The Boston Police Department’s Youth Violence Task Force took loaded guns out of the hands of four juveniles last week as cops bracing for an anticipated summertime spike in street violence continue to focus on preventing the next deadly shooting before it happens, the Boston Herald reports. “It’s a huge initiative for us,” said Boston police spokeswoman Rachel McGuire. Though there’s a heightened focus ahead of the summer months, which historically brings a surge of street violence, McGuire said it’s a “year-round effort.” She said, “This is a part of community policing. “We want to get in touch with these kids and let them know they don’t need to carry guns. We want to get to the root of the problem and show them they have other options other than the street life.”
Last week’s arrests came after the Herald found the number of juvenile firearm-related arrests in Boston had more than doubled for the first quarter of 2017 over the same period last year. The more than 19 juvenile firearm related arrests — on charges ranging from possession of an illegal firearm to warrants for prior gun-related offenses — were up more than 100 percent over the nine such arrests in the first three months of 2016. The startling number bucks an overall downward trend of crime in the city.