The year began with a burst of violence in Boston: a rash of killings in January and February that included the shooting of a 9-year-old boy, alarming residents, community leaders, and city officials.
“When that 9-year-old was shot on Morton Street, I think that was a wake-up call,” Police Commissioner William Evans said this week. “We’re putting our resources where our violence is, and I think it’s paid off.”
Since that early spike, violent crime overall has dropped 13 percent this year compared with the same period last year, a reduction that Evans attributed to targeted police work and a major effort to get guns off the streets.
But the deadly month of January, when nine people were killed, contributed significantly to an increase in homicides, with 23 killings so far this year compared to 16 at this time last year, according to police statistics. Police said many of the January killings were probably gang-related.
On Feb. 7, Janmarcos Peña, 9 years old, was killed when his 14-year-old brother, Juanly Peña, shot him in the chest in an apparent accident at their Morton Street home.
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