Boston Fears Summer Crime Surge

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Street crime in Boston spiked dramatically in April — nearly doubling in some categories — after record lows in 2002, the Boston Globe reports. The paper says the jump has prompted youth workers, clergy, and police to brace for a potentially volatile summer.

The total of murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults in Boston in April rose by 63 percent over the same period last year, from 259 to 422.

“Things are heating up,” said Captain Thomas Lee, who runs one high-crime district. “It could be a tough summer.”

Mariellen Burns, Boston police spokeswoman, stressed that through the end of March, violent crime was down slightly compared to last year. But crimes involving guns were higher the first three months of the year compared with last year, which she acknowledged is a concern. The most dramatic increase was in aggravated assaults, which jumped by 93 percent this April, 199 compared with 103 in April 2002.

The overall crime rate is still well below the peaks the city saw during the worst years of the early to mid-1990s. But cuts in Boston’s summer jobs program, together with a sagging economy, a decrease in the number of police on the streets, and a demographic increase in the number of teenagers, are fueling fears. “We’re ramping up,” said Emmett Folgert, director of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative. “Everything is stressed, and police can’t do everything they’d like.”


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