BPD goals: More walking beats and tweets
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis yesterday set out his goals for the coming year, which include a 10% reduction in major crime, a 25% increase in walking and bicycle beats and a new "Tweet from the Beat" program for police supervisors on those beats.
Davis pointed to a 25% decrease in crime over the past five years and some specific examples of successful large-scale operations over the past year, including the peaceful end of Occupy Boston's encampment in Dewey Square, the aftermath of the Back Bay transformer fire and the Bruins' Stanley Cup win:
When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last year after a 39 year drought, your thoughtful and strategic planning, extensive experience in crowd control, and methodical execution resulted in a wonderful celebration for fans in the city that evening. What a stark contrast to what has happened in other cities in similar situations.
But police can do more, he said:
We have made great progress in crime reduction over the last 5 years. With that I firmly believe that as individuals and as a department we are capable of doing more. That's why I have set an aggressive goal of a 10% reduction in overall crime for this year.
A key part of that, he said, is getting cops out from behind the wheels of their cruisers:
We are continuing our ongoing commitment to community policing. Last year we successfully completed 160,000 walking and bicycle beats. The positive feedback from the community and the results were significant and encouraging, demonstrating that COPS MATTER. This year I want us to reach 200,000. ... It is ambitious but I know that you are up to the challenge. I want to see everyone out of cars and walking for some portion of their shift. It has already made a difference in how the community sees us and how safe they feel in their neighborhoods.
To further that effort the Bureau of Investigative Services has also taken great strides in community engagement. Through their new outreach program, detectives are working with local businesses and residents to develop positive relationships outside of their investigative duties. This means Detectives are getting out and walking the beat. They're visiting and talking to community members, attending community meetings and educating the public on safety tips and the importance of community input to solving crimes.
He said BPD will expand its efforts to reach new communities via social media:
To further enhance our external communication, the department is launching a new social media program titled: Tweet from the Beat. It is a way to combine the BPD's community policing philosophy with the department's advances in social media. The program consists of participating Command Staff utilizing the existing Boston Police twitter account to communicate with community members via 'tweets' during the course of assigned walking beats throughout identified communities.
Davis said another goal is legislation that would let Boston Police patrol the waterfront areas of South Boston. The land is now under jurisdiction of Massport and State Police, which has led to friction with BPD now that a growing percentage of it is being used for housing and commercial space rather than simply port facilities.