PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – There’s some good news and some bad news for crime in Providence.
After posting its safest year on record in 2014, Rhode Island’s capital city saw the total number of violent crimes increase by nearly 10% in 2015, according to a WPRI.com review of data released Monday by the FBI.
At the same time, Providence has never reported fewer property crimes in the three decades since the FBI started tracking local crime statistics.
All told, the city reported 1,018 violent crimes and 6,085 property crimes last year, which amounted to a 9% reduction in overall crime compared to 2013. None of the five New England cities similar in size to Providence saw a larger increase in violent crime while only Bridgeport and Springfield saw larger drops in property crimes.
Here’s a look at how Providence’s violent crime total compared to the Connecticut cities of Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Stamford and Springfield and Worcester in Massachusetts. (Note: These are six of the seven largest cities in New England, but New Haven did not submit data for 2015. Boston, whose population is at least three times larger than any other city in the region, is not included.)
Across the country, violent crime increased 3.9% and property crime dipped 2.6%, according to the report.
The FBI defines violent crimes as homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults, and defines property crimes as burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts and arson cases. Public safety departments across the country submit their annual crime statistics to the agency, which then audits the figures and releases the totals as part of its annual “Crime in the United States” report.
The FBI began collecting municipal crime data in 1985. Since that point, Providence has only had five years where the total number of violent crimes fell below 1,020.
Here’s a look at how the same seven New England cities fared on property crimes.
While crime statistics for 2016 won’t be released until next year, violent crime in Providence was up 6% compared with the same point in 2015 as of Sept. 18, according to weekly data published by the police department. (City officials have attributed a large spike in violent crime during the first three months of the year to a mild winter, but an uncharacteristically quiet summer helped stabilize the numbers.