Boston's summer violence prevention effort includes more cops, more outreach
Boston officials unveiled plans Thursday that they hope will combat summer violence that typically increases during the warmest months.
Citing the typical spike in violence each summer, Boston officials said they are doing more this year to try to get ahead of crimes before they happen.
This year's effort includes flashlight walks in neighborhoods, more police officers on bicycle and walking patrols and enhancing the city's surveillance cameras.
City health experts, neighborhood leaders and police officials joined Mayor Thomas Menino Thursday to discuss the city's summer violence prevention efforts, which begin next week with a door-knocking effort to make people aware of events, programming and jobs for kids.
The summer is "also a time when some take the opportunity to settle scores or seek to do harm to others as a way of making their mark," Menino said. "I've directed my summer safety team to do more this year. We'll be more proactive, more visible and more available to the public than ever before."
Besides the typical summer jobs program, which this year put 10,000 young people to work, the city is launching a new flashlight walk program. The program brings residents out together in their neighborhoods in the evenings.
Also, a new class of Boston Police officers will graduate this summer and 55 new officers will be assigned to the Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester neighborhoods. There will be new walking beats in hot spot areas including along Harvard Avenue. A safe street team of police officers will also be assigned to walk Newbury Street to curb shoplifting, car break-ins and panhandling, which has been a big complaint from the Back Bay neighborhood association, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.
The city will also work to sync its surveillance cameras so that any camera within 1,000 feet of an incident will automatically turn toward it.
"The summer is always a challenging time for us and we prepare every year like this, but we've learned every year and we get better at our partnerships every year and I think that this summer we're going to the best example of what an urban area can do to combat violence," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.
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