Laconia police chief says city is safe despite increased drug incidents


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.

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Two arrested for drug possession in Wolfeboro

WOLFEBORO — Two people were arrested for drug possession on Thursday after a police stopped a couple driving on South Main Street.

01-21 Thomas McwinnieThomas Mcwhinnie, 54, of 95 Meeting House Road, Gilmanton, was charged with possession of drugs (crystal meth) and transportation of drugs in a motor vehicle.01-21 Nicole Spring

Nicole Spring, 33, or 126 Governor Wentworth Highway, Wolfeboro, was charged with possession of drugs (crystal meth) and possession of marijuana.

Wolfeboro police report that after seeing a motor vehicle infraction, he pulled the pair over on South Main Street at about 9 p.m. Officer Mike Strauch believed drugs were inside the car and got consent to search it.

Both were taken to Carroll County Jail and then released with a court date of Feb. 15 at 8 a.m. at the 3rd Circuit Court in Ossipee.




01-21 crystal meth paraphernalia

These items were confiscated from Thomas Mcwhinnie and Nicole Spring during a motor vehicle stop in Wolfeboro Thursday.

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Officials eye ‘silver tsunami’ impact on county finances as population ages


LACONIA — Belknap County officials expressed concern over the impending "silver tsunami" which is predicted to engulf the county over coming decades as an increasingly elderly population places heavy burdens on local property taxes.
Currently, 44 percent of the money raised by the county through property taxes, some $6.2 million, goes to the Health and Human Services budget line, which is assessed by the state of New Hampshire to pay the local share of costs for Belknap County residents eligible for Medicaid who are in private nursing homes or receiving in-home care.
That number is expected to spike over the next 10 to 20 years, following a trend which has seen the non-federal share of Medicaid paid by the county up by 30 percent since 2010.
Currently the county pays for 155 people receiving in-home care and 206 people in private nursing homes. County Administrator Deb Shackett said that in November the average monthly cost was $820 for those receiving in-home care, and $2,072 for nursing home care.
"It's a large elephant in the room," said Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton), who said that he has been working with groups like the Community Action Program to try and find ways to enable elderly people to remain in their homes longer.
He estimated that if 25 people a year could remain in their homes with some kind of assistance in home maintenance and repairs and other needed services it could save the county as much as $400,000 a year.
Taylor said that he hopes that within four or five months a report will be prepared which will detail steps the county and the involved agencies can take to help seniors remain in their homes.

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