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Boston summer safety measures announced

May 21, 2019

Public Safety initiatives

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Public Safety

Mayor Walsh and Commissioner Gross announce a continued commitment to community policing, access to services, and prevention initiatives through summer months

Building on his commitment to strengthen public safety in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross, city officials, community organizations and clergy members to discuss plans and initiatives the City of Boston will implement in an effort to reduce violence throughout the summer months. Mayor Walsh today also announced Tracy Litthcut and Rufus J. Faulk as co-directors of the Mayor's Office of Public Safety, which studies, develops, and puts in place violence intervention and prevention programs and policies.

"Our focus through our summer strategy is to ensure our residents feel safe in their community each and every day," said Mayor Walsh. "With our partners in the community, and throughout our neighborhoods, we're working hard to prevent crime in Boston by providing positive opportunities for people, and a path away from violence. Together with our community partners, we'll continue to use every tool we have to make sure all residents are safe and supported through our prevention, intervention, and response work."  

Under the leadership of Mayor Walsh and Commissioner Gross, the Boston Police Department continues to build on a strong foundation of community policing, prioritizing relationships with youth and the community as the key to solidifying trust and building relationships in Boston's neighborhoods. BPD's work starts with positive interactions in Boston's communities and in school classrooms, and includes proactive prevention and diversion for at-risk youth and their families, providing pathways away from violence for those who are ready to make a change.

Overall crime is down in Boston by nine percent and total violent crime is down 12 percent, with property crime down eight percent, and non-fatal shootings down five percent. Year-do-date, 292 guns have been recovered from Boston's streets, which does not include fake guns or replicas.

"We work very closely with our city and community partners to prevent violence and provide opportunities for those in need," said Commissioner Gross. "While this is a year round effort, we are especially focused on the summer months. We will be running programs and activities for youth and children in every district, and connecting at-risk youth and families with resources and opportunities."

The BPD has strong partnerships and collaborations with many agencies, non-profits, and community based programs, with more than 175 programs and services across seven city departments. Programs include:

  • An array of year-round district activities with youth;
  • Support for families of homicide victims and victims of domestic violence;
  • Home visits and referrals of at-risk youth to social workers;
  • Youth dialogues with community partners;
  • Coffee with a Cop, flashlight walks with residents, and Shop with a Cop
  • Academy training officers to better interact with youth;
  • Reentry programs for returning offenders to school safety days with special needs populations.

Boston's work is comprised of a multi-pronged approach:

1. Prevention, as partners work to engage Boston's young people in positive activities and education.

This includes Boston's Summer Youth Jobs Program, mentoring, after school programs, BCYF activities, and the BCYF streetworker program. Boston also supports the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, which intervenes with teens likely to use firearms.

2. Boston's public safety work also includes a strong focus on intervention, intervening with youth who are already involved in violence, or are at a high risk of being involved in violence.

Boston's programs work directly with gang-involved youth. These include the BPHC Violence Intervention & Prevention Program, Peace Walks, National Night Out, Coffee with a Cop.  

3. Finally, Boston works to respond to trauma that has occurred, ending the cycle of violence by helping communities heal.

Boston has dedicated Trauma Response Response Teams, six neighborhood-based teams and one citywide mobile team, in addition to a 24-hour trauma hotline.

"Our shared efforts continue to focus on preventing violence from happening in the community," said Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez. "By engaging thousands of young people and their families year round and in the summer, the City works hard with our community partners to create opportunities for all youth to get on meaningful pathways to success."

In addition to announcing Boston's summer safety strategy, Mayor Walsh today also announced Tracy Litthcut and Rufus Faulkas co-directors of the Mayor's Office of Public Safety. The Mayor's Office of Public Safety studies, develops, and puts in place violence intervention along with prevention programs and policies. The Office of Public Safety includes the Office of Returning Citizens, which supports those who return to Boston after being released from state, federal, and county incarceration facilities each year, and works to help those who were previously incarcerated. The Office also includes My Brother's Keeper, a national initiative that addresses persistent opportunity gaps faced by young men of color.

Tracy Litthcut is the former Director of Youth Services and Deputy Director of Youth and Young Adult Development, and has over 25 years of executive level public and nonprofit management experience. He is a recognized national expert on juvenile justice and public safety policy, in addition to being a recipient of the Clinton Administration's Innovation in American Government Award and the Dr. Martin Luther King's Dreamer Award.

"I'm proud to be able to serve the residents of Boston, and use my national and local experience to help create safer lives for all our residents," said Litthcut.

Rufus J. Faulk is the former director of victim services at the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, and was previously the program director at the Boston Ten Point Coalition, responsible for development and initiating of the Boston TenPoint Coalition's youth violence reduction plan, targeting some of Boston's most proven at risk adolescents and young adults. Faulk has over ten years of experience leading services for vulnerable populations, and will receive his doctorate in Law and Policy from Northeastern University this summer.

"I look forward to joining Mayor Walsh, Tracy Litthcut and Boston's public safety agencies as we work to provide more opportunities to Boston's young people, and end the cycle of violence and trauma," said Faulk. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to share my experience here in Boston, and work with all our partners to ensure a safe city for all."