The police chief in Lawrence, Massachusetts, held an emergency meeting Monday in response to a string of violent crimes in the city.
Chief James Fitzpatrick said the meeting involving his operational captains and representatives from the Massachusetts State Police Crime Prevention and Control comes after 10 incidents so far in April where shots were fired.
"This is an unusually high number of calls for services involving this type of activity," Fitzpatrick said.
He said his department has taken steps to curb the violence, but they have not had a lasting effect.
"We need to get everyone in the room and reevaluate our tactics. Although we have made arrests for some of these crimes and have identified a suspect in the most recent homicide, we need to do better," Fitzpatrick said.
He's also asking for a special federal prosecutor to focus on Lawrence gun crime to scare gun-toting criminals.
"These felons in possessions of firearms can face much stiffer sentences at the federal level than we can give them at the state level." said Fitzpatrick.
Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera also issued a statement Monday on the recent spate of shootings.
"On the holiest of days we experienced yet another shooting and homicide in our City," he said. "This incident makes it 9 shootings in 6 days and 2 homicides in 3 days for a total of 6 homicides for the year... These facts are both alarming and a trend that is unacceptable."
Two people were shot and killed and a third person injured in two separate shootings in Lawrence over the weekend. The first shooting occurred early Saturday morning near a Burger King on Broadway and Concord Street. The second was around 8 p.m. across the street from La Cava Bar on Union Street.
Police said they believe much of the recent violence is related to drug sales and domestic violence.
Rivera specifically cited the ongoing opioid crisis, the proliferation of illegal guns and "Out of towners acting out in Lawrence."
Lawrence police have already increased their presence in areas where violence is known to occur - bars, clubs, restaurants and neighborhood parties - four nights a week and are planning to add a fifth night given the recent spate of violence. In addition, Fitzpatrick said the Essex County Sheriff's Department will be providing additional resources in the coming weeks in the form of two full-time sheriff's deputies to help capture some of the city's most violent fugitives.
Rattled residents are hoping to see some improvement from the surge in violence.
"It’s worrisome for citizens of Lawrence that when the sun goes down, you stay inside," said long-time resident Arlene Garcia. "We might as well have, you know, a curfew."
Rivera said Fitzpatrick is also calling for a special prosecutor to oversee all serious violent crimes committed in Lawrence. And the mayor said he plans to work with the City Council to determine if the city needs to hire additional police officers, and to require any liquor-selling establishment with a DJ or live entertainment that is open past midnight to have a detail from dusk to close.
"Chief Fitzpatrick and I and the men and women of the Lawrence Police Department have been hard at work dealing with the increase in violence, the immediate crimes and also how to be more proactive," Rivera said. "There is nothing easy about these problems nor are there any easy solutions."