boston police downtown crossing officer Boston police in Downtown Crossing.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki, Metro

Despite a downturn in overall crime and homicides in Boston last year, the number of reported robberies and attempted robberies in Boston's downtown area rose by nearly 40 percent.

Overall, violent crime in Boston dropped about 5 percent in 2013 compared to 2012, and homicides, which numbered 40, hit a 10-year low, according to Boston police and federal crime statistics. However, robberies and attempted robberies in the city's downtown area went against the trend and rose by 40 percent.

In police district A-1, which includes much of downtown Boston from the North End to the Public Garden, robberies and attempted robberies increased from 184 in 2012 to 257 last year, according to police data.

 

What's more, while the new year is only two weeks old, preliminary police data shows that the number of robberies and attempted robberies downtown is so far keeping pace with last year's total. Through Jan. 12, there have been seven robberies in downtown Boston, the same total at that point last year.

One of those incidents include the robbery of a man leaving a Downtown Crossing electronics store on Sunday. The man told police he was followed by a man that was also inside the Winter Street store. Once outside the store, the robber pulled out a gun and took the victim's money. A person matching a description of the robber was seen by state police walking through the Public Garden, was arrested and charged with armed robbery, police said.

While the most recent robbery took place in Downtown Crossing, the Business Improvement District, which works to transform a 34-block area of downtown Boston, said last year's increase in robberies was primarily outside of that area.

Rosemarie Sansone, president of the BID, said the group's ambassadors serve as a crime deterrent.

"The Downtown Boston BID’s ambassador program provides an essential service by providing another layer of eyes and ears to the Boston police," Sansone said. "We are also working with the police in educating the public about their personal safety when carrying electronic devices, and making sure people do not leave these devices in their parked cars."

Downtown Boston wasn't the only area to experience an uptick in certain crimes last year.

In the police department's D-4 district, which includes the Back Bay, South End and Kenmore neighborhoods, vehicle thefts and attempted car thefts increased by about 51 percent from 157 in 2012 to 238 last year.

In the police district that includes Roxbury, burglaries and attempted burglaries increased 14 percent from 439 in 2012 to 499 last year.

Citywide, nonfatal shootings also increased to 218 from 207 in 2012.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.

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