WAKEFIELD — The severe cold and snow of this past winter cast a black cloud over the Northeast but there was a silver lining — crime dropped in Wakefield.

Wakefield Police Chief Rick Smith said that, generally speaking, crime is down here.

“We have a 58 percent drop with aggravated assaults dropping 35 percent, burglary dropping 13 percent and larcenies off by 72 percent,” he said.

Chief Smith pointed out that there are many reasons for this but mostly the year-to-date totals were due to the snowy winter season.

“Heavy snow is our friend,” said Smith. “Crime drops because it is so difficult to get around — escape — and evidence is readily attainable (footprints in the snow) and, quite frankly, the perpetrators go somewhere less challenging, one that is an easier target.”

But criminals have found other ways to steal from unsuspecting people and commit fraud and forgery. Since the beginning of the year, 37 calls were made to police concerning this type of crime. Thieves have found ways to hack people’s private information and file taxes with the Internal Revenue Service in their name, shop online using someone’s credit and debit card information and pay bills. The old truism, “where there’s a will, there’s a way” has never been more true.

Other than advising people to take extreme measures to protect their private information, Wakefield’s police officers are limited in preventing thieves from stealing personal information. But they have been “very aggressive” in patrolling the town and making sure things are in order, said Smith.

“Motor vehicle stops help reduce the number of property crimes,” he commented. “If we elevate the risk of getting caught, the hardened target becomes less attractive.”

As a whole, crime is trending down. With the advent of professional policing, a change in strategies of using and partnering with the community, target hardening, video surveillance and other means of support, such as active patrol procedures, crime has, indeed, dropped.

The policing strategy is first and foremost, said Smith.

“We interact with the community, starting with the schools,” he said.

Juvenile crime also has diminished and Smith said he is proud to say this is due to the School Resource Officer program.

“We work closely with District Attorney Marian Ryan to reduce domestic violence and we also partner with WAAV (Wakefield Alliance Against Violence), the WAKE-UP coalition and other town groups,” he said.

The Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team approach also has reduced needs for those services.

“Crime is down but calls for service are up. This, coupled with a 14 percent decrease in arrests, tells me that our officers are going a great job of de-escalation on the street while conducting their patrol activities,” he said.

On another matter involving police, motor vehicle accidents are up this year and the cause, again, is the weather. With the road conditions, huge snowfall amounts and other factors, accidents have risen dramatically.

“For the first three months in 2014, we had 169 accidents compared with 208 for the same period this year,” said Wakefield’s Police Chief.

Even so, Smith had other good news to report. Heroin overdoses have dropped in the current year. Currently, there have been eight overdoses and only one of them was fatal.