According to Winthrop Police records and data vandalism crimes in Winthrop, including graffiti, are down over the last five years from a high of 329 in 2005-06 to 233 in 2009-10.
After the question about vandalism and graffiti crimes was raised at a recent town council meeting, Chief Terrence Delehanty directed a records check on calls for vandalism over the last five years and added those figures with the logged reports by patrol officers as well. The reports showed that contrary to what some in town may think, the trend on local vandalism incidents has actually decreased since 2005.
"Certainly, the data shows that we’ve seen a decrease in this kind of crime over the past few years and there was actually quite a sharp drop from 2007-08 to 2008-09," explained Chief Delehanty. "That decline can be attributed to many things including improved enforcement, investigations and prosecutions of those crimes."
Chief Delehanty noted that the department now has an officer trained in tracking down and investigating graffiti, or tagging, crimes, and has forged regional partnerships with other local and state police agencies, aimed at tracking these crimes down across borders.
"I also think there has been better coordination and communication, both with local residents and with our regional partners," said the chief. "Certainly, we’re engaged in a monthly meeting with gang and graffiti task force and there is a lot of sharing that goes on there."
The chief also noted that higher visibility of patrols in trouble spots, such as the 7-11 store on Revere Street and in the Governor’s Park area has also helped to curb behavior that can lead to vandalism.
"Certainly, we know we can’t stop all vandalism, but we make a concerted effort to decrease it and with the help of local residents and agencies, I think we’re doing a better job of limiting it," he said.
Delehanty also pointed out that programs directed at and developed for older teens and youth would also have a positive impact on these types of crimes.
"Let’s face it," explained the chief. "A lot of these crimes happen because the kids are hanging around in groups, bored, with nothing better to do, so one things leads to another and the next thing you know something is broken. I know that this is a priority area for the Town Manager (James McKenna) and we are working with other local agencies such as Parks and Recreation Department and CASA, well meaning people who are trying to help us find the funding to offer new programs."