Special Reports

Police stepping up patrols in troubled areas

During the last week of December, historically a violent time of the year, more Boston police will patrol troubled parts of the city, and authorities will randomly check bars to guard against overcrowding and liquor being served to minors, police said yesterday.

After nearly a month without homicides, two men were killed Friday and two others were shot yesterday morning. Two men were stabbed in Allston on Christmas Day.

Police said yesterday that many of the attacks reflect that this is the time of year when people drink and feud more, not a resurgence in crime.


“In the last two weeks of December, especially around the holidays, we’ve always seen a kind of a spike in violence around parties that get out of hand because of excessive alcohol or old feuds that kick back up,” Superintendent in Chief Robert Dunford said in a telephone interview.

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Police had increased patrols in neighborhoods historically buffeted by violence “just to see if we could stem some of it,” Dunford said.

Despite the recent burst of violence, homicides and shootings are fewer than last year. The number of killings for 2007 is 66, seven fewer than at the same time last year. In November, there were 16 nonfatal shootings, compared with 26 that month in 2006.

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said in an interview last week, before Friday’s killings, that several new initiatives and arrests helped reduce crime.

Detectives and district captains in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury had been meeting weekly to analyze shooting trends so they could figure out where to put officers. In recent months, several “impact players,” or criminals suspected of shootings, were arrested for other crimes and taken off the streets.


Detectives also began interviewing every suspect brought to district stations about other criminals, which led to tips that resulted in gun arrests, Davis said.

To curb violence for the last five days of the year, Dunford said, district captains in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury have been authorized to pay officers overtime to patrol streets regularly plagued by shootings, and in other potential problem areas.

As New Year’s Eve approaches, Dunford said, detectives and licensing officials will continue surprise visits to bars to make sure they are not serving people who are drunk.

Dunford declined to say which of the attacks of the last six days was related to alcohol or whether any of the incidents were gang related.

“Based on what we know, some of them were not random,” he said. “People were targeted.”


More officers have been directed to Bowdoin Street and Geneva Avenue, where 20-year-old Emmanuel Lopes Pires was fatally shot Friday, Dunford said. The same night, Tazmyn Soares, 18, of Everett, was fatally shot on Cedar Street in Roxbury. No arrests have been made in either shooting.

About 1:21 a.m. yesterday, a 22-year-old man was shot outside Packy Connors, a pub on Blue Hill Avenue. Less than three hours later, a 16-year-old boy was shot on Columbia Road in Dorchester. Both were expected to survive.

The spasm of violence has distressed ministers, who canvassed Boston last month with fliers calling for an end to bloodshed during the holidays.

One of the ministers, the Rev. Michael Wheeler of Holy Tabernacle Church in Dorchester, was shocked to learn that one of the victims was Soares, whom he said he had known since Soares was 14. “I think he had a lot of potential,” said Wheeler. “He was a smart kid.”

He said he met Soares through the Department of Youth Services, where Wheeler ministers to young people and where he said Soares was often detained for numerous violations. He said he did not know the charges against Soares but described him as an energetic, confident man who was not known for violence.

“Maybe it’s my naivete, but he hit a couple of rough patches, and I thought he was going to be OK,” Wheeler said. “I wish he had a chance to show what he really had to offer.”

The Rev. Jeffrey Brown, cofounder of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, credited with a downturn in deadly violence in the early 1990s, said yesterday that the peace campaign will continue. Today, ministers are to return to the streets to hand out more fliers.

“We had three weeks of quiet,” he said. “What that told me was you have young people who you can reach out to and they would listen and respect your message.”

Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com.