• Haverhill residents asking police, city for answers in response to rising crime

    By: Julie Leonardi

    Updated:

    HAVERHILL, Mass. - Residents in one Haverhill neighborhood are calling on police and city officials to find ways to make them feel safer in their homes. Those residents turned up at Haverhill's city council meeting on Tuesday night to get answers. 

    Recent crime in the Mount Washington neighborhood forced one neighbor to contact law enforcement directly, hoping to get a resolution to the violence. On Tuesday, in front of city councilors, their concerns were heard. 

    "It's more than just shock, it's just kind of what can we do to change it," said Sari Joffre, a resident of the city.

    Residents in Haverhill's Mount Washington neighborhood are fed up. 

    "It's getting worse, like when you have to worry about walking down the street," added Joffre.

    Gunshots ringing out just steps from their homes.

    Several residents, like one woman who spoke to Boston 25 News but did not want to share her identity for fear of her safety, showed up to Tuesday's city council meeting hoping to get answers from police.

    "I would say within the past month it’s been horrible because there's been a shooting down the street from my house," she said. 

    The spike in gang-related crime has hit home to many of those folks who feel like they can't even let their children play freely.

    "That was a big wakeup call because then I was worried about the safety of my own kids playing in the yard," said Joanna Dix, another resident of Haverhill. 

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    Haverhill Police say October shootings have hit Ashworth Terrace and Beach Street both in Mount Washington residential streets.

    "No one in this city should have to worry about gunshots ringing out with their children playing in," said Deputy Chief Anthony Haugh of Haverhill Police. 

    And a recent string of carjackings in the Merrimack Valley was linked to young Haverhill residents. Police say they've launched a gang task force in hopes of putting pressure on criminals. 

    But they say those young perpetrators have created a new challenge. So police will now work alongside residents and city officials to come up with new initiatives to combat the violence. 

    "It's a little unsettling," Dix said. "So I really hope we come up with a long-term, strategic, policy-rich plan to combat this for the long run."

    On December 5, residents are encouraged to attend a meeting that will dive deeper into those issues.

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