New Hampshire governor creates crime commission

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Keeping a promise to do more to fight crime, Gov. John Lynch signed an executive order on Thursday creating a crime commission to review the state’s laws and recommend changes.

Lynch named Attorney General Kelly Ayotte to head the 19-member panel which is to report back to him by the end of the year.

“New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the nation,” Lynch said. “We must continue to work together to keep it that way, and to ensure that all of our citizens and our visitors feel safe and secure in our communities.”

The commission will review existing laws, assess crime prevention efforts, look at intelligence gathering and sharing among different agencies and evaluate the resources the state uses in combating crime.

Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs was shot Oct. 16 while investigating a domestic disturbance and died a day later. Michael Addison, 26, has been charged with capital murder in Briggs’ death.

After Briggs’ death, Lynch temporarily assigned four state troopers, a six-member drug enforcement team and four liquor enforcement officers to Manchester to beef up crime-fighting.

The state also pledged $132,000 in federal Streetsweeper funding to pay for 450 overtime shifts for patrols in high-risk areas by city police and state troopers.

Thursday, Lynch said subsequent meetings by state and local officials pointed to the need for a comprehensive, long-term strategy in addition to the extra help provided to Manchester.

“We all have a role in keeping our communities safe,” Lynch said. “As a state, we must ensure that our laws and policies are as effective as possible in preventing crime; that communities and state agencies are communicating and cooperating; and that we are giving our men and women on the front lines the tools they need to better allow them to do their jobs.”

Ayotte noted that a new law increasing penalties for child sexual predators was the result of a similar collaborative effort.

“No one person or agency can address this problem alone,” she said.

Identifying priorities will be the commission’s first task, she said.

Lynch said he will propose legislation separately to stiffen penalties for people who use the Internet to prey on children.

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