Crime in Rhode Island

This article refers to crime in the U.S. state of Rhode Island.

State statistics

In 2014 there were 25,248 crimes reported, including 25 murders.[1]

Capital punishment laws

Capital punishment is not applied in this state.[2]


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Bonded Vault heist

The Bonded Vault heist was the August 1975 robbery of the Bonded Vault Company, a commercial safe-deposit business occupying a vault inside Hudson Fur Storage in Providence, Rhode Island. It served as the unofficial "bank" used by the Patriarca crime family and associates. The stolen valuables were worth about $30 million (equivalent to $139.7 million in 2018). According to The Providence Journal, it was among the biggest heists in US history and resulted in the longest and costliest criminal trial in Rhode Island history.

Capital punishment in Rhode Island

Rhode Island was one of the earliest states in the United States to abolish capital punishment, having abolished it for all crimes in 1852. The death penalty was reintroduced in 1872, but it was never carried out before being abolished again in 1984. Of all the states, Rhode Island has had the longest period with no executions, none having taken place since 1845.

Rhode Island performed 52 executions from 1673 to February 13, 1845, but only seven took place after statehood. Half of the executions occurred on July 19, 1723, when 26 sailors were hanged for piracy. Rhode Island has never executed a female offender.Hanging was the most commonly used form of execution; five executions were carried out by an unknown method. Gas inhalation was authorized after 1973, but it was never used. Rhode Island is the only state to have adopted that method and not used it.

Craig Price (murderer)

Craig Chandler Price (born October 11, 1973) is an American serial killer who committed his crimes in Warwick, Rhode Island between the ages of 13 and 15. He was arrested in 1989 for four murders committed in his neighborhood: a woman and her two daughters that year, and the murder of another woman two years earlier. He had an existing criminal record for petty theft.Price calmly confessed to his crimes after he was discovered. He was arrested a month before his 16th birthday and was tried and convicted as a minor. By law, this meant that he would be released and his criminal records sealed as soon as he turned 21, and Price bragged that he would "make history" when he was released. The case led to changes in state law to allow juveniles to be tried as adults for serious crimes, but these could not be applied retroactively to Price. Rhode Island residents formed the group Citizens Opposed to the Release of Craig Price to lobby for his continued imprisonment, due to the brutality of his crimes and the opinion of state psychologists that he was a poor candidate for rehabilitation.

During his incarceration, Price has been charged with a number of additional crimes, including criminal contempt for refusing a psychological evaluation, extortion for threatening a corrections officer, assault, and violation of probation for fights while in prison. He was sentenced to an additional 10–25 years, depending on his cooperation with treatment.

Rhode Island banking crisis

The Rhode Island banking crisis took place in the early 1990s, when approximately a third of the state of Rhode Island's population lost access to funds in their bank accounts. When a Providence bank, Heritage Loan & Investment, failed due to long-term embezzlement by its president, Joseph Mollicone, Jr., it triggered the collapse of the Rhode Island Share and Deposit Indemnity Corporation (RISDIC). RISDIC was a state-chartered private insurer which for years continued to increase its risk, despite warnings, with insufficient oversight. Its collapse led Governor Bruce Sundlun to close the 45 credit unions and banks it insured just hours after his inauguration.

In the first banking emergency in the state since the Great Depression, 300,000 depositors lost access to their money. Though some of the institutions reopened relatively quickly after obtaining federal insurance, many could not and remained closed for an extended period of time. The state government set up an agency to manage the crisis, selling $697 million in bonds to repay people while filing about 300 lawsuits against the closed institutions and other companies that played a role in the crisis.

The shutdown sparked demonstrations and protests. Corruption hearings added to public frustration, when several executives and public officials were called to testify about their last minute withdrawals from banks just before their closure. The manhunt for Mollicone, who had fled to Utah, took nearly 18 months before he turned himself in. He was convicted, and given what at that time was the state's most severe sentence for a "white collar" offense.

Though everyone was eventually repaid, most had to wait months or years for compensation. Most of the big banks remained closed after the first year, and several never reopened.

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