I think we are currently doing a great job, our Police force and detectives are awesome. Portsmouth's crime rate is low, very low, compared to other similar sized city's close by, ie-Rochester/Dover. We recently had a large drug bust in Gosling meadows and evicted one of the defendants, We have a 0 tolerance for Drug dealers, Bank robbers and Felony theft, we just caught a bank robber in Portsmouth, 2 weeks ago, hours after he left the bank.
I think the current approach of the Portsmouth Housing Authority have a zero tolerance policy and working closely with the Police Department is the right way to stay on top of safety issues. Residents who cooperate with the Police Department are critical to maintaining order. As the Police Dept. moves to a system where the same police are assigned to an area for an extended time period, relationships with residents will strengthen and police will be more quickly informed about problems that are developing.
I believe all the usual measures such as police patrols, substance abuse counseling, added surveillance, zero tolerance policies strictly enforced and Police/citizen groups working to route out trouble makers will aid in decreasing crime in our City's subsidized housing.
The city and federal government have been trying to fix this problem for a few years. High resolution cameras mounted around the more troubled areas made a dent. Residents who refused to overlook the non-residents who were coming into the developments with drugs has helped some. There's a balance between a police state and a place to live in freedom. Continued neighborhood vigilance by both the police and the residents is a must.
Work with the Police Commission and the Police Chief to look at the number of officers there are, where the need is in the community and what additional resources may be needed.
Keep a zero tolerance policy. Make sure the Police are doing their patrols frequently, and encourage neighborhoods to stand up and be vocal about any problems they face!
Jim SplaineIncreasing police presence certainly helps, but often the best "defense" on fighting crime comes from residents themselves. "Crime Watch Groups," as well as volunteer police academy training, for young as well as older residents would let residents know that they are empowered to report crime, bullying, or intimidation. I think perhaps the best way to fight crime is through job and educational opportunities. When a young person is thinking of dropping out of school, they may just be a step or two away from dropping into crime. Not always but sometimes. So we need to do all we can to be sure educational opportunities geared for all is offered. Setting up a free interactive citywide clearing house for jobs in both public and private fields would help increase employment opportunities for residents of all ages.
We need to make sure that Police are actively supporting all neighborhoods in the city. We also need support from the residents for our police and fire departments. We need to make sure that we are doing what we can as residents to make our neighborhoods safe.
The Portsmouth Housing Authority is doing a great job by working closely with the PD to step up their enforcement and monitoring of suspected criminal activity. I support the plan for the Housing Authority to hire a full-time police officer to dedicate themselves to PHA neighborhoods. I also believe that the most important part of curbing crime in these neighborhoods is to have neighbors looking after their neighbors. I also support the expansion of after school programs for kids in our subsidized housing neighborhoods.
I feel that the police department is already doing a pretty good job at controlling crime, both in the City’s subsidized housing and elsewhere, but its police officers cannot be expected to be omnipresent. Fundamentally, the police can only be required to respond when there has been a 9-1-1 call or other complaint of crime, and it seems to me that they are doing that. Other than installing more security cameras, alarm bells, and the like, the only additional way of combating crime that immediately comes to mind is assigning a policeman to be on duty at each housing project on a full-time basis, and that isn’t economically practical. With employee overtime running more than $1 million last year just in the police and fire departments alone, the taxpayers are likely to have little affection for a plan whereby a policeman is paid to patrol a housing project full time.On a broader social level, the way to control crime is to eliminate poverty and help the economically disadvantaged. Although there is the occasional sex crime, thrill killing, or sensational murder here and there, the vast majority of crime is linked to economic factors. If everyone were given a decent job, decent housing, and a decent chance to earn a living at a decent wage, at least 75% of all crime, and particularly the petty crimes which disproportionately tie up the police department’s resources, would disappear.