of incidents reported in those neighborhoods," said Lague.


Related Slideshow: East Side B&Es - Jan. 2015 through July 2015

Below is the data provided by the Providence Police Department to CrimeReports.com for breaking and enterings on the East Side of Providence for the last six months, from January 23, 2015 through July 22, 2015.

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January 23, 2015 to February 22, 2015

Number of East Side B&Es: 6

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February 23, 2015 through March 22, 2015

Number of East Side B&Es: 17

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March 23, 2015 through April 22, 2015

Number of East Side B&Es: 26

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April 23, 2015 through May 22, 2015

Number of East Side B&Es: 30

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May 23, 2015 through June 22, 2015

Number of East Side B&Es: 28 

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June 23, 2015 through July 22, 2015

Number of East Side B&Es: 38


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