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A political action committee backing Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo for governor is leveling a series of attacks against one of her opponents in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, Angel Taveras, mayor of Providence.
In a four-page pamphlet mailed to voters by the American LeadHERship PAC, one of the attacks focused on crime, noting that, under Taveras, there had been cuts to the police budget and the size of the force had fallen to its lowest number in years.
Then came this claim: "There have been at least 100 shootings each year Taveras has been mayor." (The claim was repeated in large print in a subsequent mailing.)
PolitiFact Rhode Island last examined Providence's crime statistics in a July 24, 2014 item after Taveras said, "If you look at what we’ve done over the last several years, the crime rate has actually gone down in [Providence] and . . . the number of shootings has been going down."
We ruled the mayor’s claim Half True because the trends weren't that clear-cut. For example, the crime rate actually ticked up during his first year in office, only to subsequently come down.
For this fact check we will review the statistics on the number of people shot in the city. (Police do not tally the number of reports of shots being fired, a statistic the city doesn't keep because it can be impossible to tell the difference between a gun going off and fireworks, for example.
The LeadHERship pamphlet cites a July 26, 2014, story in The Providence Journal that refers to "a constant drumbeat of violence in the capital city over the past three years with more than 100 shootings annually." That covers 2011-2013.
And what about 2014?
When we emailed American LeadHERship PAC founder Kate Coyne-McCoy to find out if the total had reach 100 for 2014, she referred us to our July 24 PolitiFact item, which reported 61 shootings through July 12, 2014. The total was 69 as of this writing, so it could hit 100 by year's end, but it's not even close to that yet.
So the number of shootings has not hit 100 for "each year" of the Taveras administration.
The LeadHERship statement also ignores some significant context: The number of shootings, which peaked at 108 in 2011, declined in the subsequent two years of Taveras' tenure, dropping to 105 in 2012 and 100 in 2013.
Before Taveras took office, the numbers were lower but steadily increasing. The annual total was 47 shootings in 2006 (during the tenure of his predecessor, David Cicilline), 58 in 2007, 77 in 2008, 86 in 2009, and 90 in 2010, Cicilline's final year, before jumping sharply to 108 during Taveras' first year.
Because the statement is mostly accurate but ignores important context, we rate it Mostly True.
Emails, Kate Coyne-McCoy, founder, American LeadHERship PAC, Aug. 27, 2014
PolitiFact.com, "Mayor Angel Taveras says crime rate, shootings have decreased in Providence," July 24, 2014
ProvidenceJournal.com, "Deadly mix of feuds, joblessness and guns on Providence’s mean streets," July 26, 2014
Interview, Steven Pare, Providence public safety commissioner, Aug. 28, 2014
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