Friday, March 30, 2007

Flynn Talks Crime - Collins Gets Time

March 30, 2007.

After a scheduled thirty minute "speak out" of citizens and the reading of the minutes, the public meeting of the Springfield Finance Control Board began with a brief discussion of city affairs. Springfield Police Commissioner Edward Flynn had been scheduled to speak first, but he was a bit tardy for his appearance there - perhaps because of his interview with Urban Compass blogger Heather Brandon concerning the ridiculously stupid letters to the editor that appeared in that day's (Friday) Springfield Republican, regarding a shoot-out police had gotten into with a violent criminal.

Mayor Ryan convenes the FCB meeting - 3/30/07

Upon his arrival, Flynn began his testimony before the Board with a comparison of crime statistics from 2006 and 2005. As most interested people already know, the stats include the following information: For the year 2006, murder was down 17%; Robbery was down 12%; and aggravated assaults were down 19%.

Flynn went on to say that of the aggravated assaults, they (the police) believed that approximately 40% of those reported were the result of domestic violence, and that a further "large number" involved persons already known to each other (non-domestic). He said about one-quarter to one-third of reported assaults were deemed to be by a stranger.

On reported rapes in the city, Flynn estimated that 90% of these crimes involved persons already known to each other, or were the result of prostitution or other accompanying crimes. (This is probably not a big surprise.)

Commissioner Flynn also took the time to discuss a new plan the Department had been working on. The plan would have newly released inmates (from area jails) visiting Police Headquarters (on Pearl Street) upon their arrival in Springfield. There, they would be introduced at the Headquarters' roll call, where they would have the opportunity to meet with the officers. The plan would of course have the dual purpose of allowing the officers themselves to have a good look at any potential repeat offender. Personally, I thought the idea was pretty good - and as a good citizen, a bit amusing, too. ("Welcome home, John. Come on over and meet the boys. We're here to "help" you if you should happen to lose your way again...")

Police Commissioner Flynn speaks - 3/30/07

Flynn also discussed the subject of robbery in the city. He asked the Board - and the public - not to read too much into wintertime statistics, since historically, incidents of robbery tend to go up in winter because of the longer periods of darkness and the greater ease of concealing weapons due to the wearing of heavier clothing.


For an inaugural "speak-out" event, this FCB meeting turned out to be somewhat of a dud as far as attendance goes. Only five people showed up to speak, and those people were still only allowed 3 minutes to talk. One of those speakers, though, was regular-attendee Timothy T. Collins, president of the Springfield Education Association.

Collins fit a lot of information into his brief three minute speech to the Board. His first two topics concerned public employee and SEA business, and he then went on to city business. He discussed the need for Springfield to find new sources of revenue. He said the city should support Deval Patrick's call for cities to have the ability to raise their own revenue, other than property tax, which would then allow Springfield to take advantage of the very large influx of young persons who frequent the city on weekends by introducing city taxes on beverages and meals. He went on to discuss the need for allowing an increase in property tax rates (beyond prop 2.5) for those property owners living outside of Springfield (property investors) via home rule legislation from the State.

The Urban Compass blog has the complete text of Collins' speak-out - which I thought was pretty entertaining and informative, as well as the text of the other speakers who showed up to have their voices heard.

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Missing Persons in New England

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At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Heather B said...

Great report, and thanks for the plug. I should be so lucky to be such a priority interview as to make the Commissioner tardy for a control board meeting!

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Bill Dusty said...

NP kiddo ;-) - and don't sell yourself short. I think the City holds you in high regard.


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