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Boston officials announce plan to curb summer youth violence

Boston officials today announced a sweeping plan to curb summer violence among the city’s youth by expanding recreational and job programming and making police more visible.

“I have directed my summer safety teams to do more this year,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement. “We will be more proactive, more visible, and more available to the public than ever before. We will not tolerate anyone trying to disrupt summer in Boston with violence.”

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Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis says July and August are the most dangerous months of the year, when children are out of school and the city averages around 37 shootings each month.

The city will deploy the incoming class of police recruits to “hot-spot areas” beginning in July and increase bicycle and walking beats in those areas — with a goal of conducting 45,000 beats by the end of August, the statement said.

Last summer, 90 people were shot — 10 fatally — in 72 separate incidents, Boston police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandacca said. The average age of the victims was just over 26 years old.

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The Boston Centers for Youth & Families has created a streetworker team that will operate after the anti-violence group’s regular hours, and the police will add two new Safe Street Teams near Harvard Avenue and Newbury Street, the statement said.

The plan also calls for an increased reliance on neighborhood groups to patrol troubled areas at night.

Next month, Violence Intervention and Prevention Teams will begin a door-to-door campaign to educate youth about city-sponsored summer activities, including summer job programs, movie nights, health and safety presentations for girls, and the second annual National Night Out — a gathering expected to top 1,000 participants Aug. 6 to promote neighborhood involvement in crime prevention, the statement said.

Todd Feathers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ToddFeathers.
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