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City launches plan to get ahead of summer violence

Police will deploy new anti-drug team in hotspots, starting with South Boston.

With the homicide rate in Boston already double what it was at this time last year, police and city leaders are trying to get ahead of the historic increase in violence that hits the Hub in the summer months.

The city’s new violence prevention strategy, unveiled by Mayor Thomas Menino this morning, includes the deployment of officers in a daytime drug control unit that will hit different areas of the city, the hiring of “violence interrupters” that will be sent to talk to youth in neighborhoods in Mattapan and an increase in summer jobs for teens.

“Most of the time and in most places in Boston, violence is far from people’s mind,” Menino said. “But most isn’t good enough.”

Typically the city experiences an increase in violence and murders during the summer months. As of Sunday, Boston’s homicide rate already reached 16, compared with eight at this time last year.

The strategy also enlists the help of corrections officers to reach out to inmates before they are about to be released this summer.

Officials said that about one-third of the city’s homicides are retaliatory.

One of the main differences in the city’s approach to summer violence this year is that leaders are making a very public and early start in their efforts. Menino said he hopes to have most of the programs and initiatives in place and ready to go by the time the public schools let out for the summer.