Boston Murder Spike Prompts Police Action Plan

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After a rising tide of Boston street violence that resulted in four homicides in a recent six day stretch, Police Commissioner Kathleen M. O’Toole has unveiled a five-step action plan designed to reverse the trend, says the Boston Globe. “I’m very troubled by the senseless tragedies that continue to plague us, particularly those involving our youth,” O’Toole said. “It is too early to determine whether this is another random spike in violence or if a pattern is emerging.”

Harlan Harris, 16, was shot three times early Saturday during an argument outside a Dorchester neighborhood house party. He was left to die bleeding in a gutter.

O’Toole outlined five steps she will take this week to address the spike in violence: meetings with religious leaders, an “emergency meeting” with a local organization, meetings with youth groups, an internal discussion with police commanders, and a move to expand the city’s reentry initiative for former convicts.

O’Toole will meet today with black ministers in the Roxbury area and with officials from her own department to hear suggestions on how to combat violence. O’Toole expects commanders to offer ways to reduce violence, especially in high-crime areas. She said preventing crime by collaborating with community groups, church leaders, and youth groups is just as important as police tactics.

“I don’t think there’s any cause for panic here, I just think we need to respond to these situations responsibly,” O’Toole told the Globe. Twenty-two homicides have occurred in Boston so far this year, the highest to date since 1997.

Link: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/05/16/otoole_targets_city_slayings/

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