Providence police meet to discuss last week’s gun violence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – In the wake of a particularly violent week in Providence, top-ranking capital city law enforcement members met Tuesday to discuss how they can improve the city’s safety.

The Providence Police Dept. holds a command meeting every week. Eyewitness News cameras were not allowed inside the meeting due to the discussion’s sensitive nature, but the police chief caught up with us afterward.

“Are we concerned about the crime violence last week? Absolutely,” Providence Police Col. Hugh Clements said. “We had an uptick, a surge of violence last week. We are addressing it.”

Clements was referring to several gunfire-related hospitalizations that have taken place over the last several days. Last Tuesday, five people were shot on March Street in the Chad Brown section of the city. On Friday morning, a woman was hospitalized after being shot near Carolina Avenue, where police said they later found 27 shell casings. Late Friday night, two people were treated for gunshots wounds after shots rang out on Forsyth Street.

On Monday, the Providence branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held a news conference to challenge the city’s elected officials and police officers to make a more proactive role in developing a plan to end violence in some of the city’s more urban neighborhoods. Clements, though, said the police department is already using its resources to direct its officers to areas where they are most needed.

“We direct our officers with data-driven intelligence,” Clements said. “If we find that certain neighborhood or area is seeing an increased amount of activity, we direct our added resources to those areas.”

Clements said it’s not uncommon for uniformed, plain-clothes and narcotics officers to be assigned to different neighborhoods every week. He also said – despite last week’s uptick – the department’s data-driven strategy is yielding positive results.

“We took eight guns off the street for the week,” Clements said. “That’s a big number, and some of those are from strong players.”

Even with last week’s shooting reports, multiple reports show gun-related crime and violent crime are both down in Providence.

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