Only eight months ago, Providence police seemed to be coming to grips with the murder problem, reports the Providence Journal. Since then, an upswing in killings has left the police groping for fresh answers. There have been 16 murders in 2005, with one-third of the year to go, compared to 17 murders in all of 2004. “I don’t know” why the number of homicides has picked up again, said Police Chief Dean Esserman. “It’s of tremendous concern to me, even though crime is still down overall from last year and violent crime like robberies is down from last year.”
The predominant theme is young men killing young men, usually with a gun, Esserman said. The number one anticrime initiative taken by Mayor David N. Cicilline and Esserman is community policing. Among other steps have been the creation of a gun task force in the Police Department, the bolstering of the police gang unit, and the promotion of gun safety measures. Esserman also mentioned “high-visibility” joint summer patrols by city police and state troopers that are aimed, in part, at deterring violent crime.