City’s 7th murder of year triggers alarm

Six days after the city launched weekly police briefings to keep citizens current on matters including recent murders, a seventh person died from violence in 2017.

At about 10 p.m. Monday, 31-year-old Arthur William Smith Jr. of the 800 block of Gettysburg Avenue, was shot to death there, bringing this year’s number of murders to seven.

At the second police briefing on Tuesday, Capt. Rich Kaiser called the number of murders “very alarming.”

“Our detectives, our police officers, are working diligently to attempt to solve this crime … as well as the crimes that have occurred over the last several months. There is no immediate threat to anybody from that immediate neighborhood from that incident,” he said about Smith’s murder.

Police, he said are “working closely with allied law enforcement agencies,” to solve the case.

Minutes after the briefing, Maryland State Police issued a news release stating Smith, who was found lying on the ground in a front yard on Gettysburg Street, died on the way to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Two or more people were involved in his death, police said.

The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit is leading the investigation and determining if Smith was the intended target, police said.

Also at the Salisbury Police briefing, Kaiser addressed a crime trend in the northeast quadrant of the city, which includes the Liberty Street and Doverdale neighborhoods.

Since mid-July, there have been 16 thefts from buildings and cars left unlocked, he said.

“We’re experiencing calls that equipment, like lawn equipment being stored outside has been stolen. Bicycles left unsecured outside are being stolen. Loose change, electronics, wallets are being stolen from those vehicles,” he said.

He urged residents to register bicycles with police, take photographs of their items such as lawn and garden equipment, and to lock their cars.

Some property has been returned “as a result of one juvenile being charged and we’re seeking charges on an additional juvenile in the area,” Kaiser said.

The motive appears to be selling stolen property on line, he said, so buyers should be careful to deal only with adults.

Police Chief Barbara Duncan said the goal of the weekly city briefings is “to reduce crime.”

“Any time you can work more closely with the public, to work collectively on problems, it’s a good idea. We are looking for connectivity with the public,” she said.

Briefings are at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays in the conference room at the Police station. They can also be seen live on the Police Department’s Periscope channel or the City’s Facebook page.

Mayor Jake Day, in a news release, stated that access to “accurate, relevant information is key to helping people feel safe in their communities.”

“We have always striven for transparency—whether by leading the way as one of the first agencies to voluntarily embrace body camera technology, or by having the chief of police and other city leaders meet with stakeholders in neighborhoods throughout Salisbury—our goal has been cooperation and the open sharing of information,” he stated.

“Now we are ready to lead once again, as we become one of the first municipalities to establish this sort of interactive dialogue with our citizens over live stream,” the mayor stated.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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