The Boston Police Department credits increased neighborhood patrols with a relatively peaceful July Fourth, a stark contrast to last year’s Independence Day, one of the most violent in memory.
Three people were shot in Dorchester and Roxbury Wednesday night, none of them fatally, said Officer James Kenneally, a police spokesman.
That was significantly fewer than last year’s Fourth of July, when four men were killed in separate shootings over five hours, all of which were believed to be gang-related. Fifteen others were wounded in shootings and stabbings across the city on July Fourth last year.
Earlier this week, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said the department would substantially increase patrols on the holiday in neighborhoods in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan that are known for violent crime.
At a press conference Thursday, Davis said that the increased police presence seems to have been effective and that violent crime Wednesday in those neighborhoods was about average for a weekday night.
‘Last night was a good test of our system. . . . the system works.’
“Considering what we went through last year, the number of incidents were greatly reduced,” Davis said.
Two people were shot at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at Bowdoin and Corona streets in Dorchester, Kenneally said. One man was taken to Boston Medical Center; a second victim later walked into Carney Hospital.
Millicent Lugg, who lives a few houses away, said Thursday that she heard gunshots late in the evening, but did not leave her house or look out the window.
“It was more than scary, because there are a lot of children around here,” Lugg said from her front porch.
Another neighbor, who declined to give his name because he feared retaliation from the shooter, said the shooting occurred as he hosted a neighborhood cookout that brought about 50 people to the block to enjoy barbecue and watch fireworks.
The man said he did not see the shooter in the crowd of people; he heard the gunshots, then screams. Adults and children ran inside. The victim, whom he did not recognize from the neighborhood, was shot in the shoulder.
The man said he had noticed more police cruisers in the neighborhood.
“It’s getting ridiculous out here,” he said. “This cookout — it’s something I do every year. But unfortunately somebody’s got to ruin it for everybody.”
About three hours after the first shooting, at about 2:24 a.m. Thursday, a man was shot at 50 Brunswick St. in Roxbury. He was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. None of the three victims had life-threatening injuries, Kenneally said.
In addition to stemming holiday violence, Davis also praised the department’s handling of the evacuation of thousands of people from the Esplanade Wednesday night, which interrupted the annual Boston Pops concert and slightly delayed the fireworks display.
Looking back, he said, he felt that the evacuation, which included moving some revelers into the Storrow Drive tunnels, was necessary to ensure people’s safety from an approaching thunderstorm.
“Last night was a good test of our system. It was a way to show that, in fact, the system works, and if something very serious would have happened there, we could safely move large numbers of people out of the danger area,” he said at police headquarters. “So we’re very happy.”
There were no arrests among the thousands gathered on the Esplanade to watch fireworks, Davis said.
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