Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed a $15 million statewide anticrime plan that includes money to help put 70 new police officers on Boston streets in July, says the Boston Globe. The initiative includes $11 million in community safety grants and $4 million to hire and train new police officers. The funding is “the right approach to help communities deal with the gun and gang violence that may occur this summer and that we all pray won’t,” Patrick said. The city plans to hire officers from other departments so they won’t have to go through a lengthy training program. Legislative leaders pledged to approve the plan quickly.
The community safety funds will be awarded to communities based on crime rates, the percentage of the population between ages 15 and 19, and the number of young homicide victims. Money will be used for surveillance, patrolling of crime hot spots, afterschool programs, tutoring, drug treatment, and job training. House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi said lawmakers should consider eliminating mandatory minimum sentences to reduce crime. “Mandatory minimum sentences aren’t working, and we’re paying for the mistakes we made in the past,” he said. “We need to do more. Young people need to have a chance in life to turn away from the streets, not turn to the streets.”