Police: Violent Crimes on the Rise in Tiverton

After a drive-by shooting on Stafford Road on Saturday, police said Tiverton needs more resources to combat rising violent crime trends.


Violent crimes in Tiverton are on the rise - and have been over the past 10 years. But despite increases in population and crimes against persons in the last decade, the Tiverton Police Department has not received increases in staffing.

Tiverton has the second highest number of crimes - after Newport - in the county, according to an annual State Police statistics report, yet it operates with a police force that does not meet minimum federal staffing requirements.

"Federal guidelines are that we are supposed to be between 31 to 32 [officers] in order to be a proactive police department and not a reactive one," said Chief Thomas Blakey in an interview on Tuesday. Tiverton has 27 officers.

"Currently our staffing is low, but with the restructuring of the department we were able to get another officer for the next fiscal year and we are trying to add another so that we end up with 29 officers - excluding myself," Blakey added. 

A drive-by shooting at a Stafford Road pub in north Tiverton on Saturday reminded Blakey and public information officer Capt. Patrick Jones that the police department needs support from the town to combat growing crime trends.

"We are dealing with more and more serious types of crime in Tiverton - breaking and entering, armed robberies - for Tiverton this has not been the norm, but unfortunately it seems to be becoming one," said Jones, "It is very disturbing for myself, the chief, and the men and women of the police department, as should be for the community."

Blakey stressed the dedication of of Tiverton's 27 officers and said that generally they maintain a good quality of life in Tiverton. Adding that Tiverton, being located next to Fall River, contributes to the town's overall crime rate. Fall River is Massachusett's sixth largest city, has an unemployment rate of 15 percent and also has high instances of felony crime that sometimes spills over to border into Tiverton.

"We are the second busiest town in the county after Newport, but they have a much larger agency in Middletown with lot more resources, we have the second largest coastline in the state and a large geographic area of 33 square miles," said Blakey. "It's a lot to look at with minimum staffing."

Middletown, which has just 590 more residents than Tiverton and less than half of the total coverage area, scored significantly fewer felony crime tallies in the State Police 2011 Uniform Crime Report. Tiverton made 827 total arrests compared with Middletown's 777. in 2012 Tiverton saw 893 such arrests, according to Jones.

"Middletown has a 40 plus officer department - we have 27 and we have significantly higher crime," said Jones. "Their crime statistics are not reflective of ours. Middletown probably is where they should be, it's us that is not."

Budgetary constraints are the main reason that Tiverton has not seen an increase in recruits over the past decade - Blakey said it costs about $100,000 and a takes a full year from application to when an officer is road-ready.

"There is no question that we feel that Tiverton is a beautiful, safe community, but in order to maintain that there needs to be a discussion into the police department," said Jones.

BD April 10, 2013 at 10:51 AM
How profound. I think we just may have found a new town motto.
Mikey April 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Therein lies the problem, mutual aid is a reactive approach that only addresses an issue after it has happened. If we do not address the issues that we have on hand, the problem will only persist and worsen. The town needs to find more effective ways to manage the town, and ensure a safe community while maintaining property values and promoting economic prosperity. If not we are going to be a SMALL town with BIG problems....
Art Tips April 10, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Has the Greater Tiverton Community explored "Neighborhood Watch" strategies to combating crimes such as vandalism, Breaking and entering, theft, etc.?
Jim L April 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Who's going to provide the aide when portsmouth has to pay for their public service vechicles have to pay tolls to get here, Where will we get the officers need when stolen transponders evole into a black market??? Car breakin will just rise for such an item, buy it from the dude at the bar, use it till it says low balance and toss it out, meanwhile, "Us" the chumps have to buy a new one, and if you over spend you get a bill based on your transponder number, Just one more reason to stop this insanity
David April 10, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Ironic. How long has Chief Blakey been here? And now crime is up? I have complaints about traffic violations go unanswered because the car that is sitting on Main Road for two hours in the same spot can't sit on a particular side street for a half hour to catch stop sign runners. Mismanagement sounds more like it to me. The officers have always been professional when I have conversed with them. I don't think they are the problem. Also, it appears that the lack of resources that Tiverton reportedly has directly contributed to the suspect in the targeted drive by shooting being arrested within an hour! That was sarcasm folks to point out the contradiction in the story.
Willma Flinstone April 10, 2013 at 02:28 PM
We Need to allow business into the town, to help pay for more officers! No we want to stay small well that is LC motto, not Tivertons!
Willma Flinstone April 10, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Tiverton made 827 total arrests compared with Middletown's 777 Well how many convitctions? Tiverton Police like to harass people and arrest them for the dumbest things, it goes to court and the judge is like wow the police dept in Tiverton must be bored, are you serious?? pay court fee and get out of here, dealing with real crimnals!
Dan D April 10, 2013 at 06:15 PM
a good first step, aside from hiring more officers, would be eliminating border area liquor licenses that bring in less desirable people from Fall River. Help the places in question find suitable locations more toward the interior of the town, rather than on the outskirts.
Tom April 11, 2013 at 01:09 AM
I think we should increase the police force and some officers to work on the cold case files in town. Aside from the current crime I am sure ther are a few unsolved crimes that need to solved.
TivTiger April 11, 2013 at 04:41 PM
When officers take their oaths, they do not say, "i swear to arrest only the really bad criminals", they uphold all criminal laws. So if someone committs a crime that is an arrestable offense, whether "real crimes" or "the dumbest things" in your opinion, they should be arrested. Period. If someone committed a "dumb" crime against you, your property, or your family, I'm quite sure you'd be singing a different tune.


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