By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Police Chief Christopher Adams told the Police Commission Thursday that the overall safety of the city and its residents is good.
Adams said it would be "naive" to say that Laconia has no issues, but that overall he is very satisfied when it comes to the violent crime rate. He said that while there is crime in the city, there is relatively little stranger crime.
"A lot of our criminal activities are related to drugs or alcohol," Adams said adding that very little crime in 2016 was committed against total strangers.
"We don't have people getting mugged at knife point in Laconia," he said.
Year-end statistics show that overall, the crimes against persons dropped about 5 percent from 2015 to 2016. Adams said he was concerned with the number of aggravated assaults, which rose from 46 in 2015 to 63 in 2016.
"Again, most of these are drug- and alcohol-related," he said.
The number of reported robberies has increased from seven in 2015 to 16 in 2016, which is a 128 percent increase. A robbery is defined as the taking of something from someone with the use or threat of physical force, said Capt. Matt Canfield.
"The majority of our robberies are from known assailants and can usually be traced back to the illegal use and sale of drugs," Canfield said, acknowledging that there is occasionally a convenience store robbery or a bank robbery like the one last week at Meredith Village Savings Bank, these incidents are relatively rare in Laconia.
In crimes against property, the city saw an overall increase of 6 percent.
There was a uptick in motor vehicle thefts from 22 in 2015 to 32 in 2016 or 45 percent and a increase of counterfeit money reports that stemmed largely from some poor quality fake money that was being circulated in the area during the summer months.
The number of burglaries dropped from 2015 to 2016 from 78 to 73 or a 6 percent decrease.
There was a 7 percent increase in 2016 of crimes against society which include drug and narcotic violations, gambling and prostitution, ans weapons laws violations.
While there was virtually no gambling or prostitution violations but there was a 8 percent increase in narcotics and drug violations.
Adams said the police are continue to use Granite Hammer, or a state grant that Laconia gets to pay for overtime for drug investigations and arrests and for putting more patrol units on the streets. Laconia received $76,950 from the state.