Cranston mayor, police chief seek to keep Providence crime out of their city

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins says he’s taking action to keep his city safe as nearby Providence deals with an uptick in violent crime.

In a statement to 12 News, Hopkins said he’s hiring more police office officers, adding that crime from Providence has no place in Cranston.

“Unfortunately, in the neighboring capital city, many brave men and women in blue are limited in resources and remain without executive support from their elected officials,” Hopkins wrote. “This lack of leadership produces a sense of lawlessness, leading to heinous acts of violence on neighborhood streets. I will not allow this unlawful behavior to cross over Cranston’s borders.”

Hopkins said funding for four additional officers was added to the city’s budget.

To further show his support for the Cranston Police Department, Hopkins also said he regularly meets with the chief and other officers.

Col. Michael Winquist agreed with the mayor’s statement about Providence.

“I would say that a lot of our crime, especially the more serious crimes along the border of Providence, are people coming in from Providence,” he said. “In the seven years I have been here, we have had shootings, homicides, all connected to suspects from Providence.”

Winquist said crime has gone down significantly in Cranston, and they aim to keep it that way.

“Probably for the last seven or eight years, we have seen a sharp reduction in crime,” he said.

The police department will continue to work collaboratively with neighboring law enforcement agencies, according to Winquist.

“We work closely with the Providence police on a daily basis,” Winquist added. “I have great respect for Col. Clements and all the men and women there. It’s a very difficult job to do.”

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza released a statement to 12 News in response to the comments, explaining what’s being done in response to recent violence.

“After several quiet weeks, our city experienced too many awful incidents of violence recently, including the tragic death of a young woman,” Elorza wrote. “Any act of violence will not be tolerated and Providence Police are working to identify and hold those responsible for these acts accountable.”

“Working with the Providence City Council, we have invested in a new police academy and $2.6 million in anti-violence programs using American Rescue Plan dollars,” he continued. “As a city, we will work with any and all partners to keep our community safe.”

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