The Boston Police Department is beefing up its Youth Violence Strike Force to head off further bloodshed of the sort that already has left five Boston teens dead this year, reports the Boston Herald. Police plan to downsize a narcotics unit and field its officers alongside the strike force. The proposed merger will drop 15 cops from drug investigations and send them back to patrol duties.
A Boston police commander said reducing the number of narcotics officers will prove counterproductive. “The nexus of all violence is drugs,” said the commander. “Now you are taking 15 cops who know the dealers, who have confidential informants, who can turn snitches – and put them back on patrol. It’s not going to work.” Sixteen Bostonians have been murdered this year, including a fatal stabbing yesterday. At least three of those slayings are believed to be gang-related, and 13 victims were killed by gunshots. By the end of February, 473 violent crimes had been committed in the city, up 6 percent from the same period last year.