Youth crime was down in Warren in 2023, but theft-related offenses spike

By Ethan Hartley
Posted 1/24/24

In total, Warren police logged reports of 445 “Group A” offenses in 2023 — which cover everything from motor vehicle thefts, assaults, and burglaries, to vandalism and illegal gambling — as opposed to 429 such offenses in 2022 (a 3.7% increase).

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Youth crime was down in Warren in 2023, but theft-related offenses spike


Crime data logged and tracked by Rhode Island Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, categorized by the Rhode Island State Police, showed that crime, overall, was up in Warren in 2023 when compared to 2022, but only slightly.

In total, Warren police logged reports of 445 “Group A” offenses in 2023 — which cover everything from motor vehicle thefts, assaults, and burglaries, to vandalism and illegal gambling — as opposed to 429 such offenses in 2022 (a 3.7% increase).

Of those crimes, 123 resulted in arrests in 2023, the vast majority of which came from simple assaults (54 arrests). That number is actually down from 2022, where 141 Group A offenses resulted in arrests.

The total number of “Group B” offenses leading to arrests, which includes crimes such as trespassing, liquor law violations, and DUIs, went up from 147 in 2022, to 152 arrests in 2023.

All told, the number of total arrests in Warren went down over last year, from 288 in 2022, to 275 in 2023.

Warren Police Lieutenant Christopher Perreault said that the arrest numbers for 2023 might be subject to a new variable, however.

“Up until 2023, suspended licenses were civil offenses, which were heard at District Court. Because of this, each time someone was stopped for a suspended license, an arrest number was taken by our department. In 2023, the only time an arrest number would be taken for a suspended license is if it was a fourth or subsequent offense, which would only then make it a criminal matter. Otherwise, first through third offenses are heard at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal, where speeding tickets, unregistered vehicles, etc. are heard,” he said in an email. “Due to this change in categorizing of suspended license cases, I believe the drop in 11 arrest cases is deceiving.”

Crime among youngest demographic drops significantly
Last year, we chronicled a concerning increase in the number of young people aged 11-15 years old who had been arrested in 2022. The data from 2023 shows a significant decrease in that count, from 43 such arrests in 2022 to just 18 in 2023. However, the number of 16-20-year-olds arrested for various offenses remained steady, from 47 in 2022 to 44 in 2023.

Also included in last year’s report was a look at how many criminal offenses occurred on school grounds (while also noting that these crimes did not necessarily occur during school hours nor did they lead to an arrest). That number also dropped, from 44 offenses in 2022 to 25 in 2023.

Crimes against people down, but crimes against property up
Some good news was that crimes committed by people against other people went down, from 174 in 2022, to 159 in 2023.

However, that corresponds with a significant spike in crime activity against property, which increased by around 18.5% between 2022 and 2023 (211 incidents last year, versus 250 incidents in 2023).

In general, theft-related crimes were up in big numbers across the board in 2023.

There are several different theft-related offenses. For our count, we grouped together robbery, burglary, general larceny, motor vehicle theft, counterfeiting/forgery, fraud, embezzlement, and miscellaneous reports of stolen property.

In 2022, there were 120 such crimes. In 2023, that shot up 35% to 162, which approaches the highest numbers since these records began to be catalogued in 2017 (see the chart for more details). Incidents of fraud also jumped significantly, from 19 incidents in 2022 to 35 in 2023 (an 84% increase).

Included within those numbers was also a 100% spike in vehicle thefts. In 2023, there were 14 reports of stolen vehicles compared to 7 such reports in 2022. Lt. Perreault said that while car thefts had increased, the hot crime of recent times — stealing catalytic converters from underneath parked cars — had all but stopped since an FBI raid took place at a Providence facility last year.

DUIs on the rise
Over half of the 137 arrests from the Group B category could be attributed to driving while under the influence in 2023. There were 73 people arrested for DUI in 2023, including one juvenile. That amounts to a 46% overall increase in the number of DUIs from 2022, where 50 out of 147 people arrested on Group B offenses were charged with driving while under the influence.

When asked about the higher DUI numbers this year, Lt. Perreault said that more officers in the department had taken advantage of multiple types of grant-funded training opportunities to be better equipped to identify and remove intoxicated drivers from the road.

“We’re also at full staff, which allows us to keep more officers on the road than we were in past years when we were shorthanded,” he added. “Warren is known for being very proactive when it comes to substance abuse and operating a vehicle while impaired. Whether it’s drugs or alcohol, we’re proactive in enforcing that.”

2024 by East Bay Media Group

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.