DeNaro Outlines Plan to Combat Haverhill Violence Amid Spate of Gang-Affiliated Shootings

Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro addresses the School Committee on active shooter safety protocols during the September 14 meeting alongside Haverhill Police Officer Scott Ziminski. (WHAV News file photograph)

Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro addressed his department’s plan to combat gang-related violence at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Urged to come before the Council at the request of President John A. Michiston and Councilor Michael S. McGonagle, DeNaro said he has spoken in-depth with Mayor James J. Fiorentini over the past few days about the recent shootings and stabbings in the city.

One of the challenges that DeNaro and his officers face is when shooting victims—many of them gang-affiliated—refuse to come forward to police or cooperate with an investigation.

“When they’re shot, they don’t cooperate with us. A lot of times, they will tell us absolutely nothing because they want to handle it themselves,” he said.

DeNaro says that his department is working with several city agencies and youth programs to help curb the violence.

“We’re working intimately with the (Greater Haverhill) Boys and Girls Club. We are doing summer camps,” the top first responder said. “We could use police officers as well as some coaches from the public to mentor some of these young men and women and see if we can get them focused in the right direction early.”

The Lowell-based outreach group UTEC is putting down roots in Haverhill, with plans to open a Winter Street satellite office this spring.

Residents have been on high alert following a series of violent incidents. In his decision to ask DeNaro to speak, Michitson expressed “serious concern” for the safety of all his constituents.

“This should not be the new normal,” Mitchitson said. “It is a serious concern that warrants our full attention. As a community, we need to come together to ensure the safety of all Haverhill citizens.”

As WHAV previously reported, Haverhill men Jeffrey Larkin and Nike Colon were gunned down 11 days apart in May 2018, with Colon’s murder triggering what police called an all-out “gang war” in the city. At least one of the subsequent shootings—on Fifth Avenue in June 2018—was seen as retaliatory strike against those close to Eddy Almonte, Colon’s alleged killer.

All victims of recent crimes, with the exception of Larkin and Colon, survived.

Comments are closed.