WORCESTER – In our latest daily feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com will explore five important items and stories that Worcester and Central Massachusetts residents should keep a close eye on.
These five things can cover a whole range of subjects and issues that we feel are pertinent to understanding what’s going on in the City and the cities and towns surrounding Worcester.
In today’s edition — April 22, 2019 — we explore the Worcester Police Dept.’s upcoming pilot program for body cameras, 2018 crime stats, small business opportunities in cities around Worcester, this week’s street sweeping schedule and the re-zoning of the area around the future Polar Park.
Here are five things you need to know today in Worcester:
Worcester’s Crime Rates are Down
According to the Worcester Police Dept., the City’s crime rates dropped in 2018 from 2017 and arrests were at multi-year lows — a 12% drop [6084 in 2017 to 5358 in 2018].
Shooting incidents were down 21%, shooting victims down 20%, and robberies down 17%. There were five homicides in 2018, which tied 2017 for the city’s lowest number on record for decades. Aggravated assaults, shooting incidents, shooting victims, and robberies were all down.
The one category where the rate increased was stabbings/slashings [101 in 2017 to 124 in 2018].
Six-month Pilot Program for Police Body Cameras to Start Soon
Twenty Worcester police officers will be outfitted with body-worn cameras during their shifts as part of the WPD’s body camera pilot program.
Body camera-manufacturer Axon provided the WPD with twenty cameras, twenty spare cameras, twenty charging docks and other devices to mount the cameras on the officers.
The officers were trained by Axon in using the cameras and is providing the tech-support during the pilot program. The donation from Axon — the cameras, devices and training — is valued at $33,174 and will cover the costs of the WPD’s pilot program.
Three Worcester County Cities Listed Among Worst Small Cities to Start a Business
The cities of Leominster, Fitchburg and Milford have made Wallethub’s most recent report — 2019’s Best & Worst Small Cities to Start a Business in America — and each city finds itself on the tail end of enterprising possibilities compared to other cities in the country.
WalletHub compared the business-friendliness of more than 1,200 small-sized cities across 18 key metrics ranges from average growth in number of small businesses to investor access to labor costs.
Overall, the rankings for the three Worcester County cities are as follows: Fitchburg (#809), Milford (#954) and Leominster (#996).
To see how these cities compared to the rest of New England and the country, see map below:
This Week in Spring Street Sweeping
Worcester’s DPW will start street sweeping in the following neighborhoods: Burncoat St., West Boylston St., Great Brook Valley and East Mountain St. For full list see below:
Monday, April 22, Worcester DPW will begin sweeping in the following areas. Please obey all posted No Parking signs. Cars interfering with sweeping will be ticketed and towed. Placing leaves or branches in the street may result in fines. pic.twitter.com/MywQgprz1P
— DPW & P (@WorcesterDPW) April 19, 2019
Worcester Red Sox Stadium area needs to be re-zoned
In a communication from City Manager Edward Augustus, Jr. to the City Council ahead of Tuesday night’s City Counicil meeting, Augustus recommends that the property for the stadium development rezoned to accommodate both the ballpark site and the private development around the park.
Currently, the majority of this property is zoned Manufacturing and the Downtown Urban Revitalization Plan, as amended, calls for redevelopment of the neighborhood to create an urban mixed-use neighborhood in the park area.
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