Councilors agree to hearing on violence in Boston

The City Council today gave backing to a proposal by Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) for a hearing to look at both specific increases in murders and shootings in Boston over the past year and more general issues about how Boston police, public-health and even housing departments can do something about it.

City Councilor Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton) at first rose to oppose the motion because he felt Jackson's written hearing request unfairly blamed police for all the woes in the city. Jackson said no, he wasn't, that while police should "own" increases in shootings just as much as they take credit for what they say is an overall decrease in crime in the city, the issue is much larger than police. Council tranquility was restored after a brief recess, during which at-large Councilor Michael Flaherty came up with an extra clause for one sentence that made it clear the session would not be for bashing police.

"We need a comprehensive plan," Jackson said, after stating that the overall crime decrease trumpeted by BPD masks an increase in non-fatal shootings from 174 to 246 over the past year, in addition to an increase in homicides. "We can't simply say that crime is going down because people aren't taking sunglasses and the like out of stores."

NOTE: Boston Police say non-fatal shootings actually dropped by 17 in 2016.

Jackson, who is at least thinking of running for mayor this fall, gave as just one example the issue of what to do after convicts are released from prison: They're going to need help finding a place to live, a job, even a proper ID if they're to integrate back into society and not relapse.

However, other hard feelings emerged in the discussion, unusual in a council whose members have long treated each congenially and who rarely raise their voices during meetings.

At-large Councilor Ayanna Pressley said she is sick to death of reporters and activists constantly asking her what she's going to do about violence in "her" community.

"This violence and the trauma it leaves in its wake is everyone's problem," Pressley said, calling on all the council's white members to join in the effort to do something, Because while minority neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by violence, none of Boston's communities is immune, she said. Pressley, who said she has had enough with attempts to "racialize or minimize" violence in Boston, has long made the trauma that follows violence one of her signature issues as a councilor, said. Earlier in the meeting, in a separate vote, Pressley won approval for a hearing on ways to increase the number of mental-health clinicians in the police department to better help residents affected by violence in their homes and neighborhoods.

Councilor Bill Linehan (South Boston, South End, Chinatown, downtown), meanwhile, expressed bitterness at the way the council rejected his proposal last month for a surcharge on alcohol sales to fund substance-abuse programs, when substance abuse is at the root of much of the violence in Boston.

"We had an opportunity at the end of last year to affect violence," Linehan said, noting that even in the council's more contentious past, he and Councilor Chuck Turner found common ground on the issue of substance abuse. "We need to find solutions, not just the rhetorical desire to fix things. Solutions come in the form of money."

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Comments

Sounds like a man planning to run for Mayor.

By on

1. Violence has existed as long as man has, and it ain't going nowhere (bad grammar on purpose).
2. Police are not to blame for violence, parents and the household has a lot more to do with it than they do. Lack of jobs and viable means of income are a close second. As well as culture.

If you want combat violence the recipe is already there. Education and jobs are by far the most effective deterrents to crime and violence.

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Voting is closed. 25

I've long held on to the

By on

I've long held on to the belief that maybe Tito is authentic as they come, but I'm hoping these recent pushes aren't for some ulterior motive. He needs a lesson from Corey Booker in grassroots campaigning

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Voting is closed. 16

cory booker

is one of the best americans we have to offer, i think. it says a lot about the man that the people that interact with him are drawn to support causes he holds dear (zuckerberg, conan obrien, among others)

he ran into a house fire (as mayor!) and saved a woman's life and got burned himself doing so.

just a great guy. really admirable. could go on and on about the stuff he has done or how he has lived his life. i encourage people to read about him.

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Voting is closed. 17

Thank your lucky stars

By on

you aren't in:

Chicago
Detroit
Milwaukee
Cleveland
St. Louis
Baltimore
Philly
Oakland

And so on, and so on ......

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Voting is closed. 15

Your point?

Violence is way higher in other cities but that doesn't mean Boston should ignore its own problems.

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Voting is closed. 13

Consider this

Maybe Boston doesn't get to be like those cities because it addresses things before they get out of hand?

Just a thought.

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Voting is closed. 10

Naw, I don't think that's the reason

By on

Boston, even less desirable neighborhoods, has become prohibitively expensive to rent or own housing, and this has pushed MANY people, including many 'undesirable elements' out of the city into the surrounding metro area, including places as far away as R.I., southern N.H., the southcoast, Brockton area, Lawrence, Lowell, etc. We've become sort of a boutique big city. This, imho, is the #1 reason why we aren't like those other cities. In fairness, Chicago is geographically quite large, and of course there are very nice areas inside the city limits, but it still has terrible problems with violence and finances. I remember as a child it was considered in a higher light than NYC, clean, safer, etc. Sad it's fallen like it has, because it's a great city.

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Voting is closed. 12

What about a hearing on

By on

What about a hearing on corrupt cops or cops and fire fighters who lied about their residency to obtain a job for the city. This is fraud and is an arrestable offense

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Voting is closed. 9

What about

You petition for such a hearing yourself?

Probably far more effective than complaining about your pet issue on a thread discussing how somebody else did the actual work involved?

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Voting is closed. 8

The politics of policing

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The main reason the body count in the city of Boston is lower than other major urban areas has little to do with policing strategy or politicians. The real reason is the magnificent work done by EMS, Doctors and nurses in the city of Boston who save the lives of gunshot victims on a daily basis.

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Voting is closed. 16

Agreed

By on

The real statistic to look at when gauging violence is how many shootings (or stabbings or other attempted murders) there were. Whether someone dies is dependent on a lot of things - how good the attacker is aiming, availability of ambulances, quality of medical care, etc. But a shooting is a shooting is a shooting.

As Adam noted in the post, shootings were actually down last year.

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Voting is closed. 7

I've said it before

By on

I'll say it again, legalize all drugs. Goodbye cartels, goodbye overdoses due to inconsistent heroin potency, goodbye drug dealers shooting at each other and hitting innocent bystanders.

People are gonna use drugs. Let's make it safer for everyone.

Harm reduction saves lives.

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