Police Beat/Fire Patrol
A Message from the Norwood Police Department
With 2020 behind us (thank goodness) we thought it might be a good time to talk about 2020 crime statistics, including a comparison with our numbers for 2019. Chief Brooks thanks Officer Grasso for pulling together the data. We've seen some interesting trends.
Largely due to COVID, and consistent with crime trends nationwide, we've seen significant drops in break-ins. Housebreaks have been trending downward the past few years anyway, but across the country many communities have also seen drops in residential B&E's, presumably because people are home and criminals seldom break into an occupied home. By the same token, many communities have seen increases in commercial breaks, presumably because more businesses are closed and the buildings empty. We have not seen that here. Then again, many buildings here are alarmed and alarms are very effective at preventing break-ins.
But don't think that criminals have mended their ways; we've seen upticks in some theft categories. For instance, shopliftings are up, and we've also seen a significant rise in fraud cases. Many of these fraud cases have been criminals exploiting the COVID-related unemployment system. So the rise in thefts and the drop in breaks has given us a fairly stable year in crimes against property (+6%).
As for crimes against persons, nationally offenses like sex assault and robbery are down, while homicides and non-fatal shootings in major cities are through the roof. Fortunately, we don't have many shootings (the New Year’s Day shooting at Windsor Gardens notwithstanding). Consistent with that, our crimes against the person are down (assault and battery -29%, robberies down from 8 in 2019 to 5 in 2020).
As everyone knows, we also track drug overdoses. In 2019 we had 20 overdoses with 2 of those fatal, and in 2020 we had 28 also with 2 fatal. The rise in drug overdoses is consistent with increases seen nationwide by the CDC.
We thought you might find this data interesting. We're happy to answer any questions you might have on our Facebook page, NorwoodPolice.
A Warning to Thieves: Stay out of Norwood!
For anyone who's interested, our latest "hot spot" is The Home Depot, which has recently started attracting people who want those tools and building supplies but don't want to pay for them. Some seem to just walk out with merchandise, some conceal it and head for the door, some take from several stores in a few day’s span, and a few steal off the shelves and try to do returns. But here's the good news: WE CATCH NEARLY ALL OF THEM.
That's right, looking at our stats, over the past six weeks or so (as of Jan. 12), we've responded to The Home Depot 14 times for theft reports and have charged ... wait for it ... 14 people - with theft, receiving stolen property, etc. In a few cases, the property we've caught them with has been stolen elsewhere, and in a few, stolen from other home improvement stores. We've recovered thousands in stolen good during these arrests.
To be honest, in a few of those 14 cases we haven't caught anyone (yet - still under investigation) and in a few more we've arrested more than one subject. But hey, 14 for 14 isn't bad!
We want to be clear here; the folks at the Norwood Home Depot, particularly their Loss Prevention employees, have been fantastic to deal with. This isn't their fault and they've worked hard with us to resolve this issue. We've seen these kinds of crime trends before, and this one won't be permanent, but for now we're dealing with this spree. So to those trying to decide where to go thieving, stay out of Norwood! We're on a roll here.
So if you're shopping at The Home Depot and you see a couple of Norwood police officers strolling the isles, they're not trying to find that perfect paint color. They're doing what you're used to seeing us do; using focused foot patrol to deter crime and solve a problem. Feel free to stop them and say hello.
2020 A Good Year in Fire Safety
For the first time in recorded history, no children have died in house fires throughout the Commonwealth in 2020.
This milestone has partially been attributed to modern fire prevention laws and the Student Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) program.
In Norwood, the SAFE program is run by Firefighter (FF) Paul Ronco who visits every grade at every school in town throughout the year. FF Paul teaches age appropriate basics of fire safety, including kitchen safety, the importance of smoke detectors, and evacuation plans.
We hope this is a new standard and Massachusetts never sees the loss of a child to fire again. This year’s SAFE program has been limited by COVID but Firefighter Paul is looking forward to getting back into the schools and hopes all the students continue to remind their parents to test their smoke detectors and practice their evacuation plan.