In response to a number of recent parties that have escalated into violence, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis on Thursday night laid out a plan to crack down on large, disruptive gatherings over the Fourth of July weekend and throughout the summer.
“We have noticed over the last several months that there have been several commercial endeavors,” Davis said, standing at Bowdoin Street and Geneva Avenue in Dorchester. “People are setting up illegal parties, charging entrance to the parties, hiring DJs, selling alcohol illegally. And we have found a significant amount of violence occurring at these parties.”
Early on June 22, gunfire punctuated a party on Intervale Street in Dorchester. Three people, all in their 20s, were slain. Their killer remains on the loose.
To combat such violence at parties, Davis said, police will target large gatherings early in the night, including running a dedicated tipline for residents to call about disturbances (617-343-5500).
“The idea is prevention,” the commissioner said. “We want to stop things before they get out of hand and before we have any violence.”
As the Fourth of July holiday began to descend into darkness, a man was found shot within a block of the police station at Blue Hill Avenue and Morton Street in Dorchester. The shooting, which happened shortly before 8:30 p.m., left the victims with life-threatening injuries, police spokesman James Kenneally said.
The Rev. Richard “Doc” Conway of St. Peter Church in Bowdoin/Geneva said having police officers and community activists walking neighborhood streets and talking to residents is a key to preventing violence.
“The more you get to know the people, the better it becomes,” he said. “You walk up and you know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. You know who to deal with and who to let go. We’ve got to be walking the streets.”
Davis said some large parties become problematic because, unlike licensed venues, there is no one to monitor how much alcohol is being served and who is drinking it.
The Fourth of July holiday and the days before and after, when the heat can be oppressive and the sound of firecrackers turns heads, creates particular issues for police, Davis said.
“We have a significant amount of shooting activity that occurs, usually late in the evening and after midnight,” he said, adding that officers will also target those who launch illegal fireworks. “If there are people who are firing off very powerful fireworks, we will target those people and we will shut them down.”
Though the Bowdoin/Geneva area of Dorchester is “troubled with a significant amount of violence,” Davis said, it is not the only target of the police crackdown.
“This program is being replicated in neighborhoods across Boston,” he said. “We’re doing this across the city to make sure we have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July.”Colin A. Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ColinAYoung.