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The burst of violence that led to the deaths of three men in Boston on Wednesday night brought the city's homicide total to 20 so far this year, according to Boston Police Department records, which is lower than the city's five-year average.

At this point in 2014, there were 35 homicides in the city, police said. Over the past five years, the average for the first seven months of the year has been 32 homicides.

But while there have been fewer homicides in the city this year than last, the total number of shootings appears to be on the rise. The city tallied 157 shooting victims as of Thursday, compared with 123 during the same period last year, according to Boston Police Superintendent in Chief William Gross.

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The number of shooting incidents, which can involve multiple victims, also ticked up since last year, from 110 at this point in 2014 to 121 so far this year.

Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans decried Wednesday's violence, but noted that the city's homicide rate is lower than other cities of comparable size.

"It's 20 too many," Evans said during a news conference in Egleston Square. "Too many young kids out there have guns. It's senseless. It's tragic."

At the same time, he urged residents to keep the recent violence in perspective.

Summer months tend to be more violent in Boston, as in other cities, police say, and data bears that out.

There were at least 32 shootings in July alone, the highest number in a single month so far this year, according to police records from July 27.

Last year, there were 82 shootings during June, July, and August; there were half that number during the preceding three months.

The number of shootings increases during the warmer months because "when there's more people outside, there's more opportunity for crime," police spokesman Lieutenant Michael McCarthy told the Globe in early July.

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Two other fatal shootings occurred in the area Wednesday night and early Thursday within hours of the Boston homicides, in neighboring Everett and Cambridge.

The Cambridge shooting happened in the city's Area IV neighborhood, roughly between Central Square, Inman Square, and MIT. Cambridge police data indicates that Area IV had the highest number of fatal and nonfatal shootings of the city's 13 neighborhoods during the past five years.

The fatal shooting was Cambridge's second homicide and the first shooting death of the year. Cambridge averages about two homicides a year, according to Cambridge police.

The Everett homicide was the second of the year in the city.


Catherine Cloutier can be reached at catherine.cloutier@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @cmcloutier.