Acting Mayor Kim Janey on Thursday laid out a plan to combat violence during the summer months and also urged residents to avoid using fireworks, which are illegal for individual use in Massachusetts.
“This summer, we will promote peace and healing in our communities,” Janey said during an afternoon briefing at Boston Police headquarters. She was joined by several officials including Acting Police Commissioner Gregory Long and Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Janey said the anti-violence plan for the summer includes ramping up youth jobs and engagement activities; addressing “gang hotspots” with “direct intervention” by city police; offering learning programs at schools; providing outreach and “direct services” to residents aged 17 to 24 whom police have identified as more susceptible to violence; and connecting “gang-involved” residents to building trades work programs.
The summer youth jobs program, she said, will help thousands.
“Our youth jobs will expand to 4,000 slots, and we will provide mentoring and engage with youth who are at risk for gang recruitment,” Janey said.
She added that the city also plans to promote “positive activities” in public spaces and will work to “invigorate” 16 parks, in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan, with recreational offerings.
The acting mayor also urged residents to take a pass on the pyrotechnics.
“Fireworks are dangerous, illegal explosives,” Janey said. “In addition, the loud bang from fireworks is triggering to veterans and others in our community who have experienced trauma from gunfire. We have all experienced the trauma of COVID. Let’s do all we can to be good neighbors and promote peace in our communities.”
Long said that as the city heads into the summer months, crime numbers have been trending in the right direction.
“As we stand here today, violent crime is down 19 percent [this year] in the city of Boston,” Long said, adding that the most serious “Part 1″ crimes are down 21 percent. “Firearm-related arrests are up 30 percent,” as are gun recoveries, he said.
“The reason why I mention those statistics is to show the Boston Police Department’s commitment to ensuring public safety for the residents of Boston,” Long said.
In addition, he said, 94 police academy recruits are graduating June 10.
“That’s going to help, clearly, in terms of our visibility and our efforts to ensure public safety,” Long said. “These officers are going to be deployed throughout the city, in different districts.”
Rollins said the public safety push is already well underway, with 40 to 50 arrest warrants recently approved for people who’ve been “driving some of the violence” in the “most impacted” areas.
“We will continue to present these cases to the grand jury,” she said, and will “work closely with our partners in law enforcement ... who have been doing an exceptional job.”
Between September 2020 and last month, she said, her office has secured 1,137 indictments against 268 defendants, including 29 homicide cases. She credited her law enforcement partners with helping to bring perpetrators to justice.
“With the able and capable and exceptional work of the Boston Police Department and the Mass. State Police, we we have held individuals accountable,” Rollins said.