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Mayor, police commissioner to share policing tactics at D.C. summit

Police Commissioner William B. Evans (left) and Mayor Martin J. Walsh will appear at the summit.David L. Ryan/Glbe Staff/File 2015

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Police Commissioner William B. Evans will attend the Summit on Violent Crime on Wednesday in Washington to tout initiatives such as Flashlight Walks, coffee with a cop, and youth-police dialogues that have helped Boston police combat crime and build relationships with the community.

Walsh and Evans are among the mayors and police chiefs from 20 cities invited to the summit hosted by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and other federal officials to discuss the root causes of crime and strategies for reducing it.

Many cities, such as Baltimore, New York, Chicago, and St. Louis have experienced surges in violent crime while Boston has recorded its lowest homicide rate in 15 years.


“The president has recognized Boston as a model for community policing,” Walsh said Tuesday. “We have a lot going for us. We’re trying to do things differently here in the city.”

Walsh plans to advocate for background checks on all gun sales, and tougher penalties for gun traffickers.

Walsh said he also plans to talk about the city’s Flashlight Walks and Neighborhood Walks Against Violence, initiatives in which police, clergy, and civic leaders team up to walk through some of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. The latter was launched in August after a particularly violent night in which three young men were killed.

Twenty-six people have been killed in the city so far this year, compared with 42 homicides at the same time last year. But 20 more people have been shot this year compared with 2014.

Still, those figures are low compared to cities like Baltimore, which has recorded more than 200 murders this year.

“The Department of Justice is concerned about some areas that have had an increase [in violent crime],” said Kevin Lewis, an agency spokesman. “Boston has its challenges but is doing great at crime reduction. The mayor and police chief have experiences that could be shared with other mayors and police chiefs.”


The summit will be the first of its kind, Lewis said.

“The point is to bring everyone to the table to see what’s working and what’s not,” he said.

The revived Boston Police Cadet Program for young people interested in the Police Department, and Operation Exit, which connects those who have had brushes with the law with jobs in the building trades, are among the city’s programs that could be highlighted during the summit. The city’s ban on replica firearms and its outreach to licensed gun owners and vendors will also be discussed.

Walsh and Evans said they would like to hear what other cities are doing as well.

Evans said the Police Department’s relationship with local clergy and civic leaders helped the city smoothly get through two fatal police-involved shootings. “I don’t know if other cities have the relationships we have,” said Evans.

Jan Ransom can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Jan_Ransom.