PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – For the second straight weekend, Providence police responded to multiple incidents of violent crime, including a fatal double shootout.
Two Boston men in their late twenties died Saturday after being shot dead outside a nightclub, police said, and less than 24 hours later, three people were injured in a shooting in a house on Manton Avenue.
In addition, police said that a man was attacked and abducted in a car around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday in the Poe and Oxford streets area.
It all follows two shootings last weekend in which an innocent bystander was killed and another five people were hospitalized, along with two knife wounds.
At the time, none of these crimes had been arrested.
Mayor Jorge Elorza said he believed that at least some of the violence was retaliation.
“This idea of taking things into your own hands, which only leads to more violence, a cycle of violence, does not help anyone,” he said. “Please give us this information. Let the detectives do their job and hold everyone responsible to account. “
Elorza also attributed the lack of arrests to the unwillingness of the victims and their relatives to provide the police with information about what had happened.
The mayor said he is committed to making people feel safe, which requires prevention through community programs and the response of a larger police force.
The Providence Police Department typically aims to target around 500 officers, according to the Police Union President, but it is currently only about 400, with about a third of those officers being retired.
However, Elorza claimed what was happening in town had something to do with the size of the police force.
“There is no correlation between the number of officers and the number of crimes,” said Elorza.
He found that crimes such as robbery and assault have decreased year over year, and over the past five years all violent crimes except homicide have decreased.
“We now have fewer civil servants and we have less crime,” he added. “But then there is the perception of crime and perception is reality and perception is very important.”
About 50 cadets will graduate from the Police Academy in November, and Providence City Council has budgeted for one more class thereafter.
“What I hear in the community is that they want to see more officers, or when they call an officer, they want that officer to come sooner rather than later and it is for all of these things, for this quality of life and for this sense of security important to have more officers, ”said Elorza.
The city’s police force is also working with the Rhode Island State Police to tackle the increase in violence.
On Tuesday evening, Elorza is expected to attend a special meeting convened by the city council to discuss ways to respond to the problem.