The city saw a dramatic decline in fires in 2020, and criminal activity also dropped off during the pandemic year.
According to data provided to The Breeze in response to requests, there were 290 total fires in 2019 and 179 fires in 2020, including mutual aid assistance to surrounding communities, or a 38 percent drop.
On the police side, there were 398 offense reports in 2019 and 355 offense reports in 2020, or a drop of 44. Arrest reports with no associated offense reports saw a larger decline, from 445 to 381.
Fire Chief William Sisson said he’s not sure why there were so many fewer fires last year, but suggested that it could be related to more people being at home and paying better attention to their surroundings.
Police Chief Tina Goncalves, also the city’s public safety director, said crime in many categories was down for the same general reasons in 2020, with certain types of offenses typically connected to people being away from home seeing the sharpest drop.