Though violent crime is declining statewide and nationally, it continues to rise in Berkshire County's two cities.

The Berkshire Eagle reports, for the second year in a row, North Adams and Pittsfield rank among the cities and the towns with the highest violent crime rate in Massachusetts, according to federal data.

North Adams had the highest violent crime rate in Massachusetts in 2017, while Pittsfield's was the fifth-highest, according to new figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in September.

North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard described the report as "disappointing, but not surprising" given the city's historical crime rate.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The North Adams Police Department has undertaken new efforts that Mayor Bernard hopes will begin to lower the crime rate in the coming years.

North Adams Police Director Michael Cozzaglio said the community struggles with mental health issues and addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Property crimes reported in North Adams — which include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson — actually dropped notably in 2017, from 433 to 399. In

Pittsfield, property crimes rose from 1,016 to 1,092.

In terms of crime statistics, both North Adams and Pittsfield are negatively impacted by their declining populations. As the overall population decreases, the violent crime rate increases — even if the actual number of violent crimes stays the same.

In North Adams, the population dropped from 13,162 in 2016 to 12,948 in 2017, a decline of 1.6 percent.

The population saw a similar dip in Pittsfield, from 43,031 in 2016 to 42,546 in 2017. Despite the relatively high crime rate, Bernard maintains North Adams is a safe city, a sentiment that Cozzaglio emphatically echoed.

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