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editorial

Don’t normalize violence in any neighborhood

Surveillance video shows a 7-year-old being shot in Dorchester
Surveillance video shows Divan Silva turns onto Bowdoin Street from Elba Terrace on his way to buy water at a corner store while riding on his cousin's bicycle. He is shot as he approaches Rodriguez Barbershop and falls off his bike.

The surveillance camera video captures the moment a 7-year-old was shot by a stray bullet as he rode his bicycle along a sidewalk. Divan Silva of Brockton was visiting family in Dorchester Sunday afternoon when he was wounded on his way to buy a bottle of water. The footage also shows Divan’s horrified mother running to his aid. Luckily, Divan’s injury was not life-threatening and he already is out of the hospital. But the incident serves as a chilling reminder of the random violence that some city residents experience or witness on a regular basis — especially in lower-income neighborhoods. Among the many “gaps” that exist between the privileged and everybody else, the safety gap is one of the widest.

“What’s sad is there’s no outrage or protest about a 7-year-old being shot,” Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh told a local TV news station. Walsh is right in that the incident did not prompt a massive march of demonstration, but Dorchester residents have expressed their anger. They are fearful for their children’s safety and frustrated by a recent spurt of gun violence. About 10 minutes after Silva was shot, a 20-year-old man was injured by a bullet not far from the boy’s shooting. The day before, a 27-year-old was fatally shot in Roxbury.

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All victims of violence deserve justice, and Boston residents need to do their part by becoming more involved in anti-crime efforts — and by speaking out. Groups and initiatives like Mothers for Justice & Equality and the annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace have helped raise awareness. But there’s no substitute for people with credible information coming forward so that more criminals are held responsible for their actions. In Divan’s case, police suspect a teenager is responsible for the shooting, but he remains at large. The suspect is described as heavy set, about 5’8” tall, heavy set, and wearing a red hooded sweat shirt, white shorts, and white sneakers.

“If you have information, holding onto it only helps the suspect. Every little bit of information matters. And the person who shot Divan needs to be held accountable,” said Boston Police commissioner William Evans.

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Residents of Dorchester and Roxbury deserve neighborhoods that are just as safe as Beacon Hill, Back Bay, or any other section of the city. One important way to achieve that is by helping the police do their job.

Related:

A ride, a gunshot, and a child’s ordeal in Dorchester

Joanna Weiss: Fighting crime from within