Mitchell’s Lost Credibility on Crime in New Bedford [OPINION]
Another shooting in New Bedford over the weekend and Mayor Jon Mitchell's credibility on crime statistics is sinking faster than Joe Biden's poll numbers.
The shooting near State Street on Friday was the second shooting incident in six days. There was a shooting a week ago Saturday in broad daylight during a basketball tournament at Monte Park. Don't forget the murder of an 18-year-old at Clasky Common Park earlier last week.
A friend who lives near the downtown says he hears what sounds like gunshots late at night on a fairly regular basis.
It wasn't long ago that Mayor Jon Mitchell sat in my studio and said, "New Bedford doesn't have a gang problem. There are gang wannabes." I guess they must be the equivalent of Barack Obama's ISIS JV team. Whether they are wannabes or full-fledged gang members, they have weapons and are dangerous. Tell the folks sent scrambling for safety during the hoops tourney that the shooter was only a gang wannabe. I'm sure that provides comfort.
By the way, shortly after Mitchell's "gang wannabes" comment, U.S. Attorney General Andrew Lelling conducted a massive raid on the Latin Kings street gang in New Bedford.
Mayor Mitchell and his former police chief Joseph Cordeiro had the gall to stand before the cameras and tell us that crime is down significantly and falling every day, and to their credit, of course. Remember, this is the mayor who stopped coming on my radio program because he didn't want to answer tough questions about the crime.
Remember the Brickenwood shooting? Remember the shooting on Rockdale Avenue in broad daylight? Sure, crime stats fall when you don't tell the people about the crime that is occurring.
Then there was the "hierarchy rule;" remember that? Here is how it works: when someone commits multiple offenses in one incident, the FBI counts only the most serious offense in the incident. Therefore the final crime stats for New Bedford per the FBI's stats are lower than the actual number of crimes logged by the police department. But the department touts the FBI's numbers when telling residents that crime is down.
Mayor Mitchell's administration has lost all credibility on the issue of crime. It might help if he were to stop playing the people for fools and admit that the crime problem is almost as big as his ego. Only then might we begin to make progress.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.