Boston police believe that a hard-core group of offenders who commit repeated crimes are driving much of the city’s worrying surge in street violence, says the Boston Globe. In an extensive review of the records of 597 people arrested last year on charges of illegal possession of firearms, police officials found that nearly one-third had one or more prior arrests and that only 13 percent were in custody in mid-January as a result of their 2005 firearms charges. Police are pushing for stricter bail laws to keep gun criminals behind bars until their trials, hoping to help reverse a sharp increase in the number of shootings. “When people see that somebody commits a crime and the community knows that he commits the crime or believes that he did and that person’s on the street,” said Police Superintendent Robert Dunford, “the perception in the community is that the government, the police, the courts have not done their job.”
The study shows that the 597 people arrested last year on charges of illegal gun possession had amassed an average of 22 criminal charges, including an average of six firearm-related charges, in their lifetime. One person had 39 firearm-related charges. One suspect profiled has been arrested on gun charges five times. He had amassed 41 adult criminal charges and had been released on bail after his fourth gun arrest in August. The suspect was arrested in January on charges of shooting someone in December.