Boston’s New Public Safety Strategies for Summer

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino speaks about the city's public safety strategies to have a safe summer  on May 23, 2013.

Expect to see more Boston police in the neighborhoods this summer as part of the city’s summer public safety plan.

Increasing cop bike and walking beats is just one of many ways the city plans to ensure a safe summer. Using technology, increasing engagement with the community and offering opportunities to youths were some of the main points highlighted by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on Thursday, in a press conference with city police, school and human services personnel.

Along with increasing bike and walk beats, Boston Police’s current class of recruits will be deployed to target heavy crime areas after graduating in July. In addition, two new “Safe Street Teams” will be added in July in the Harvard Avenue area of District B-3 and the Newbury Street area of District D-4. 

Boston Police are also synching up 100 percent of all surveillance cameras with the city’s DVTEL, BRIC and emergency services systems, which will allow any camera within 1,000 feet of an incident to automatically turn in the direction of the incident, according to a press release.

“I have directed my summer safety teams to do more this year. We will be more proactive, more visible and more available to the public than ever before,” Menino said in the press release. “We will not tolerate anyone trying to disrupt summer in Boston with violence.”

Already Boston Police have made a huge dent in possible violence with this week’s Operation H that targeted drug distribution and other crime in Roxbury. As of Tuesday afternoon, 75 individuals were facing charges, and the Youth Violence Strike Force will continue to work in the area to stop gang activity.

But Boston leaders aren’t waiting for people to come to them—they’re going to the people. Starting in June, Violence Intervention and Prevention teams are beginning a door-to-door campaign to let people know about summer programming for youths and residents. One such event is the Boston Centers for Youth and Families’ first Girls’ Night IN, an overnight event targeting 50 girls ages 13 to 15 to talk to them on topics of health, safety and empowerment.

On Aug. 6, Boston will host its second annual National Night Out, with more than 1,000 Boston residents expected to attend across the city.

There are many public safety watches and groups, organized in conjunction by police and residents. Neighborhood watch groups and police community service officers will conduct “flashlight walks” to bring residents out together in their neighborhoods in the evenings.  

Keeping people busy is a good way to stem violence, and the city is hosting movie nights in parks across the city, as well as sports tournaments and exercise and nutritional sessions. And many of Boston’s teens, approximately 10,000, according to the city, are already enrolled in the city’s summer jobs program.

Residents are also encouraged to call Boston Police Department’s Party Line at 617-343-5500 to help reduce incidents, or call 911 to report crime. 

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