How “Boston Miracle” Collapse Left City Vulnerable To Gangs


Boston police largely missed brewing gang conflicts and paid scant attention to the steady increase in gang killings between 2000 and 2006, says a Harvard Kennedy School of Government study reported by the Boston Globe. The failures damaged law enforcement’s ability to deal with the violence that erupted earlier this decade and contributed to the crumbling of the so-called Boston Miracle. Infighting in the department, police cuts, and fallout from scandals – such as the accidental killing by police of college student Victoria Snelgrove in 2004 – also hampered the ability of police officials to respond to the rising gang violence, says the 24-page report, to be published in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

The report describes missteps and shifting priorities by the Boston TenPoint Coalition, a group of ministers whose cooperation with law enforcement in the mid-1990s was crucial to a dramatic reduction in homicides later that decade. “Surprisingly, the Boston Police Department and the TenPoint Coalition were ill-prepared to deal with a new cycle of gang violence,” the study says. The study delves into the causes behind the stunning disintegration of an urban success story that was known across the U.S. as the Boston Miracle.


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