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slides: Worcester Crime Trends and Lack of Police Transparency

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

 

The Worcester Police Department has been unresponsive to a wealth of media requests in the past month, but history suggests that there have been situations in the past where there has been tension between news outlets and the police in regards to transparency and citywide crime.

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

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Heroin Overdose Epidemic

August 2014

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. 

Read more here

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BB Gun Crime Escalates

June 2014

The Worcester Police Department responded to a string of BB gun related vandalism crimes in the city during March of 2014 but saw BB gun crimes escalate in June when the target of these attacks turned to humans and animals.

Read more here

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Gemme Highest Paid City Employee

March 2014

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. 

Read more here

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Worcester Crime Still Spiraling

February 2014

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.

Read more here

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Graffiti Issues in Worcester

January 2014

Local businesses and residents in Worcester became outraged when an abundance of graffiti began to appear on buildings throughout the city. 

Read more here

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Worcester: 7th Worst Crime Rate

September 2013

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.

Read more here

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Worcester Police Dominate Highest Paid

March 2013

Police Chief Gemme also had the highest salary of any city employee in 2012, with a gross pay of $198,699. Additionally, 45 of the top 50 city employee salaries were police officers. 

Read more here

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Gemme Violates Social Media Protocol

April 2012

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.

Read more here

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City Councilors Call For Gemme's Removal

March 2012

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.

Read more here

Prev Next

Worcester Police Transparency

March 2012

The Worcester Telegram had reported that the Worcester Police were one of a group of local police departments that were presenting challenges to the public in regards to looking at police logs, something that is public record by law. 

Read more here

 
 

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