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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Violent crime up in Nashua

NASHUA – Violent crime increased in Nashua at the second-fastest rate in the country, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal’s business component MarketWatch.com.

The area the website defined as the “Manchester-
Nashua region” saw a nearly 62 percent spike in violent crime over from 2006-11. The only area that saw a larger increase was Redding, Calif., according to the report, which identified the top 10 metropolitan areas with the fastest-growing crime rates based on FBI data. ...

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NASHUA – Violent crime increased in Nashua at the second-fastest rate in the country, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal’s business component MarketWatch.com.

The area the website defined as the “Manchester-
Nashua region” saw a nearly 62 percent spike in violent crime over from 2006-11. The only area that saw a larger increase was Redding, Calif., according to the report, which identified the top 10 metropolitan areas with the fastest-growing crime rates based on FBI data.

The increase is part of a longer trend – and one that bucks the trend nationally – that has seen violent crime increase in Nashua more than 150 percent since 1985.

Nashua Police Chief John Seusing said that Nashua police track their numbers differently than the FBI. Still, NPD’s own statistics contained in the city’s annual report show a 26 percent increase in violent crime over the past five years, mostly related to aggravated assaults, Seusing said.

“These are things we have to pay attention to, and we have been,” Seusing said.

There are probably a variety of reasons for the increase. The sour economy might account for a small part of spike, he said.

But mostly, Seusing believes the rise in violent crime is related to drug use.

“That’s always been a problem, and it continues to be a problem,” Seusing said.

Nashua police have devoted crime units, such as narcotics and problem oriented policing, to fight drugs and gangs, the chief said. But resources put into those areas draw funds away from patrol officers.

More money would help, “but it’s difficult during these times,” Seusing said.

It’s also important for police to interpret the available data and find the best way to tackle the issues facing the city, Seusing said.

According to the authors of the Market Watch survey, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows crime has been on the rise “in a minority of metropolitan areas,” of which one is Nashua-Manchester.

“The reason for the increase (in Nashua-Manchester) was mostly due to a spike in the rate of aggravated assaults, which rose from 75.5 incidents per 100,000 population in 2006 to 155.5 in 2011,” the report states.

It also attributes the local jump to an “extended period” of rising crime rates in Nashua and Manchester specifically, stating that between 1985 and 2010, “the violent crime rate in Nashua jumped 151 percent, while it soared 145 percent in Manchester.

“However,” the report added, “most of the surrounding towns actually saw a decrease in violent crimes during that period.”

According to the Market Watch survey, violent crime in the United States overall continues to fall.

Between 2006 and 2011, the violent crime rate – including crimes such as murder, robbery and aggravated assault – in the U.S. fell 19.4 percent based on the FBI crime report.

Manchester Police Chief David Mara didn’t return a reporter’s phone call on Friday seeking comment.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).