The Warwick Police Department has assessed the level of illegal activity at Salter Grove in response to concerns that were raised at a neighborhood meeting in mid-April. The
Department’s Community Police Unit focuses on public relations and quality of life issues, and it promptly and thoroughly responded to a request from Friends of Salter Grove and Councilman Richard Corley for increased surveillance.
Officer Daniel Maggiacomo and Sgt. William Defeo of the Community Police Unit reported on the results of their efforts at FoSG’s recent monthly meeting. Based on at least 100 directed patrols since June 5th, as well as numerous covert observations by Community Police and detectives, officers did not encounter any activity that warranted an arrest.
Officers observed alcohol consumption on the breakwater, but not drug use anywhere in the park. They also reported that websites promoting consensual sexual solicitation at Salter Grove have shut down or gone quiet since the increased patrols. During that same period, there were only two calls requesting service from the vicinity of Salter Grove, one of which was actually for Gaspee Point.
Officer Maggiacomo said “greater usage of the park by local residents would be the greatest deterrent to illegal activities.” Community events, like the Easter egg hunts of previous years or the FoSG potluck picnic in mid-July, would make the park less attractive to would-be loiterers.
“Greater usage of the park by local residents would be the greatest deterrent to illegal activities.”
— Warwick Police Officer Daniel Maggiacomo
The officers indicated that night lighting and a video camera have their own negative
consequences and did not recommend them as a crime deterrent. They did suggest that improving the appearance of the park and reducing hiding places near the parking lot could help to curtail criminal activity, and FoSG will follow up on these recommendations.
Patrols to Salter Grove will continue, and officers will provide reports in person to neighbors near the park. Officer Maggiacomo even brought his young children to enjoy the breakwater at Salter Grove. He plans to attend FoSG’s upcoming potluck picnic on September 23rd to talk with park users.
FoSG’s coordinator, Peter Becker, observed that “park users should see for themselves what a wonderful treasure Salter Gove represents, rather than allowing past issues to cloud their current enjoyment.”