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  • This map shows the crimes police reported responding to in a half-mile radius around Elm Street Middle School in the first quarter of the year. The 92 crimes in the three month period are the most of the city's 17 schools.
  • This map shows the crimes police reported responding to in a half-mile radius around Broad Street School in the first quarter of the year. The 4 crimes in the three month period are the second fewest of the city's 17 schools.
Sunday, April 8, 2012

Near some inner-city schools, crime is all around

NASHUA – Police are on pace to respond to more than 10,000 crimes occurring within a mile of the city’s 17 schools this year.

The data, culled from The Telegraph’s crime map, gets less dramatic as the proximity to the schools shrinks and the time of day the offenses happened is taken into account.

So far this year, police have responded to 2,682 incidents within a 1-mile radius of the city’s two public high schools, three middle schools and 12 elementary schools. Thefts are the most common offense, followed by vandalism and fraud, according to the mapping data.

The busiest school area is the mile surrounding Elm Street Middle School, where 464 crimes, including 92 violent crimes or weapons offenses, were reported through March.

The Telegraph defined violent crimes as assault, homicide, robbery, sex crimes and weapons offenses.

The most common type of offense near Elm Street Middle School was theft, which was reported 118 times, accounting for 25 percent of the reports. Theft was followed by vandalism, which was reported 105 times, taking up another 22 percent of the reports.

Seventy-two assaults also were reported, along with 56 burglaries and 35 motor vehicle break-ins. Only nine robberies and seven drug and alcohol violations were reported near the school.

Other busy school zones include 348 crimes reported within a mile of Mt. Pleasant Elementary School on Manchester Street, 304 reported near Amherst Street Elementary School and 252 reported near Fairgrounds Middle School on Cleveland Circle, according to the data.

Police also responded to 248 and 247 crimes, respectively, at Fairgrounds Elementary School on Blanchard Street and Dr. Norman Crisp Elementary School on Arlington Street.

By contrast, police have responded to zero crimes around several schools, including Pennichuck Middle School on Manchester Street, New Searles Elementary School on Shady Lane, Charlotte Avenue Elementary School and Brich Hill Elementary School.

Those numbers aren’t exactly surprising to Nashua Police Chief John Seusing. The schools closer to the inner city – including Elm and Amherst streets – naturally have more crime happening nearby.

“In cases like that, I think it’s certainly common to have higher statistics reported to the police department,” Seusing said. “Some of our schools are in the inner city, and it’s typically a little busier.”

Some of the crimes on the map count twice because some of the 1-mile areas overlap.

School zones don’t get extra police attention, Seusing said, except in the area of traffic enforcement. The department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit focus on the areas near city schools, particularly at the start and end of the school day, he said.

Perhaps more interesting are the number of crimes reported within the 1,000-foot drug-free school zones around each building.

In those areas, roughly 0.2 miles, police have reported 108 crimes and would respond to around 430 crimes in the drug-free zones this year at that pace.

Elm Street Middle School is again the busiest area, with 55 crimes being reported within the 1,000-foot area around the building.

The next closest are Ledge Street Elementary School, with 13 reported, and Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, with 12.

The law allows for stiffer penalties for drug offenses that take place close to schools or school buses.

“A lot of those crimes are not specific to the schools,” Seusing said.

The data pulled from the crime map doesn’t take into account when the crimes occurred or were reported. Some occur at night or on the weekends when students aren’t in school.

The crime map can be found at

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).