State, Local, And Federal Cops Take Back The Streets of Lawrence


By: Tom Duggan – 4-30-17


POLICEAfter a significant spike in violent crimes over the last six months, Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick has called in some heavy reinforcements to take back the streets and protect the nearly 90,000 people living in his city.

Lawrence is the poorest community in Massachusetts.

Approximately 80% of Lawrence’s municipal funding comes from the state and federal taxpayers.

Over the last two weekends local, county, state, and federal law enforcement officials have surged into Lawrence to try and stem the epidemic of street violence plaguing the city.

On one night alone, Friday April 28th, The Valley Patriot counted more than 75 different law enforcement agents driving through, and walking through the city.

Setting up command centers at various locations, the alphabet soup of law enforcement agencies patrolled the streets in marked and unmarked cars. They pulled over vehicles, responded to radio calls, backed up uniformed Lawrence officers, and some agencies even booked and processed their own arrests so that Lawrence Police Officers would not be stuck in the station writing reports instead of being on the streets.  

This included: the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), The Treasury, ICE, The Massachusetts State Police Community Action Team, The Essex County Sheriff’s Department Canine Unit, The US Marshalls, Customs and Immigration Service, Homeland Security, the Methuen Police Department, Alcohol Beverages Control Commission (ABCC), and several other agencies the Valley Patriot could not identify.


IMG_6897Chief Fitzpatrick has ordered an additional shift of uniformed police officers on the street Friday and Saturday nights totaling 12-15 uniformed police officers (including superior officers) on a shift which normally has 4-6 officers on the road on a busy weekend. He also has additional detectives on the road but would not say how many. 

“We started doing impact patrols four days a week, we’ve stepped that up now to five. The impact patrols are to show a presence in areas that we’ve identified with crime analysis, where we have had ‘shots fired’ calls in the recent past … or neighborhoods where we have had a spike in aggravated assaults for example. We are concentrating an additional uniformed presence in those areas and will continue to do so.”

Fitzpatrick says that his department’s has always had a good working collaboration with the FBI, The North Shore Gang Task Force, and other agencies.


Face down in the snow guyDozens of shootings, stabbings, and murders are common to the people who live in Lawrence on any given week. Despite the fact that the Lawrence police constantly tout statistics that crime is on the decline, the frequency and brutality of violent crimes in Lawrence have increased dramatically in the last six months. 

Lawrence has seen a gruesome beheading, several domestic shootings, stabbings, drive by execution shootings, increases in aggravated assaults, and running gun-battles: one, where cars raced through neighborhoods in broad daylight shooting at each other, as they weaved in and out of traffic. Lawrence Police found at least five groups of shell casings (10 – 20 in number) in five different residential neighborhood locations when it was over.

There was also an execution style shooting of a man at Burger King on Broadway in April.

One drive-by murder took place in broad daylight in February when a black car pulled up to a man standing on a snowbank and executed him before speeding off.

On Easter Sunday, 40 year-old Aracelys Valdez Deleon was murdered outside the LaCava Nightclub when Luis Rodriguez fired nine shots into a crowd of people striking DeLeon and a male companion. The companion survived.  The murderer was later arrested in Texas and has yet to be extradited to Massachusetts to be charged with her murder.




The Chief says that a large portion of the violence in Lawrence is because of so many night clubs in such a small area of downtown. “In that one block of Essex St. between Newbury and Jackson Streets and down to the old One Mill Street which is now the nightclub Atticka, we have about 10 nightclubs. When they all get out at once it causes problems.”

“Some people leaving the clubs then drive around the downtown area to show off their cars, or play their music loud, looking for some other activity. Shortly before last call, we are now blocking off Essex Street at that chokepoint. Traffic is allowed to leave, but no cars are let back on that block. With the one way streets, that makes the flow of traffic very different. It keeps the traffic flowing out of the downtown area, and out of the city.”

Fitzpatrick says that with the Attika nightclub capable of holding 1,000 people, and Club Centro capable of holding even more, when all the nightclubs are open at once it creates an environment that invites trouble

 The city of Lawrence’s last call for alcohol is at 2AM while surrounding communities stop serving at 1AM. The result is more people leaving bars and clubs in other communities and coming to Lawrence to drink for an additional hour.

“More people means more problems,” the chief said.

Fitzpatrick says that the number of shots fired and gun calls have been significantly reduced since he called in help from other agencies and beefed up patrols.


“My plan is to keep doing this for the next four to six weeks and really send a message that Lawrence is no longer the place to come and commit crimes, or cause trouble. After that period of time we will evaluate everything again and what I’d like to do is call in the NEMLEC (North East Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, the regional swat team) to help us out this summer. I’m also getting commitments from other law enforcement agencies so we can keep this going.”



Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to

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23 Responses to State, Local, And Federal Cops Take Back The Streets of Lawrence

  1. Henry “sup3rhank” Juliao Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 6:29 AM

    I just want to point out that the clubs in Lawrence are open until 2:00am only on Fridays. Last call is usually at 12:45 with the clubs closing at 1:00am

  2. Nancy Santiago Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 7:48 AM

    I’m very happy to hear that our people the law are taking back our little town I was born and raced in Lawrence now I live in Pennsylvania for 16 years I go visit my family once in a while not every month like before all my family, siblings, daughter, granddaughter cousin ext, still live there my three boys decided to come live here in Pennsylvania do to the lack of violence that are in Lawrence Massachusetts I wish it was like before we can still, leave our doors open, sleep outside in a group now people don’t even want to go to the stores.
    5 stars for you Mr. Fitzpatrick good for you its about time someone really doing and taking back OUR LAWRENCE to make it a better place to live in and safe again….

  3. roger Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 9:02 AM

    Lawrence has become a destination for worst of the worst. What used to be Italian , Irish and French mix community with shops and festivals has now become a community of non respectful children, adults with no morals.

  4. movink2001 Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 11:48 AM

    Lawrence has become a joke the cops never did anything when I was growing up and don’t expect anything different now in the 80s we had the staties in and a riot and plenty of drugs and crime it will not change as long as we have welfare and low life’s running a muck start deporting these scum bags and hire cops that will actually do there job and stop covering for one another if they up held the work in Lawrence live in Lawrence I think that would make a difference
    look at the mayor they have now just as bad as willy he’s out to make a life in politics sanctuary city my behind do your job and make the city better upstanding people work hard and for what have their property values hit rock bottom the streets are dirty and the trash that come to live here are worse than any other city in the state and why is that all the reasons above my family came here in the late 50s and have been here thru a lot bring back the days where you had clean streets and respectful people stop the hand outs and they will leave but we all know that wont happen Rivera and willy would never have gotten elected if they did that

    • Punctuation Police Reply

      May 2, 2017 at 3:02 PM

      I’d like to buy some periods and commas.

  5. Lancer4Life Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    Too many liquor licenses, too many liquor stores, too many “convenient stores”. There needs to be a crackdown on licensing – Hand liquor license acquisition over to the state liquor commission. Just because Lawrence has x amount of licenses to give, doesn’t mean they have give them all out. They should also have to be renewed on a yearly basis, along with a system to track incidents inside, outside or related to establishment.It should be a priveledge to possess it, as these establishment do not bring money to the city, they are the root of the problem in the city. The state lottery should also be limited to x amount of stores as well, these Bodegas are a joke and mostly fronts for illegal welfare skimming, drugs and whatever else rules the night.

  6. Noemi Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 3:00 PM

    I reside in lawrence for the past 17 years. I own my home for the past 9 years. I’m a single mom . I was elated to see all of the men and women in blue and black. It was soothing to feel safe in a town where all you hear of shooting. I’ve had to invest and build a stone and iron fence and own a pit bull. I feel safe in the mist of the violence knowing our men and women are out there. Our mayor is working harder then the previous administration. It’s unfortunate all he gets is ongoing back lash. Regardless who the mayor is it doesnt tske 4 years to undo what was already done. I’m proud of our mayor because he listens and understand the need of our community. Lawrence is a diverse Community, in every community there are definitely problems it’s not as visible because it’s hushed . Lawrence takes the heat because of the Latino residing in lawrence. In every culture and every race you have the less fortunate or the least desired. Lawrence has a bad wrap because of the recent shootings and past domestic violence murders. Your forgetting we have many families working, owning properties, businesses who have worked to put a meal on there table for their families. Not everyone is a “scum bag”. Is it because Latinos make more the 2/3 of the population???

  7. plaistowmember Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 4:27 PM

    Tommy Duggan,
    Nothing has changed since the days your own father patrolled the streets. The Courts don’t put ANYONE away, and until that happens, you have a RESTRAINED Army walking the streets. The police in Lawrence have ALWAYS done their BEST, even with the frustration of continually arresting the same offenders, just to have the Court(s) release them. I have yet to meet a Lawrence District Court Judge who was a resident of Lawrence.

  8. Mav187 Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 6:10 PM

    My friend was killed in Lawrence 2 weeks ago. Ambushed outside of a club. Because dudes hating on him. Fuck lawrence. Bomb that fucking city

    • R Reply

      May 1, 2017 at 11:03 PM

      Killing innocent people helps how?

  9. Tom Duggan

    Tom Duggan Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 6:39 PM

    appreciate everyone’s feedback

    • plaistowmember Reply

      May 3, 2017 at 5:28 PM

      Mr. Duggan….
      WE appreciate your time and effort composing this article and publishing it.

  10. Stacy. Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 7:57 PM

    I grew up in Lawrence and when I living there as a child, we never ever had the problems we hear about now there, violence was never to the point where it is now. My mom and all of us used to sit out on our steps summer nights and not be afraid of drive by shootings or drug dealers. We used to play in the common summer nights with no fear,, I don’t live there anymore but some of my family still does and I constantly pray for their safety and wish they would move, but they still like living there and really can’t afford to move. But I am so saddened to see how bad it is now and the violence and how the streets became a literal dump, and a drug warfare ground. I could say the cause but won’t go there, how sad my town I loved living in, became like a living Hell.

  11. Dmg Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 7:57 PM

    These night clubs are the problem and need to close at midnight this 2 am is not helping the city

  12. Stacy. Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 8:03 PM

    Honestly, if I had my way, I would shut every nightclub down I could because wherever there is a heavy flow of liquor, there is drunkenness and that is such a big effect, I would also get rid of the liquor stores, but even all that, people would still find away to get drunk and get drugs, you see the change has to come from the people within, and the only way a person can changes is if they let God change them, people need to embrace God and allow Him to make that change within them, no one can change on their own no matter how much they try, it all comes down to the fact Lawrence needs to embrace God, like the rest of the wold does.

  13. GROW UP Reply

    May 1, 2017 at 9:23 PM

    Find the perpetrator and lock them up set an example.

  14. Monica Reply

    May 2, 2017 at 3:01 AM

    Instead Of Having Soo Many Nightclubs & Soo Many Liquor Stores They Should Have More Clubs For The Youth Like More Boys Girls Clubs After School Programs So When Kids Come Out Of School They Can Have a Safe Place To GO To & Make It Free Of Charge Cause Like U Said Lawrence Is One Of The Poorest Towns So Most Parents Especially Single Mothers Can’t Afford To Pay For Kids To Play Sports Cause Nothing Is Free & They Should Have Free Sports Programs For The Poor Kids & Maybe Like That Kids Will Have Motivation To play Sports Instead Of Running The Streets As soon as They are Dismiss From School that’s What This Town Needs Not All those Night clubs & All those liquor Stores That Are Ruining Our Youth It’s Sad But True!!

  15. jennifer imperato Reply

    May 2, 2017 at 7:29 AM

    well said Monica! Lawrence is such a beautiful old city….or was… its like NYC was/every want a bite of the big apple/ dont mind the maggots/ stop the freebies!!!!

  16. Paul Reply

    May 2, 2017 at 7:32 AM

    Stop the heroin , screw the drunks , child for a child will stop it , maybe ICE !

  17. AshG Reply

    May 2, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    It’s a mix of substance abuse & poverty. Law enforcement sounds very involved which makes me happy for the children who can’t even leave their homes at night. There needs some kind of stability & more role models. Hate & anger that are leading to harsh murder leave the children of Lawrence with anger & the cycle will continue if surrounding towns don’t step up. With all the media this city warrants for programs for the children where they can have fun , be educated & learn right from wrong. It also puzzles me that there is racism against Puerto Ricans & domincan republic origin on each other within their own city. The pride & stubborn mentalities all root from hate. I’m glad people are opening their eyes. I am praying for peace & healing within the city. I am also praying for the children who have to live in these conditions.

  18. Chowieles Reply

    May 2, 2017 at 5:04 PM

    Close all those dam clubs. Do a house to house sweep.

  19. Matthew Smith Reply

    May 2, 2017 at 7:07 PM

    Liars..Your disgusting city is the Heroin capital of the Northeast..all these clubs you Tout as your problem..all lies..the fancy cars they driving..what do you think affords them the money to support these things. Your city is over run with people who want to live off the taxpayer and sling dope on the side.Anyone who says otherwise is a liar..

  20. Donna Reply

    May 2, 2017 at 8:21 PM

    And much of the problems and issues of Lawrence are coming outside your city robbing, using guns selling drugs into surrounding towns. Just read a hefty police log in surrounding towns daily listing of residents of Lawrence and Riviera tells the press Ice don’t know shit can’t do shit. Ya he’s a real class Mayor. He the Joke, he likes the garbage taking over there.

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