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Boston officials outline plan to fight summer crime

Fifty-five Boston police ­recruits will be deployed to walk streets and interact with residents in hot spots across the city this summer, one of many components of the city’s sweeping strategy to prevent violence during the months when it typically spikes.

“I’ve directed my summer safety team to do more this year, to be more proactive, more visible, and more available to the public than ever before,” Mayor Thomas M. ­Menino said during a press conference at City Hall to ­announce his plan to combat ­violent crime in the upcoming months.

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The plan will include “more outreach . . . [putting] our violence prevention teams on the streets in the hot spots and knocking on doors to inform residents about the summer programs available to them,” said Menino, standing alongside Police Commissioner ­Edward F. Davis, his command staff, and several heads of city agencies.

The recruits will be “highly visible” on bike and on foot in Roxbury, Dorchester, and ­Mattapan, with the goal of patrol­ling 45,000 beats by the end of August, Davis said.

One Safe Street Team will ­focus on Harvard Avenue in Mattapan and parts of Dorchester, a chronic trouble spot for shootings and gang activity, he said.

Another team will work on Newbury Street, to crack down on break-ins and thefts of valuables from cars, shoplifting, and panhandling in that bustling retail area.

“We’re focused on 10 hot spots in the city,” Davis said, includ­ing Grove Hall, Upham’s Corner, Warren Gardens, Woodrow Avenue, Franklin Hill, Franklin Field, and “the spine that runs through ­Roxbury, Dorchester, and ­Mattapan.’’

July and August are the most dangerous months of the year, when children are out of school and the city averages about 37 shootings each month, he said.

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

On Tuesday, police conducted a sweep through Roxbury and arrested 58 suspects, some described as gang members, who allegedly sold drugs to under­cover or plainclothes officers.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said the sweep should “set a tone for the months ahead.”

While the policing aspect of the mayor’s summer strategy appears to be broader than in recent years, so are other parts of the plan that deal with outreach to youth.

“The mayor has stressed over my time here that collaboration is the only way to deal with this, and I believe he is ­absolutely right,” Davis said ­before introducing Barbara ­Ferrer, public health commissioner.

The commission will kick off its summer effort June 1 in ­Roxbury by going door to door to inform families about camps, summer programs, and jobs ­being offered to youth from the age of 6 to 19 this summer.

The door-knocking effort will culminate with barbecues in those neighborhoods.

“We will try to eliminate the disconnect by getting out on the streets,” Ferrer said.

The Boston Centers for Youth and Families will sponsor its first ‘Girls Night In,’ an overnight event targeting 50 girls from ages 13 to 15 to address health, safety, and empowerment, said Daphne Griffin, chief of human services.

Neighborhood Watch groups and police community service officers will team up to conduct “Flashlight Walks” to bring residents together during evening hours.

A mainstay of the mayor’s summer initiative is the summer jobs program, which is ­expected to employ 10,000 youth, the same number of jobs offered through the program last year.

Globe correspondent Todd Feathers contributed to this ­report. Brian Ballou can be reached at bballou@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter ­@GlobeBallou.
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