Major crime in Boston fell 13 percent over the first five months of the year, compared with the same period last year, says the Boston Globe. The news was hailed by city officials but it got a cool response from youth workers and residents in crime-ridden areas. The crime figures come in a year when police have sought to quell violence among Cape Verdean youth and calm residents in city housing developments, rocked by several murders. The number of homicides remained unchanged, at 21.
“If crime is down, that’s a good thing,” said Emmett Folgert of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative. “The problem is, I’m in a high crime area, so crime is always high. I haven’t noticed much change.” Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole attributed the drop in part to increased patrols, known as Operation Rolling Thunder, which target different neighborhoods on different nights. The patrols, some involving vans, cruisers, mounted police, and bikes, are designed to make police more visible when the actual number of officers is dwindling due to budget cuts, she said. O’Toole also credited a new tactical information center, which is designed to analyze crime data to allow officers to more quickly respond to trouble spots. The bad news was that burglaries, mostly thefts from residences, and attempted burglaries rose by 7 percent, while robberies and attempted robberies, which often involve the use of force, jumped 8 percent, the report showed. Part of the rise might be due to an increase in thefts of cellphones and handheld computers, which account for 15 percent to 20 percent of robberies.