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LYNNFIELD (CBS) — A man and his stepson are facing charges after a month-long investigation into the vandalism and theft of multiple Black Lives Matter signs in Lynnfield. Stephen Smith, 55, and Joshua Simpson, 21, were arraigned Tuesday.

According to the Essex District Attorney’s Office, police responded to a Summer Street home on Aug.

17 and found an obscenity spray-painted on the driveway directed at the home’s Black Lives Matter sign. The homeowner said the sign had been stolen the night before as well.

“Since then, police have responded to and investigated a series of acts of vandalism and property destruction at the same home including an obscenity spray-painted on a tree, several stolen Black Lives Matter signs, and eggs and tomatoes thrown at the residence,” said a statement from the D.A. “Early this morning while conducting surveillance of the residence, Lynnfield Police officers observed an individual, later identified as Mr. Simpson, approaching the residence with a carton of eggs.”

A struggle between police and Simpson followed. Shortly after, Smith drove by and allegedly tried to run officers over.

Smith pleaded not guilty to operating under the influence of alcohol, 3 counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, property damage to intimidate, and assault to murder. He is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on Sept. 21.

Simpson pleaded not guilty to malicious destruction of property, two counts of larceny under $1200, vandalizing property, resisting arrest, property damage to intimidate, and criminal harassment. A judge set bail at $750 on the conditions he has no contact with all victims and witnesses, stay 1,000 feet away from victim’s home and refrain from drinking alcohol. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Sept 30.

“As members of the Board of Selectmen and citizens of our great community we are so pleased and thankful that arrests were made last night by the Lynnfield Police Department in connection with several criminal racist acts and vandalism targeting Lynnfield families and property. The charges against these suspects could not be more serious and it is our most sincere hope that justice is served and these suspects are held fully accountable. We continue to stand, hand in hand, with our neighbors that have been victims of hate and discrimination and it is our hope that these arrests bring some comfort,” said a statement from the Lynnfield Board of Selectmen. “We are thankful that these individuals are off our streets but this is not the end…now is a time for all to reaffirm publicly that racism and hate have no place in our community and an incident targeting one neighbor is an attack on all of us and the Lynnfield community values we hold dear.”

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FBI: Violent Crime Down in 2019

Violent crime in the United States decreased in 2019, according to FBI statistics released today.

Compared to 2018, violent crime fell 0.5%, according to an FBI news release. Property crime also fell by 4.1%, marking the 17th straight year of declines, the FBI said.

In 2019, there were 366.7 violent crimes per 100,000 people and 2,109.9 property crimes per 100,000 people.

A deeper look at the data reveals some types of violent crimes did increase.  Aggravated assault rose by 1.3% from 2018, and murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rose 0.3%. Robberies were down 4.7%.

The FBI said there were 6,925,677 property crimes in the U.S. in 2019. Burglaries dropped 9.5% compared to 2018, and motor vehicle theft fell 4%. The FBI estimates the total cost of property crimes, excluding arson, was $15.8 billion in 2019.

During 2019, there were 10.1 million arrests, excluding traffic violations.

The FBI statistics were compiled using data from law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the agency’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. The FBI said that 18,667 federal, state, county, city, university and college and tribal agencies are eligible to participate in the UCR Program, and 16,554 of those agencies submitted data.

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