Region’s Mayors Meet in Haverhill City Hall, Call Gangs a Regional Problem and Seek Strategies

Haverhill, Lawrence and Methuen mayors, along with police officials, meet in Haverhill City Hall. (Courtesy photograph.)

The mayors of Haverhill, Lawrence and Methuen say gangs are a regional problem and came to Haverhill City Hall with police to discuss strategies for fighting gangs, guns and drugs.

Meeting in Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s office, they discussed how the three police departments work together to fight crime and discussed ideas for improving communication and cooperation.

“Gangs are a regional problem, so we need to work together to identify gang members and make sure we are all keeping the heat on them,” Fiorentini said in a statement. “During the meeting it became very clear to me that police in Haverhill, Lawrence and Methuen are doing a great job talking and working together every day, and we all agreed we want to see that continue and even increase it whenever and wherever we can.”

Besides Fiorentini, participating in the recent meeting were Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro; Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera and Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque; Methuen Mayor James P. Jajuga, Methuen Police Executive Captain Kris McCarthy, Methuen Police Lt. Ron Valliere and Methuen Mayor-elect Neil Perry.

Fiorentini’s office said the meeting was part of “stepped-up attention being placed on gangs in Haverhill and neighboring communities,” adding, Fiorentini recently hosted neighborhood meetings in various parts of the city to discuss gangs and crime with residents. He has also formed a police gang unit and helped recruit the anti-gang UTEC youth group to Haverhill.

Each of the mayors said overall crime is trending downward in their cities but stressed that it is critical to be vigilant and proactive in combatting gangs, drug-dealing and illegal gun sales.

“The issues of gangs driven by the opioid trade and epidemic across all of our communities is a tough nut to crack,” Rivera said. “This is something that calls for smarter policing based on quality intelligence and good police work. In Lawrence we have found that this is not just about more police officers.”

Police at the meeting stressed gang members often move between the three cities and that police communicate daily to keep track of them.

“I was happy to meet with Mayor Fiorentini and Mayor Rivera to discuss our common concerns with gang violence in our communities,” Jajuga said. “Methuen has made great progress in addressing many of these issues, particularly with an active Police Department presence and leadership in our city.”

Comments are closed.