SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Forest Park section of Springfield is best known for its streets lined with huge Victorian homes, but people who call this neighborhood home worry it’s becoming known for violence and they say repeat offenders are to blame.
“It’s the same 1 or 2 percent that continues to do these crimes. But our court system does not hold them accountable,” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said.
Mayor Sarno and other city and state leaders heard from members of the community at a Forest Park Civic Association meeting on Thursday evening. One man told the group that the violence has gotten so bad he doesn’t want to leave his house.
State representative Angelo Puppolo told 22News that legislation is in the works on Beacon Hill aimed at cracking down on those so-called repeat offenders.
“What we’re trying to do is just even the playing field. In other words, the defense always has the opportunity if the bail is set too high to appeal it, and we understand bails not supposed to be punitive but in cases when the bail’s been set excessively low for habitual offenders,” Rep. Puppolo said.
Overall crime is down 10-percent in the city. But down only 4 percent in Forest Park. The biggest concerns are dirt bikers speeding up and down city streets, and gun violence.
“This is our city, it’s a good city. And if you like crime this is the wrong place for you buddy,” Ward 6 City Councilor Victor Davila said.
Many at the meeting were complimentary of Springfield Police, they said that patrol has clearly increased in problem areas.