Boston finished 2007 with fewer homicides, shootings, and aggravated assaults than in 2006, filling police and some religious and community leaders with hope that violence will continue to drop this year, the Boston Globe reports. The number of homicides in the city dropped to 66 in 2007, down from 74 in 2006 and below the 10-year high of 75 in 2005. The number of nonfatal shootings fell from 373 to 322 in 2007, as of Dec. 25. For the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 23, aggravated assaults fell from 4,351 in 2006 to 4,166 last year.
Police Commissioner Edward Davis said he expects violent crime to continue to fall in 2008. Others pointed to troubling trends that could prove difficult to reverse. Many of the shootings in 2007 occurred in daylight and several victims and suspects of fatal shootings were particularly young. “You still have that ‘stop snitching’ culture and we really need to step up because the police and the DA’s office can’t do it alone,” said Matthew Machera, a former prosecutor. Davis remains concerned about witness cooperation but pointed to developments that show the community has begun to trust police more. Police received 612 tips on the department’s anonymous hot line last year and 476 text messages since June, when the text program was launched. He confirmed that the department is developing a cold-case division that would investigate old, unsolved homicides.