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Three Weeks, Three Armed Robberies in Salem

Our readers have shared their opinions - to what do you attribute Salem's sudden uptick in armed robberies?

Over the last three weeks, local police officers have responded to three armed robberies in downtown Salem.

Two of the armed robberies occurred in the same Norman Street plaza, first at 7-Eleven on Nov. 19; and then at Georgia's Pizza this past Sunday night.

The latest occurred at a second-floor apartment on Prince Street, where a tenant told police she was robbed at gunpoint by two men on Monday.

So, we have to ask, what's going on with all these robberies?

Does this growing trend change your perception of Salem? Do you think the pressue of the holiday season has something do with it?

Over the last three weeks we've received some of the following comments from our readers:

  • John Merrett: 23 million women own firearms in America and this is why. Crime is on the rise in Salem, so take steps to protect you and those you care about. Don't be a victim of someones violent recklessness.
  • John Andrews: That is a real shame and I hope the guy is aprehended, the family that runs Georgia's are some of the sweetest people I've met in town. I was there Sunday too, man that could have gotten ugly.
  • Georgia: What a scary thought! Violet and her amazing family did not deserve this and I hope they find the robber.
  • Letty C: I am so glad to hear no one was hurt! They are such hard working and kind people! It's also very frightening because I live very close to that corner and to know weapon-carrying thieves are running around when I am potentially out walking is terrifying. How about.a little extras police presence, please?!
  • Jenni Schillizzi: Could someone please tell me what's going on in this beautiful town of ours? Why is it that the criminal element is coming HERE and treating Salem like it's Newark, NJ??? If the Mayor is so concerned with bringing in more residents and revenue, the least she could do is bring back the police officers who were let go do to cutbacks, so that criminals don't feel it's alright to commit felonies here! A stronger police presence would make them think twice about coming here!
  • Bill: Agree - seems clear the violent crime is getting worse each year under Driscoll. Maybe more focus on that and the schools and less on tourism and solar garbage cans.
  • john: It's the shelter. Nobody wants to admit it but that't the problem. It attracts unwanted people to Salem by allowing them to sober up once a week and get in for a meal and maybe clean up. If not that,they can always sleep at the police station. The shelter has a worthy purpose but it is not perfect. Drunks passed out all over town,needles found on the streets,it's a recipie for disaster.
  • John Merrett "An armed man is a citizen,...an unarmed man is a subject.." and he's also a crime victim.
  • Jen: I agree with John about the shelters/sober houses. I work for a lab that does drug testing for those places and they get away with a lot. They're not even getting help for their addictions.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

DBL December 06, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Just last night I heard a man threatening to kill another over a drug deal gone bad right in the YMCA parking lot. Makes me feel oh so safe when I'm there with my kids.
santa December 06, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I agree about the mayor...she's worried about the bottom line with money and here own appearance....time for here to go....as far as the shelter..that's cowards appprouch to problem ...it will come to light that most robbers during Xmas have hones and chrildren and more in fair of there appearance during holiday...were ad homeless do not fair this stereo type....so just because your homeless does not mean your a criminal
Maggi Smith-Dalton December 06, 2012 at 04:46 PM
The kind of tourism we promote here...bizarre behavior celebrated, vulgar and violent imagery/costumes/role playing...plus the shelter problems mentioned...this is, indeed, changing the character of the city. And not for the better. Just an observation from a concerned resident over the past decade.
John Merrett December 06, 2012 at 06:55 PM
In Texas, they don't have these kind of conversations,...wonder why?
Leese December 06, 2012 at 08:12 PM
What do you expect from an administration that rolls out the red carpet for needy? It's not just the shelter, it's the amount of affordable housing Salem provides. And they want to add more - in keeping with the state's Gateway city program, which Salem qualifies for, based on its lower-than average residential incomes. Now ask yourself - why are Salem's median incomes so low? Because it already provides one of the highest amounts of affordable housing on the North Shore. It's one thing to provide affordable housing to existing Salemites that need it, it's another to build more than and our fair share and encourage low income residents to relocate here. No wonder we have an increasing crime problem.
windpower December 06, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Madam Mayor ,are you reading these comments ? They most likely voted for you ,for the last time .
corrupt December 06, 2012 at 09:16 PM
City of Salem are snobs literally...your right the mayor must go..being apart of the city as a employee....gives them a sence of god the city employees care more about them selves and image than the needs of the city....look into any complaints filed with cilvil rights division and you will see the mayors gives a crap about the everyday citizen.......you literlay must attend numerous fiction and fundraisers to even be heard about....hey police charged with rape didn't a local fire fighter steal money and another charged
john December 06, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Two sides to every story.I agree about the mayor and some employees unforgivable behavior.Consider what the mayor has done in recent years. She and she alone is responsible for the school failure. She also has no respect for union contracts(teachers,police, fire) but recently gave BIG raises to a chosen few in her administration while she is slowly taking away benifits to city employees. Create a lousy atmosphere and live in a lousy city.
pk December 06, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Whatever you're trying to say here, the stats show that some of the highest violent crime rates are in Texas cities: Corpus Christi, Dallas, and San Antonio among them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate
Carolyn Costain December 06, 2012 at 11:25 PM
This whole city is becoming just a drive-thru for businesses and tourist. Our Mayor is driving out the long term residents with the way she runs this city! Salem used feel like a home " a place to raise a family." Our Mayor no longer cares about the long term residents and we get no breaks or incentives to even continue to live in this city. Pretty soon they will have to re-name the city for what our Mayor is creating here and that is "Slumlem!"
John Merrett December 07, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Nice try, pk- you listed crime stats of allUS cities over 100,000, useless,...now, here is the 25 MOST VIOLENT cities in the US and look!,...NO TEXAS CITIES,.that's what i'm saying professor. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-25-most-dangerous-cities-in-america.html?page=all
John Merrett December 07, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Interesting fact, the most violent cities are in Conn., Ca., NY., Mi., Md., states with the toughest gun laws!,...how did that happen?
john December 07, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Rally against the mayor. Mayor Driscoll please resign. Whose in?
Frank Kulik December 07, 2012 at 11:08 AM
As more and more citizens become aware of the direction our Mayor is taking our City, the more her popularity seems to go down hill. You don't win popularity contests aka "elections" by force-feeding public with unpopular ideas. She seems to have become expert at alienating one segment of the population after another with her unpalatable programs.
Bill December 07, 2012 at 01:41 PM
She has one foot out the door - she'll run for Congress or something else. Or take a high paying legal/lobby job to make big bucks while trading on connections made as Mayor. I'd be shocked if she ran for a third term. She has bigger fish to fry, and much of what she has done was to position for the future. No interest in schools or crime, but it will be hung on her by opponents if she runs for another office.
alex December 07, 2012 at 05:44 PM
It seems that area is a major focus on robberys....I'm amazed the library would risk having that much cash from late fees and book sales just lying around while giving refuge to the homeless from the bitter cold....serious what's stoping them from jumping the counter...God help salem
Deb December 08, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Increased "affordable" housing plus the expansion of the shelter is responsible for much of this, IMHO. "If you build it, they will come" has never been truer than when applied to a segment of the population that often has no visible means of support and/or employment. Here, an interesting read from The Atlantic, reputed as fairly liberal. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/american-murder-mystery/306872/ American Murder Mystery Why is crime rising in so many American cities? The answer implicates one of the most celebrated antipoverty programs of recent decades. "Janikowski merged his computer map of crime patterns with Betts’s map of Section 8 rentals... Betts remembers her discomfort as she looked at the map. The couple had been musing about the connection for months, but they were amazed—and deflated—to see how perfectly the two data sets fit together. She knew right away that this would be a “hard thing to say or write.” Nobody in the antipoverty community and nobody in city leadership was going to welcome the news that the noble experiment that they’d been engaged in for the past decade had been bringing the city down, in ways they’d never expected. But the connection was too obvious to ignore, and Betts and Janikowski figured that the same thing must be happening all around the country."
Rob L December 08, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Well! you could move to Danvers where they have a higher rate of thefts. As far as crime in Salem the majority are committed by those that live outside of Salem. More police would be great but that went down with the jobs bill.
Deb December 08, 2012 at 12:39 AM
“IV.A-6. Specific Needs of Renters and Homeowners According to HUD, a “housing problem” exists when at least one of the following is true: 1) more than 30 percent of a household’s monthly gross income is spent on housing costs; 2) the housing unit is substandard; or 3) the housing unit is too small to reasonably accommodate the number of household members (more than one person per room). In Salem, many homeowners and renters face housing problems, but the high cost of housing presents the greatest housing problem to homeowners and renters alike.” http://www.salem.com/pages/salemma_dpcd/studiesreports/conplan2010.pdf Does this not seem like a vicious circle? The city is attracting people to whom all of the above conditions often apply, and throwing more money at it to attract them! The city council has to vote on the CBDG every year. Keep an eye out, if interested.
Deb December 08, 2012 at 12:46 AM
The shelter expansion is fairly current history. LIH (low income housing) goes way back, but it's surely amped up now, with the city charging ahead. (Think about how far and wide LIH has expanded, and think, “towers”, too.) From the city's (innocuously titled) "City of Salem Five-Year Consolidated Plan" : "The Consolidated Plan establishes a vision for attaining a higher quality of life for low and moderate income residents and the annual Action Plan outlines specific activities that work toward accomplishing that vision. In each of the five years covered by this Consolidated Plan, Salem expects to receive approximately $1,245,000 in CDBG entitlement funding, approximately $210,000 in HOME funds and an estimated $150,000 in program income, based on FY10 funding levels. ***The total estimated five year allocation is$6,225,000 from CDBG, $1,050,000 in HOME funds and $750,000 in program income. These funds are conditional upon annual appropriations by the federal government...***"
john benston December 08, 2012 at 10:07 AM
I know the city is haywire..while I was having cup of coffee one day I over heard two thugs talk about how friendly mart on Lafayette St next to sub shop is the best over all store to hit..with only survalsnce next to register and loads of cash.....people in city are money hungry
john benston December 08, 2012 at 10:14 AM
The mayor will not be allowed to run for any office....I will see that any election she seeks that the behavior of her city workers attacking my nephew disability and did nothing but worry about getting sued and did not fire a single person....trust me her days in public office are over
Linda McGrath December 08, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Thanks for posting this! I have always felt section 8 was a huge contributor to crime. When I owned my house in NY I received several requests from the city to accept tenants on this program. Only one person on my block accepted it. Within a few months drugs were being sold on his front steps and their was a constant stream of thugs in and out. Between section 8 and absentee landlords renting to anyone my clean, safe neighborhood deteriorated swiftly. By the time I left I had steel bulkhead doors, bars on all bottom windows and security doors (barred) in front and in back of the house and the neighborhood is still considered good. People NEVER thought it would happen in their neighborhhod.
William Legault December 08, 2012 at 03:55 PM
No, in Texas they just grab the one they don't like, tie them to the back of a pick-up truck and drag them down the road for a few miles or as long as it takes to kill a twelve-pack of beer.
Shava Nerad December 08, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Did you report them with detailed descriptions to 911? That's what it takes you know....
Shava Nerad December 08, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Seems to me the shelter has both a curfew and a no weapons policy. And, people who are making (in) decent money dealing drugs and robbing people can afford to live somewhere more private to suit their entrepreneurial pursuits. Are you sure you people just aren't blowing smoke? Maybe you should call Lifebridge and arrange a visit. My church cooks dinner there once a month. So might yours - most of the local faith communities pitch in. You might find your heart growing a few sizes larger this holiday season. Who knows? Might suit you.
John Merrett December 08, 2012 at 05:24 PM
When good people see this, by good people I mean the kind who are good neighbors and friends, who work and pay taxes and who's kids go to school and who are involved in the community,- those are the people you want in your city to stay or move into, but this kind of press will turn those people away, not because they are uncaring, but because they understand what makes a community and they won't find it here.
Deb December 08, 2012 at 05:31 PM
The shelter has good rules, but it appears they aren't always followed to the T; and even if they are, it still attracts a bad element. With all due respect - Here's a little experiment. Do a search in the local papers for "homeless" and "56 Margin St". Note that most (all?) of the hits aren't feel good stories. Good chance you'd get fewer hits in Salem if the shelter was located elsewhere? Ya think?
jason wert December 09, 2012 at 07:52 AM
John for once I agree w u, as this kind of activity grows n becomes commonplace throughout the town, those who are honest & work hard to provide for their familys, those who care about their neighbors & keeping their communitys safe for their children, they will leave. The crime & the drugs will take over, n good people wont come to salem, not to live & sooner or later, not to visit. Businesses will leave, jobs wil leave, tourist income will leave. I'm all for helping those in need, but some people are in need because they choose to be, because it is easier for them to get through life scamming, taking handouts & stealing from those of us who work hard for the little bit we do have. Most people can't see the difference between those who need help & those want to take whatevers free
marc bowlen December 10, 2012 at 02:53 AM
All this low income housing is for 1 reason! To keep The Democratic Party in power as it gets the same dirty people elected year after year, The solution to the problems are term limits, less government jobs, elimination of Unions that are affiliated with civil service jobs, and anyone that is on welfare or sec 8 housing be required to pay back the tax payers every penny they have taken when they get off assistance in the form of community service or money taken from their pay once they get back on their feet! There shall be no lifetime sec 8 tenants or welfare, they shall be required to be enrolled in job training programs when on assistance ( unless they are legally disabled) having kids to obtain welfare is not a disability, it is a 3rd world way of life!

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