Tom's Vision for a Safe and Secure Community
Public safety is a key element of my infrastructure vision for North Adams. At the most basic level, people in any community have the right to feel secure in their homes and safe in their neighborhoods and streets. The residents and visitors of North Adams are no exception to this rule. That is why we all should be concerned by statistics that place our city above the state and national averages for certain classes of violent and property crime. However, we also have the opportunity and the responsibility to respond by strengthening our public safety infrastructure.
Our police officers place themselves in harm’s way every day in order to keep us safe. We need to do more to reverse the high turnover rate in our police force as officers seek better paying jobs in neighboring communities. Our challenges with recruitment and retention also limit our officers’ efforts to develop and sustain effective community policing programs that build mutual respect and trust at the neighborhood level, especially between police and the youth of North Adams.
In addition, we know that many crimes in North Adams - and particularly property crimes - are related to the opioid and heroin epidemic in our community. Addressing this epidemic through a combination of intervention, treatment and enforcement as well as through mechanisms like drug courts can help to bring down the crime rate. Similarly, we need greater coordination across city departments to address blight and problem properties; doing this can help to limit or eliminate the places where drug problems are particularly persistent.
As with the efforts of our dedicated police force, it is vital that North Adams continues to support our professional fire department and the fire personnel who are trained and prepared to address the risks inherent in a community that is home to a healthcare facility, an airport, several high-rise buildings, a college and a world-class museum. Both our police and fire personnel deserve to work in a facility that is equal to their talent, dedication, and professionalism. As mayor, I will make planning for a new public safety building a key priority and will work with our Congressional and State House delegations and key state agencies to secure funds for that facility.
Finally, we all share in the responsibility of creating a secure and liveable city. We make North Adams safer and stronger by knowing our neighbors, by watching out for one another and by supporting our first responders in their efforts on our behalf.