Metro

After spate of shootings, police add bike units to patrol parks and playgrounds

Boston, Massachusetts -- 9/18/2015-- Boston Police Department's bike unit officer Shandra Pinto looks over her shoulder as she and a fellow officer wait for a light to change while on patrol in Boston, Massachusetts September 18, 2015. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff Topic: 21bikeunit Reporter:
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/File
Thirty bike units have been added to patrol parks.

Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans announced an increase in bike patrol officers through the end of the summer following a Fourth of July week in which 10 people were shot and three killed.

At an Ella J. Baker House community meeting on Wednesday, Evans said the department assigned 30 bike units to patrol parks and playgrounds in an effort to protect children. He did not provide details about where the patrols are focusing their efforts, but several recent shootings occurred in Dorchester and Roxbury. The new bike units are in addition to the 50 bike units deployed across the city, he said.

“Summer is always our busiest time,” Evans said. “We’ll focus on the next six or seven weeks to keep everyone safe through Labor Day and then we’ll reassess our strategy.”

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The commissioner also said the department has made connections in the neighborhoods that have helped make the city safer. And he commended the contributions of youth summer programs and community events such as Flashlight Walks, in which residents and police officers walk through a neighborhood and get a cold treat afterward.

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Community members declined to comment on the record after the meeting.

Overall, crime in the city between Jan. 1 and July 8, 2018, is down by 5 percent compared with the same period last year, according to data released by Boston police. The number of shooting victims in the same period has decreased from 129 last year to 97 in 2018, but homicides have increased by six, to 24.

In preparation for the Fourth of July, police deployed extra units throughout the city, said Evans. By about 4 p.m. that day, police picked up more than three guns, according to a police press release. Almost two hours later, a shooting occurred on Fayston Street in which four men were shot, one critically injured, while children were playing in a bouncy house.

“It bothers me because we could have had some kids shot inside that bouncy house,” Evans said. “That’s what keeps me up. That’s what keeps the mayor up.”

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Evans also mentioned the fatal shooting of Deondra Lee, 36, on July 4 near Brookford and Dacia streets in Dorchester, saying he was “an innocent man who just moved here.” On Tuesday, Michael Carleton, 32, was arraigned on murder charges.

On July 3, Luis Martin Pinales-Perez, 31, was killed around 11:30 p.m. on Crawford Street in Roxbury. A neighbor at the scene said several men were sprinting down the street, firing guns, and he was struck in the throat. The investigation is ongoing.

Detectives are also still investigating the death of Christian Rivera, 29, on July 7 near Homestead Street in Roxbury.

The commissioner added that detectives were “really close” to solving a double shooting in Brighton in which Wilfred Peters, 26 , and Jeffrey Montaque, 27, were fatally shot in the early morning of June 30.

“We’re trying our best,” said Evans. “We’re trying everything we can to make a difference.”

Jerome Campbell can be reached at jerome.campbell @globe.com