Two members of the Boston City Council are questioning police staffing, saying there appear to be too few officers deployed in areas where the most violence occurs, reports the Boston Globe. Police records show that as recently as June, fewer officers patrolled a district made up largely of Dorchester and Mattapan — an area frequently hit by violent crime — than a district that includes Beacon Hill and downtown. In the two weeks after the Democratic National Convention, the city was hit by seven homicides, including two double-slayings. The surge in violence led city and police officials to launch Operation Neighborhood Shield and call in reinforcements from state and federal agencies. Councilor Charles C. Yancey has asked for a meeting with police Commissioner Kathleen M. O’Toole to discuss deployment decisions.
The Boston Police Department does not release staffing and deployment numbers for security reasons, but the Globe obtained staffing figures for months including June from city officials, and obtained some details of the Operation Neighborhood Shield deployments from a law enforcement officer with access to staffing records. The Police Department’s refusal to release figures for July and the beginning of this month meant the councilors questioned deployments without knowing how staffing had changed during the past two weeks of violence. And it left police officials defending staffing moves they would not specify.