Boston’s top law enforcement officials held an emergency summit called by Mayor Thomas Menino and vowed to take tougher measures to stem a rise in homicides, shootings, and other violent crime, reports the Boston Globe. Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole is ordering officers to sweep every neighborhood in the city and arrest people with outstanding warrants. Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley plans to start new court sessions that will focus on gun crimes. Menino wants to halt the sale of ”Stop Snitching” T-shirts. The mayor said he is not allocating any more money for the efforts or pledging to hire more police officers, saying the city cannot afford it. The warrant sweeps could further stretch the police department, which is already down some 200 officers in recent years.
The number of shootings in Boston so far this year is up 34 percent over the same period last year. The homicide count, 66, has tied a 10-year high. Police have arrested or identified suspects in only 20 of this year’s homicides, the lowest rate in at least a decade. After gunfire erupted Monday near a Dorchester school playground as fifth-grade pupils were going outside for recess, the mayor summoned nearly a dozen top officials yesterday. Officials attributed the surge in violence to an abundance of guns flowing into the city, the slow pace of gun-crime trials, a shortage of police officers, and a growing gang problem fueled in part by a recent increase in the juvenile population. The police commissioner said her department has identified about 100 ”loosely organized” gangs in Boston. ”They’re killing each other over ridiculous things,” O’Toole said.