Half of the 632 people arrested or sought in Boston on illegal gun possession and gun assault charges in the first 10 months of 2005 are 21 or younger, reports the Boston Globe. Police Superintendent Paul Joyce said that the surge of gun violence in Boston is especially worrisome because of the large number of young people, some as young as 12, who are arming themselves. ”One of our concerns is a lot of these kids don’t think about the consequences,” Joyce told the Globe. ”They’re living for the moment. Sometimes the issues for why a shooting takes place can be a look or a rumor or an issue related to disrespect in their eyes.” He said many teenagers in Boston who are using guns are involved in gangs, but he said not all shootings stem from gang disputes.
The number of gun arrests and arrest warrants is up 37 percent in Boston this year, the number of seized guns up 12 percent, and the number of shootings up 28 percent. Crime emerged as a key issue in yesterday’s mayoral election, in which Mayor Thomas M. Menino won a fourth term. Last week, he announced a new partnership with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to investigate gun crimes. Joyce said federal help is needed to deal with a surge in gun possession among young people and a rising population of offenders who are leaving prison and returning to old habits.