hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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April 3, 2014

Last week in Haverhill

Police turn to software to battle crime

HAVERHILL — Call it the police department’s crystal ball.

Police in Haverhill have started using a relatively new cloud-based crime prediction program that forecasts when and where crimes are likely to occur. Called Predictive Policing, or “PredPol,” is just getting its start in Haverhill, though the software is already in use in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Seattle.

“We want to go where we think crime will be so we can stop it,” police Chief Alan DeNaro said.

With fewer officers than comparably sized communities, police say they need to use every available tool to work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

DeNaro said his department used about $30,000 in drug crime forfeiture money to pay for one year’s use of PredPol. After that, it will cost the department about $25,000 annually.

“If I wasn’t confident that this will help the city I would not invest in it,” DeNaro said. “It will help us use our limited resources more efficiently.”

Mike LaBella

‘Massive credit card counterfeiting’ scheme uncovered

HAVERHILL — A man who used stolen credit card information to purchase $117 in food from a McDonalds in the city, has ended up being arrested and held on $100,000 cash bail for his alleged part in a “massive credit card counterfeiting” scheme, according to police.

Vincent Leo, 36, of 44 Sarah J Circle, who was arrested March 21, also used the stolen credit card information to purchase $41 in goods from a Cumberland Farms, police said. He tried to buy $435 in goods from a Walgreens store, but the transaction was denied.

Police said he was finally caught after using a cloned credit card with a Waltham woman’s information to purchase a rescue knife along with a safety vest and jacket from a police supply store in the city.

Store surveillance video led police to Leo. When police searched his home, they uncovered what the Essex County District Attorney’s Office referred to as a “massive credit card counterfeiting” scheme in support of their request to have Leo held on $100,000 cash bail.

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