Burglaries, Robberies Spark Sharp Increase in Crime in Tewksbury

Total call volume has jumped 35 percent over two years.

Tewksbury Police officers aren’t writing nearly as many parking and speeding tickets as they used to.

They don't have time.

According to department statistics, TPD officers responded to 35,923 calls (nearly 100 a day) in 2010. That's an increase of 18.6 percent over 2009 and a jump of more than 35 percent over 2008.

Driving that increase are spikes in robbery (up 90 percent over 2009), burglary (up 30 percent), theft from vehicles (up 34 percent), credit card fraud (up 32 percent), theft from buildings (up 35 percent) and forgery (up 38 percent).

According to Police Chief Timothy Sheehan, it’s not difficult to determine a trend and see the common denominator.

“The economy has driven crime rates off the charts,” said Sheehan. “And it’s not just in Tewksbury. When you have a bad economy, more people out of work, you have an increase in these types of crimes.”

According to Sheehan, the connection goes beyond desperate people trying to pay their bills. He said there is a direct connection between a poor economy, increased levels of depression among the population, which can lead to increased addictions, which fuels an increase in criminal activity.

Tewksbury Police are not only responding to crimes, they are also solving them, meaning that the case load for the Investigations Department has increased significantly as well. Arrests have increased from 480 in 2008 to 573 in 2009 to 623 in 2010. That’s an increase of 30 percent in two years.

To proactively combat this increase, Sheehan has mandated an increase in patrols. The number of building checks has increased 34 percent in the last year and nearly 100 percent since 2008.

However, with an increase in crime has not come an increase in manpower. A department that once had slots for 59 officers now has just 54 and two of those positions are presently vacant. According to Sheehan, staffing levels are at their lowest since 2004.

As a result, Sheehan now has nine officers on duty per shift, rather than the usual 10. One resource the department has tapped into more often is Mutual Aid from other communities.

Still, with limited manpower and increased crime levels, priorities have to be set. One area that has been cut back somewhat is the number of traffic patrols. According to the department statistics, officers wrote 4,367 citations in 2010, that’s a drop of more than 20 percent over 2009, though still up significantly from 2008.

Additional crime categories that saw large increases in 2010:

  • Malicious destruction of property up 32 percent
  • Simple assault up 35 percent
  • Statutory rape up from 0 incidents to 6 incidents
  • Narcotics violations up 48 percent

A complete breakdown of the 2010 Tewksbury crime statistics can be found in the charts below.

2008 2009 2010 Percent Change Call Volume 25564 30361 35593 18.55% Arrests 480 573 623 8.73% Citations 2406 5487 4367 -20.41% Building Checks 6300 8737 11691 33.81% Accidents 892 898 874 -2.67% Offense Type 2008 2009 2010 Percent Change Forcible Rape 16 11 10 -9% Robbery 6 10 19 90% Simple Assault 171 141 190 35% Assault Intimidation 83 92 95 3% Burglary/B&E 127 105 137 30% Shoplifting 49 86 76 -12% Theft From Building 53 68 85 35% Theft From Vehicle 142 138 194 41% Theft of Vehicle Parts 5 4 3 -25% Thefts All Other 168 228 306 34% Vehicle Theft 41 34 33 -3% Counterfeiting/Forgery 32 69 95 38% False Pretense 51 64 82 28% Credit Card Fraud 10 22 29 32% Embezzlement 1 3 6 100% Destruction of Property 214 211 278 32% Drugs/Narcotics Violations 126 80 118 48% Disorderly Conduct 17 22 25 14% Driving Under Influence 29 42 40 -5% Drunkenness 93 100 98 -2% Family Offense, Nonviolent 5 11 0 -100% Trespass 15 5 8 60% Liquor Law Violations 25 28 17 39% Statutory Rape 1 0 6 600% All Other Offenses 306 405 453 12%
JohnnyBlaze May 30, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Increased breaking and entering and many of these rimes, in my educated opinion, are a direct result of Opiate addiction. And it is opiates that are doing this. What is my point? The problem is opiates, not pot, not vodka, not even cocaine hydrochloride (I am not endorsing these drugs, I am simply saying these drugs do not have nearly as much impact on crime as opiates do). We should focus on eliminated opiate abuse by actually focusing on opiate. Setting up a high-cost, public approved methamphetamine education and prevention program is not going to have much impact on helping opiate addicts, unless said oppiate addict maybe is addicted to meth as well, and gets help in the meth program. This is the problem, in my opinion; the main focus should be opiates because that is where all the problems began in this area. While it would be nice to be able to eliminate the threat of any dangerous drug that is in the area, it is not economically plausible. We don't have the mone, manpower, resources, etc. Main Point: If John Q. Public says that he is concerned about the opiate problem in his neighborhood. In a response to John Q. Public, in the hope of relieving the fears of the town people, the government says they have arrested 5 people in the last week for pot. All that has been accomplished in doing so is that drugs have been mushed into one and there is no difference, which is factually incorrect.


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