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City sees drop in crime in January

Boston’s homicide rate is trending again, but this time it’s trending down.

Boston’s homicide rate is trending again, but this time it’s trending down.

After a spike in homicides last year that brought the total to a four-year high, community members are relieved to be experiencing the recent quell in violence.

As of press time yesterday, the city had recorded just one homicide this year. The last homicide before that was Dec. 16.

Overall crime in categories including rape, larceny and assault is also down to start the year.

“Boston police have been putting a significant amount of impact players behind bars. Strategic and targeted enforcement in addition to sustained community policing efforts and high police visibility continue to have a positive impact on the overall crime stats,” said Elaine Driscoll, a Boston Police spokeswoman.

She added that the foul winter weather could also be a contributing factor and community leaders and academics agreed.

Besides the weather, Rev. Jeffrey Brown of the TenPoint Coalition credited a message of peace and a changing attitude, particularly among youths, with the early drop. He also said many youths are becoming upset and scared by the “out-of-control nature of violence” and pointed to last year’s shootings of a 2-year-old and his mother and another woman with an AK-47 assault rifle.

“I’ve talked to a lot of guys on the street, and even they’re nervous about the violence and character of it,” Brown said.

Boston University professor of criminal justice Tom Nolan, a former Boston police lieutenant, said the weather has kept people indoors rather than in the streets committing crimes — but he added that a dip can change back to a spike.

“I don’t think we should draw any conclusions about what’s going to go on the rest of the year,” he said. “We can certainly hope, but particularly after we saw that sharp spike in homicides last year, I wouldn’t draw any definitive conclusions based on the last five or six weeks.”

 
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