slides: Worcester Crime Trends and Lack of Police Transparency
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
While Worcester Police Officers continue to dominate the highest paid employees in the city, there have been a variety of crime issues in the city, most recently a heroin epidemic. Additionally, the city has ranked high in a few statewide and national crime reports.
"Police have to be held accountable to the taxpayers,” said Rick Daniels, COO of GoLocal24 and former President of the Boston Globe. “It has been my experience in leading large media companies that this works best when there is a partnership between news organizations and the police. If the police department refuses to answer press inquires, there are huge questions raised about why the taxpayers are paying their salaries."
Check out the slideshow below for a timeline of some of the most recent crime trends and issues between the media and Worcester police.
Related Slideshow: Worcester Crime Trends and Lack of Police Transparency
Heroin Overdose Epidemic
After a spike in heroin overdose deaths - nine suspected in the first week of August alone - the city of Worcester declared a public health advisory. While the city works to combat the issue, many questioned if the efforts were too little, too late, especially when Police Chief Gemme announced that the Police Department - after six months of training - still wasn't carrying Narcan.
Gemme Highest Paid City Employee
While crime has certainly been an issue in the city of Worcester, the police force is certainly being paid well. As reported by the Worcester Telegram, Police Chief Garry Gemme topped the list of highest paid city officials, earning a gross pay of $199,430 in 2013.
Worcester Crime Still Spiraling
According to a nationwide crime survey of America's cities by Congressional Quarterly, Worcester slid into the bottom quartile of the most crime riddled cities. Worcester ranked 306th out of 400 qualified cities in regards to crime.
Worcester: 7th Worst Crime Rate
When the FBI released their 2012 crime data, many took notice that Worcester had the 7th worst crime rate in all of Massachusetts. Worcester had a total of 1,758 violent crimes, a mixture of murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults.
Gemme Violates Social Media Protocol
Police Chief Gemme took to his Twitter account to personally attack GoLocalWorcester.com saying, “Prediction.. GoLocal will go defunct before the new recruit class graduates and the new officers will have a long and secure career with WPD.” This comment violated the city's social media policy, barring defamatory remarks and personal attacks.
City Councilors Call For Gemme's Removal
A group of nine city councilors had called for the removal of Police Chief Gemme in March of 2012. City Councilor Lukes at one point had even called out Gemme at a city council meeting, urging him not to create conflicts with local news media.
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- Worcester Crime Trends and Lack of Police Transparency
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