After intense opposition from residents, Boston police have significantly scaled back and delayed the start of a program that would allow officers to go into people’s homes and search for guns without a warrant, the Boston Globe reports. The Safe Homes program, was supposed to start in December, but has been delayed at least three times. One community group has been circulating a petition against the plan. Police officials trying to assuage residents’ fears have been drowned out by criticism at some meetings with residents and elected officials.
Officers may begin knocking on doors this week but instead of heading into four troubled neighborhoods as planned, they will l target only one where they have received the most support. Police would ask parents or legal guardians for permission to search homes where juveniles ages 17 and under are believed to be holding illegal guns. Police would only enter homes into which they have been invited and, once inside, would only search the rooms of the juveniles. The goal would be getting weapons off the streets, rather than making arrests. Critics call the searches unconstitutional and say police will not guarantee that residents would face no criminal charges if guns or drugs were found. “Police are like vampires. They shouldn’t be invited into your homes,” said Jamarhl Crawford, chairman of the New Black Panther Party, who moderated a community meeting.