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Safety is Newport's Number One Priorty, Mayor Says

The Mayor and City Manager held a press conference on Monday to address safety in Newport.

In light of recent assault reports, including a 42-year-old woman attacked on Ruggles Avenue and a Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop and City Manager Jane Howington called a second press conference to address the public's perception of safety in Newport.

The meeting was also attended by Newport City Council members. 

“The number one priority in Newport is public safety. We will deploy whatever resources necessary,” Winthrop said.

As for added safety measures due to assault reports and rumors, Howington said that there are officers in the police department that can be moved around to diferent areas that could be hot spots for random assaults.

“If there is a hot spot and we have leads, we'll put plain clothes officers out there,” she said.

Howington said the city will also hire a public information consultant using an emergency purchase order to further communication between the city and the community.

Councilor Kathryn Leonard said she would like to see the city be proactive rather than reactionary. “I would like to see unmarked cars. . .and beat police men. I don't want to wait for another assault."

Howington added that the city is taking the recent assaults in Newport so seriously because of the growing perception that the community is unsafe. That perception has been perpetuated by social media and blogs, she said.

The community would also benefit from resurrecting the neighborhood watch mentality. “If you see something, say something,” she said.

As for added police efforts, Councilor Justin McLaughlin said the community should trust that the police department are being transparent, up to some point.

“The police department can't reveal everything,” he said.

The Newport Police Department is currently analyzing crime data to determine what, if any, if any areas in town have patterns of random assaults.

mike homer October 24, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Car patrol eliminated the neighborhood police officer. Police were pulled off neighborhood beats to fill cars. But motorized patrol — the cornerstone of urban policing — has no effect on crime rates, victimization, or public satisfaction. Lawrence Sherman was an early critic of telephone dispatch and motorized patrol, noted, "The rise of telephone dispatch transformed both the method and purpose of patrol. Instead of watching to prevent crime, motorized police patrol became a process of merely waiting to respond to crime."
Lmw October 24, 2012 at 07:27 PM
We can come up with great, specific ideas to fix the crime problem, but before that let's look at the cause of the problem.....public housing is on the rise as is the crime rate. Why does newport put up with the low lifes put here by the state? Are we that greedy for the aid? Newport is going to lose its tourism dollars not to mention quality residents who don't want to be here anymore.....
Jack October 24, 2012 at 07:42 PM
First to include those on roadside details is wrong as most of them are retired officers and are paid by the contractor to handle traffic......Next by having a press conference because of 4 or 5 UNRELATED assaults has allowed Newport's image to be sullied through out the country as it becomes a AP news story and is used as fill in papers all over the US..... This has to be one of the dumbest things the City Council has ever done, we spend thousands on adds for tourists trying to attract them and then in 10 minutes drive them all away with this bull.....if a consultant is needed it is in the Council Chambers not the Police Station
frank macedo October 25, 2012 at 04:02 PM
get rid of the special council members and mayor who called special meeting without input from total city council. it looks like the same group mthat screwed Jeanne Napolitano out of her rightful mayoral seat, Im sur we can find 3or 4 more trust worthy people to replace the mighty 4
The count December 27, 2012 at 05:34 PM
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