Rhode Island Urban Violent Crime Initiative

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré and Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. were joined today by United States Attorney Peter F.  Neronha, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and the heads of federal, state and local law enforcement from across Rhode Island to detail multiple coordinated simultaneous investigations that to date have resulted in at least 35 arrests and the seizure of at least 15 firearms earmarked for the streets of Providence.

Today’s announcement brings to the public’s attention for the first time the Rhode Island Urban Violent Crime Initiative – a wide-ranging collaboration of local, state and federal law enforcement and federal and state prosecutors who are targeting violent crime and violent criminals in urban neighborhoods of Rhode Island.

Over the past 18-months, undercover investigations initiated by the Providence Police Department and the DEA, with substantial assistance from ATF, the FBI, state and local police departments, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General, have been targeting the distribution of heroin and crack cocaine in Providence, primarily in the Hartford Park neighborhood, and the importation of firearms onto the streets of Providence.

At the same time, and in close coordination, the FBI’s Safe Street Task Force and Providence Police have been targeting gang members and associates engaged in violent crime, including gun crimes, in Providence.

Additionally, information garnered during these investigations directly resulted in a spin-off investigation that led to Providence Police, the DEA, ATF, and state and federal prosecutors interrupting an alleged pipeline of firearm trafficking into Providence from Greenville, North Carolina.

“I commend the work of the Providence Police Department and their State and Federal partners on this collaborative effort. The diligent work and model partnership of these dedicated individuals has led to the apprehension of 35 violent criminals, impacting crime in Providence at the street level,” said Mayor Elorza.

“This statewide task force is an example of how the Providence Police Department leverage partnerships with Local, State, and Federal partners to dismantle gun and drug activity throughout Rhode Island.  Let this be a strong message to the community that we will continue using all of the resources available to us to make this City and state safe and that violent criminals will be held accountable for the crimes that they commit,” said Commissioner Paré.

In addition to the investigations, arrests, firearm seizures and prosecutions announced today, the collaborative effort the Rhode Island Urban Violent Crime Initiative continues to target other violent crimes and violent criminals in urban neighborhoods in Rhode Island.