Hampden Co. DA listens to concerns over local crime - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Hampden Co. DA listens to concerns over local crime

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Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni led a tour in the North End to listen to concerns over crime.

There's been a lot of talk lately about repealing mandatory minimum drug sentences in Massachusetts.

District attorneys oppose any changes saying mandatory minimum sentences are an important tool for law enforcement.

Friday, district attorney Anthony Gulluni heard from the people on the subject.

Gulluni was joined by local state senators as well as Senator William Brownsberger, chair of the state legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

They toured areas of the city like the North End to see how they've changed as a result of street violence and drug dealing.

One of the stops was to New World Travel Adventure and they got an earful on how crime is impacting local businesses

"The kids with the guns, violence. Look at all the shootings in Springfield as we speak," said Doreen Coakley Rodriguez.

Coakley Rodriguez said it's not only gun violence, but the dangers of drugs that are taking young lives.

"It's heroin. Our kids are dropping dead. One of my sons just lost a best friend ... 34 years old," Coakley Rodriguez added.

Coakley Rodriquez said she's fortunate. Her business has escaped the violence, noting that police are doing a good job trying to keep the community safe. She sees the crime problem growing across the city and would like to see major drug dealers taken off the streets.

Gulluni said he and other DAs are doing their best to keep those major drug traffickers behind bars. They are opposed to any proposed changes in mandatory minimum sentences for those drug dealers.

"The folks who are committing violent offenses and folks trafficking in drugs are those exposed to mandatory minimums and I think that's an important tool we need for law enforcement in Hamdpen County," said Gulluni.

Gulluni points out that they're not out to imprison addicts because they need help. It's the drug traffickers they want to keep behind bars.

The debate on Beacon Hill over repealing mandatory minimum sentencing for drug dealers goes on.

Unlike the district attorneys, those favoring the repeal of mandatory sentencing say it has not had a meaningful impact on overall crime rates.

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