30 Percent Surge in Murders Across the Country, Seacoast Safer
The FBI’s crime statistics for 2020 released this week show a 30 percent surge in murders across the country, and though New Hampshire’s totals have gone down, the Seacoast region accounts for a quarter of the state's homicides.
Overall, New Hampshire is relatively safe, according to the crime reporting published by the FBI.
According to the data, there were 6.5 murders per 100,000 people nationally. In New Hampshire, though, that statistic came in at 0.9 per 100,000, or 12 murders for all of 2020. That mostly bears out throughout the Seacoast regions, as well.
“Fortunately, at least in Portsmouth, there hasn’t been a rise in violent crimes, (like murder,)” said Portsmouth Police Chief Mark Newport.
The FBI uses data collected from 193 New Hampshire law enforcement agencies, covering 96 percent of the state’s population.
Still, despite the relative calm, the Seacoast region saw its fair share of homicides in 2020. Of the 12 reported murders in the state, there was one in Rochester, one in Dover, and one more in Stratham.
The murder of 19-year-old Michael Mowry in Rochester is still unsolved. Mowry was found shot in the neck in his apartment at 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 30. No arrests have been made in the case.
Earlier that same month, on Aug 10, Amy Molter, 46, was reported missing in Dover.
The next day, Dover police officers entered the home of Molter's ex-boyfriend, Rudy Ferretti, 41. There they found Molter and Ferretti dead from gunshot wounds. The subsequent autopsy revealed Molter was murdered by Ferretti, who then committed suicide, according to a statement from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.
Newport said domestic violence cases have gone up substantially in the last year.
“There has definitely been an uptick in domestic violence as relationships have been strained because of the COVID-19 lockdowns,” Newport said.
In February of 2021, police arrested Maine resident Robert Pavo, 20, for the Stratham stabbing murder of Catherine Heppner, 46. Pavo is charged with second-degree murder.