Boston Police accountability and transparency
This website is intended to provide important information and data regarding police interactions with the community. We're committed to ensuring that the need for transparency in the release of data does not interfere with the privacy interests of those involved.
We will continue to expand and improve as more and better data becomes available. Associated open datasets will appear on Analyze Boston. We welcome the opportunity to share these data with the community, as well as additional resources and information. Please note: Our data may be preliminary and is subject to change.
The Homicide Investigation Unit investigates all homicides occurring within Boston Police jurisdiction. According to FBI standards, the annual homicide clearance rate is calculated using:
- the total number of new homicides in a calendar year, and
- the total number of homicides that are cleared that calendar year, regardless of the year the homicide occurred.
The reason for this is that homicide investigations can span multiple calendar years. Incidents that happened in previous years can also be ruled a homicide years later and added to the current year’s total.
Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 clearance rate is unusually low. This is because the courts and grand juries were closed during the year. The closures impacted our ability to hold offenders accountable and bring justice to victims’ families.
Rule 323 provides guidance to officers in ensuring that intelligence and information is gathered via stops or observations out in the field only on:
- persons suspected of engaging in criminal activity, or
- persons associating with those suspected of criminal activity.
The rule offers guidance on those stops that implicate an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights. It also clarifies how officers should document interactions with those suspected of criminal activity, or associates of those individuals, in a Field Interaction/Observation/Encounter (“FIOE”) Report. The report provides officers with the mechanism to describe the conditions and circumstances involved in these interactions.
FIOE data are published annually. This is due to the extensive legal review and redaction required to protect the privacy of those who are the subjects of the FIOE. The Boston Police Department (BPD) has previously released numerous reports and has published multiple years of FIOE data. This happened most recently in April 2021:October 8, 2014:
BPD released FIO study by Dr. Anthony Braga and Dr. Jeff Fagan analyzing 2007-2010 dataJanuary 8, 2016:
BPD released FIOE data covering January 2011 - April 2015May 23, 2017:
BPD released FIOE data covering June 2015 - December 2016March 13, 2020:
BPD released FIOE data covering January 2017 - December 2018May 8, 2020:
BPD released FIOE data covering January 2019 - December 2019April 16, 2021:
BPD released FIOE data covering January 2020 - December 2020
The shootings dashboard contains information on incidents:
- where a victim was struck by a bullet, either fatally or non-fatally
- that occurred in the City of Boston, and
- that fall under Boston Police Department jurisdiction.
The dashboard does not contain records for self-inflicted gunshot wounds or shootings determined to be justifiable. Information on the incident and the demographics of victims are included.
The information is updated based on analysis conducted by the Boston Regional Intelligence Center. The Center is under the Boston Police Department Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis. The data is for 2015 forward. Please note: There is a seven-day rolling delay to allow for analysis and data entry to occur.
The shots fired dashboard contains information on shooting incidents that:
- did not result in any victim or victims being struck
- occurred in the City of Boston, and
- fall under Boston Police Department jurisdiction.
This information may come into the department through:
- a 9-1-1 call
- a ShotSpotter activation, or
- an officer on-siting an incident.
Shots fired incidents are confirmed when:
- ballistics evidence is recovered, or
- in the absence of ballistics evidence, there is strong witness or officer corroboration.
This information is updated based on analysis conducted by the Boston Regional Intelligence Center. The Center falls under the Boston Police Department Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis. The data is for 2015 forward. There is a seven-day rolling delay to allow for analysis and data entry to occur.
The Boston Police Department (BPD) Firearms Analysis Unit (FAU) receives all firearms that are recovered by, or surrendered to, the Boston Police. The FAU enters the submissions into a database. Statistics found on the firearms recovery dashboard are generated from the FAU database. The automated data feed is updated daily at 3:15 a.m.
Beginning in 2021, firearms we recover that may be related to a previous year’s investigation are counted in the calendar year in which they were recovered.
Firearms submitted to the FAU are categorized using the following definitions:Crime Guns
Number of firearms involved with a crime recovered by the BPD and submitted to FAUGuns surrendered / safeguarded
Number of guns surrendered to, or safeguarded by, the BPD and received by the FAUExample of a surrender
An person’s license to carry is suspended and they are legally required to surrender the firearm to BPDExample of a safeguarding
A person turns over firearms that belonged to a relative following their deathBuyback Guns recovered
Number of firearms turned in to the BPD during a buyback program
Through a close partnership with the BEST, Master’s Level mental health clinicians co-respond with BPD officers. This improves our response to mental health-related calls for service. These clinicians can also:
- help with holding cell evaluations
- provide critical follow-up, and
- help with the mental health training of BPD officers.
BEST clinicians work very closely with the BPD’s Street Outreach Unit (SOU). Formed in early 2020, the SOU provides community-based outreach through partnerships and collaboration. In a professional, humane, and supportive manner, they help those affected by:
- mental illness
- substance use disorder, and
Through their efforts, SOU officers seek to connect people to services before they engage in criminal activity or public disorder. Much of the SOU’s focus is on the “Mass. and Cass” area. They work with:
- the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC)
- Boston Emergency Medical Services
- the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), and
- other partners on the coordinated City strategy for this area.
BEST operates independently from the BPD. They maintain their own confidential client database. Therefore, the BPD will only present monthly aggregate data as provided by these two partner organizations. The BPD does not have access to any client information per HIPAA and other privacy concerns.
The BEST dashboard includes two metrics for the BEST clinicians:
- Monthly number of incidents to which BEST clinicians co-responded with BPD officers
- Monthly number of proactive engagement and follow-ups conducted by BEST clinicians
The Homicide Unit of the Boston Police Department (BPD), in conjunction with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, investigates deaths that occur while a prisoner is in police custody.
Pursuant to statute (M.G.L. c. 38, § 4), the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office is in charge of all death investigations conducted in Suffolk County. They investigate all in-custody deaths in conjunction with BPD. They also make a determination as to whether there is a violation of criminal law. For public records requests related to these cases, please contact the District Attorney’s Office.
This dashboard contains information related to in custody deaths. Due to the infrequency of in-custody deaths, this dashboard will be updated as soon as possible following an incident. If there are no incidents in a year, the dashboard will be updated annually to record a zero for the previous year.
Please visit BPD News:
- to submit a public records request
- to submit a complaint or commendation
- for information on reporting tips anonymously through CrimeStoppers, and
- for other pertinent public safety information.
In the future, complaints can also be filed through:
- the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency (OPAT), and
- the Massachusetts Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission.
Additional data and officer information may be available through these entities in the future. Contact information for OPAT and POST will be added as that becomes available.
See also the Department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy.Community Policing
BPD continues to build on a strong foundation of community policing. We prioritize relationships with community members of all ages as the key to building trust in our neighborhoods. A major component of our community policing model is connecting those in need with services, opportunities, and resources. To that end, we have two signature partnership programs:
- one with the Boston Medical Center’s Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST), and
- the other with YouthConnect.