Mitchell: New Bedford Very Safe, But Not Safe Enough
In his weekly appearance on WBSM, Mayor Jon Mitchell expressed regret over the murder of 18-year-old Brad Lourenco on Monday, but also expressed concern that rising tensions between rival gangs could be fueling this latest wave of violence. But the mayor feels the New Bedford Police Department is working hard to counteract the escalation.
"You know, I'm concerned there's been some tensions in certain parts of the city that I do think need to be addressed, and the police department has been doing that," he said. "There's been an awful lot of outreach in that particular part of the city, as well as others, to make sure that tensions don't rise."
Lourenco was shot in the back of the head at Clemente Park in the South End Monday afternoon, and later died from his injuries at Rhode Island Hospital. Arrested and charged were 20-year-old Ivan Fontanez, Jr. and 23-year-old Keeland Rose, two known West End gang members. Prosecutors say the shooting may have been in retaliation to a shooting last week that injured Fontanez's half-brother.
"It's very troubling, but I'm glad the police were all over it and quickly made arrests, and showed that people don't get away with that in New Bedford," he said. "We have to remain vigilant. We live in a city, and as cities go...New Bedford is very safe, but it's not safe enough."
Mitchell said that New Bedford as a whole can't become complacent about fighting crime. He mentioned Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro is putting out additional patrols for outreach, to make sure there is more of a police presence felt in higher-crime areas. Mitchell also said there is still a strong effort to get judges to stop allowing repeat criminals to go back on the street through the bail process.
"All of these things are in the mix," he said, "But none of this is going to bring that young man back."
Mitchell said that it's a "small number of impact players" who are causing a disproportionate amount of crime across the city.
"The good news is, we're a city of a scale that even though we're big enough to have these problems, we're small enough for the police to know who these people are," he said. "So they're focusing like a laser beam on those individuals."