Mayor Driscoll shares a few words about the recent shootings and incidents of violence in the city.

Reprinted from Salem Digest site

As we head into the warmer season, it’s refreshing to see more neighbors out and about in neighborhoods, city parks and downtown. Unfortunately, the first part of 2021 has also seen an uptick in violence nationwide and throughout the Commonwealth – sadly, Salem has not been immune from this larger trend.

On Friday, two individuals – a 40 year old man from Salem and a 21 year old woman from Danvers – were injured in a shooting on Palmer Street. This was one of several incidents of gun violence this year. In just about every instance, the perpetrators and victims of this violence were known to each other and arrests have been made and/or suspects identified.

Salem Police Department personnel are dedicated to resolving any open cases and continue to diligently investigate these activities, interview victims and witnesses and partner with other jurisdictions, as well as relevant state and federal agencies, to track and apprehend responsible parties. Often, the individuals charged and/or suspected of involvement in the shootings have a common connection to drug activity.

While it’s comforting to know that good police work has led to arrests in many of these cases, I think we’d all agree that one shooting in our city is nonetheless one too many.

We continue to keep public safety as a top priority in our community. Since 2006 our Police Department personnel ranks have been increased by more than 30%. We’ve invested in new technologies and stronger programs with area organizations, community groups, and alternative public safety programs like our model door-knock program to follow up with overdose victims and an on-staff mental health clinician.

Unfortunately, these efforts in and of themselves will not prevent senseless gun violence. It will be up to each of us – police, city and school staff, community partners and neighbors – working together to ensure the safety of our families and neighborhoods.

Salem is a safe and vibrant community, but in the face of increased criminal activity we must do more. To that end, the Salem Police Department will continue their efforts to build trust with key community stakeholders and neighborhood groups, while enhancing police presence and surveillance cameras in neighborhoods where criminal activity is reported.

We will work closely with residents in these neighborhoods to identify measures we can undertake together to be more direct in our response, such as publicizing and sharing anonymous multi-language tip lines to report information on activities that may be concerning; proactively working with residents to report incidents – from vandalism to unusual nuisance behavior – so it can be tracked and addressed; sharing information with neighbors through the use of crime mapping tools to help visualize and guide our collective efforts.

We are also re-establishing monthly landlord meetings with Police, Health and Inspectional Services personnel to open up a consistent line of communication, discuss best practices for managing landlord/tenant relations, and address quality of life concerns and beautification efforts.

The Police Chief and the Community Impact Unit will participate in regular Inspectional Services walk through’s in neighborhoods where criminal activity is being reported or where upticks are noted in order to address code related issues.

We’ll be initiating a Neighborhood Policing Academy, modeled on the already successful Civilian Police Academy, which will be held at the On Point Center for residents to learn more about community policing initiatives and enjoy a meal (as soon as COVID protocols allow gatherings of this nature).

Lastly, we’re going to enhance the “Out of Sight” educational campaign to increase awareness about locking vehicles and not leaving valuables inside them. Auto thefts and break-ins are among the categories of local crime most on the rise and many are easily preventable.

SPD encourages residents and others to reach out with any concerns. This is a worrying time for many people. COVID has created economic hardships, mental health crises for many of our neighbors, as well as a lack of socialization and the normalcy that comes from interacting with other people. Nationally, we’ve seen a rise in crime in many cities. While we know that the root causes of crime are complex, research has made clear that there is a direct relationship between improving public safety and access to resources, vibrant physical spaces and neighborhoods, and enhanced trust between residents and local law enforcement.

We’re grateful for the work of our police officers, who will continue to partner with neighbors and act proactively in those neighborhoods and locations most in need of their efforts because, – one shooting is too many.