NEW BEDFORD- City Councilor At-Large Brian Gomes appeared on WBSM’s Barry Richard Show this afternoon to talk with Barry about his plans to combat the rise in crime throughout the city.

Gomes addressed a motion he is proposing to City Council in reaction to the growing number of violent crimes in the city reported throughout the Summer. The motion, if passed, will call for the collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement to “discuss measures, procedures, and strategies to be utilized and implemented” in the fight against crime in New Bedford.

City Council is scheduled to hear the motion Thursday night, which reads as follows:

  1. WRITTEN MOTION, Councillor Gomes, requesting, that the Committee on Appointments and Briefings call an immediate Public Safety Summit to include a Representative of the Mayor’s Office, Police Chief Cordeiro, Massachusetts Homeland Security Director, Bristol County Sheriff Hodgson, the Commanding Officer from the State Police Barracks in Dartmouth and a Representative of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office to discuss measures, procedures and strategies to be utilized and implemented, such as stop and search, crime-free zones, and zero tolerance for crimes in our parks and playgrounds and that SRT Tactical Unit be on call and utilized anytime its needed, also that extra patrols and undercover units be placed in high crime neighborhood; and further, that a Public Awareness Campaign be put together to reach out to the neighborhoods and the citizens of this City for their assistance in fighting crime; furthermore, that this summit be held in executive session, due to the information that may be provided and also strategies that may already be in place that not only protect our Police Officers, Agencies but also the public. 

Gomes explained to Barry that the goal of the Summit is to get all public offices, law enforcement, and politicians involved in the fight against crime in New Bedford on the same page, and to strategize over different measures and procedures to be implemented.

One of the procedures the motion suggests the city uses is a “stop and search” policy. This sort of policy gained attention when put into place under former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as the “frisk and search” policy, and continues to be a national subject of debate from its use in New York City and Chicago.

Other strategies and procedures the motion requests for discussion includes designating areas in the city as crime-free zones, placing extra patrols and undercover units in high crime neighborhoods, and the formation of a Public Awareness Campaign to reach out to the citizens of New Bedford for their help in fighting crime.

Councilor Gomes will be submitting the proposal a month after the city reacted to the shooting of an innocent 60-year old man while in his apartment, during what was believed to have been a shootout between city gangs. The shooting prompted Mayor Mitchell to lead walking tours throughout the city’s troubled neighborhoods, as well an increase in patrols and stationed police cruisers in these areas.

The shooting resulted in a response from Gomes and other City Councilors, as Gomes called for Mitchell’s administration to “bring the hammer down” on those who commit violent crime. In the days following the shooting, Councilor Gomes admonished the Mayor for downplaying the city’s crime problem and accused him of doing it for political reasons.

This would not the first time that New Bedford City Council passes a motion for a Public Safety Summit. Councilor Gomes filled Barry in on his pursuit to eliminate crime in New Bedford over the course of his career as a City Councilor.

“When I came to the City Council some 27 years ago I addressed this very issue,” Gomes said.

“I’m not going to deal with a city where people are scared, their tense and looking over their back.”

Councilor Gomes acknowledged that the city has issues other than crime that require discussion by City Council, and dove into those topics with WBSM listeners who called in during his time on the Barry Richard Show. However, with the recent string of crime New Bedford has faced throughout the summer, Gomes views the reduction of violent crime to be paramount to all other issues.

“We have our problems, but when it comes to the crime element its over the top.” said Gomes.