Recent home invasions ‘targeted’ victims
By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Two recent home invasions were targeted toward specific people and were more likely than not drug related, said Police Capt. Matt Canfield yesterday. He said these were not random acts of violence and that city residents should know that Laconia is a safe place to live and work.
"These home invasions were very targeted and (the perpetrators) knew what they wanted," Canfield said.
On July 27, three people armed with baseball bats and pipes targeted some people who were in an apartment at 72 Batchelder St. Three people were injured in that attack.
On Aug. 3, two men were arrested and charged with armed robbery, burglary and conspiracy to commit armed robbery after attacking two other men in an apartment at 93 Church St.
Canfield said police have a number of leads in the Batchelder Street incident and are still investigating the Church Street case. He said police don't think the two are related.
Police and the community have taken a number of steps to address the growing drug problem and its fallout in the city. Two years ago, city police created the Prevention, Education and Treatment (PET) program and dedicated Officer Eric Adams to work with those in the community who are addicted to drugs and who want to get clean. Not only does he help people anonymously get into treatment programs, Adams goes to all drug overdoses and drug-related crimes with the goal of offering assistance.
The community has also rallied around Stand-Up Laconia, a civilian-based education program that provides support to the community and works to band together those who want to address the drug problem.
Four year ago, Presiding Justice Jim Carroll of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division pioneered Recovery Court – an all-volunteer effort to help a limited number of people who are facing jail or prison because of addiction problems but who want to go through recovery. Police agree that is has been an effective program and Laconia City Prosecutor Jim Sawyer is one of the key volunteers.
"We have taken the approach that we will help those who are addicted and who want help," said Canfield. "We also take the enforcement position that if people want to continue to use and sell drugs in Laconia, we're going to take a hard line."
Canfield said Laconia is a fairly good-sized city and is not immune to the misfortunes of drug activity and its fallout. But, he said, New Hampshire is a safe state and Laconia is a safe city.
While he said it is not uncommon for police to deal with drug dealers who have guns, knives and other weapons, police statistics show that the violent crime rate, or the "crimes against persons" rate, has been steadily dropping in the city, with the possible exception of domestic violence.
"I don't think the community is getting more violent," he said.
He said violent drugs crimes are often committed against "like-minded" people.
"If you're going to deal in that kind of environment, then that's what coming to you," he said. "If you want help, we'll help. If you don't, we'll put you in jail."
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