Crime dropped in Providence for the second consecutive years, the Providence Journal reports. Homicides fell from 20 in 2003 to 17 last year. Both violent and nonviolent crimes dropped, from rapes to shootings to burglaries, break-ins, and drugs. Mayor David Cicilline credited community policing. Under Police Chief Dean Esserman, city was divided in 2003 into nine districts, with assigned officers dedicated to solving crimes in their neighborhoods. They use a computer-mapping system to help them analyze where and when crimes are occurring.
As for fluctuating crime totals nationwide, criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University says there’s “no universal explanation.” Job growth is slow, police are being diverted for antiterrorism purposes, and there are fewer resources for social services. “The trend we saw was contrary to expectations,” Blumstein said. Blumstein identified two strategies that work in reducing crime: using a computer-mapping system to track crimes and community policing. Providence is doing both.