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Crime In Lawrence Up Nearly 50 Percent

Crime is up nearly 50 percent in Lawrence.

Auto theft has nearly doubled since more than a quarter of the department's police officers were laid off last year. Murders and robberies have risen more than 27 percent.

Police Chief John Romero says he was expecting an increase in crime because of cutbacks.

"Crime just went up because we weren't dealing with underlying issues," Romero said. "We were reacting to crime as opposed to being proactive. When you're reacting to crime you're reacting to something that already happened."

Lawrence City Councilor Marc Laplante said the city is looking at grants to rehire officers and bring back special units that focus on burglary, drugs and domestic violence.

"If we can go ahead and follow the metrics of improving and making our citizens safe, that will have a trickle-down effect for businesses, for economic development, and also our tax base. So it all ties in together," Laplante said.

The Lawrence Police Department is planning to hire five more officers under grant funding it received, and hopes to get funding to hire 12 more.

This program aired on September 19, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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