Boston is bringing back the cop on the beat, an age-old crime-fighting strategy Police Commissioner Edward Davis used with great success as chief in Lowell, Ma., the Boston Globe reports. Starting last weekend, 18 police officers in three city neighborhoods spent their entire shifts walking their beats. “They will be out on the streets, highly visible, solving problems and preventing crime,” Davis said of the patrol officers who launched the Safe Street initiative from 4 p.m. until about midnight.
The plan calls for three teams of six uniformed patrol officers each to spend their shifts in three neighborhoods. Davis plans to add foot patrols to other neighborhoods with each graduating police academy class. The Boston Police Department, founded in 1635, has long relied on officers to patrol the neighborhoods. But foot patrols began declining in the 1950s, as the department began putting many of its officers in cruisers, in large part to improve response time. During Davis’ tenure in Lowell from 1994 to 2006, violent crime went down by 62 percent, in large part because there were more officers walking beats.