Boston homicides have risen 46.5 percent since this time last year, a dramatic increase that Police Commissioner Edward Davis attributed to a rise in drug crime, reports the Boston Globe. Davis said a combination of more people turning to the drug trade to make money and the release of drug dealers from prison has helped fuel street violence that has led to 63 homicides through Nov. 8 of this year. At this point last year, there had been 43 killings.
The increase comes after several years in which police have attributed many slayings to feuding and score-settling among street gangs. Many of this year's victims are older and have long drug crime records. A significant number of victims have been killed during apparent drug robberies or targeted by perpetrators police believe are dealers. “It's very unusual,'' Davis said of the trend. “We just need to be very aggressive in our narcotics investigations and make sure that we're targeting the individuals in the drug business in the same way we have with the gangs.''