As summer rapidly approaches in the City, Acting Mayor Kim Janey held a press conference on May 27 to address summer safety in the city. She was joined by Boston Police Department (BPD) Superintendent-in-Chief Greg Long and District Attorney Rachael Rollins at the BPD headquarters in Roxbury.
“Collaboration is how we respond to emergencies in Boston,” Janey said. “It is also how we will make this summer a safe and joyful one all across our city.”
Janey said that Part One crime is down 21 percent citywide, and down 25 percent from the five year average. “This is good news,” she said.
She said that “we also know that COVID has compounded trauma,” and was a factor in the increased violence seen in Boston and in cities across the country over the past year.
“This past year has exposed long-time inequalities and exacerbated trauma in our city,” Janey said. The collective trauma from these losses has deepened the need for healing in our communities.”
Janey announced that her “comprehensive 2021 summer safety plan that aligns our city funded work with our community-based programming that connects our work to our goals to address and prevent violence.”
She said that the plan will be implemented in five separate sections, the first of which includes increasing engagement activities for the city’s youth, such as the Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) “SuperTeens” program for 13 and 14-year-olds who are too old for summer camps and prepare them for employment opportunities. Janey also said that she has proposed in the budget to make BCYF general membership free of cost this year.
Janey said the second part is to “strengthen our work to cool gang hotspots,” and the third is to help neighborhoods connect to resources “that help them respond and recover from violence. The fourth part is to “expand outreach and engagement for specific groups of residents,” such as young adults between the ages of 17 and 24 “who have been identified by law enforcement as most susceptible to firearm violence.”
Lastly, the plan aims to “promote positive activities and community engagement in our shared public spaces,” Janey said.
Janey also addressed the issue of fireworks, which became a huge problem citywide last summer with many residents sending in complaints.
“Fireworks are dangerous, illegal explosives,” Janey said. “The loud bang is triggering to veterans and others in our community who have experienced trauma from gunfire. Let’s all stay safe and let’s all enjoy the summer without fireworks.”
Janey said if fireworks do become an issue, residents should report it to 311.
In order to create a safe and enjoyable summer for all, Janey said that the city is working closely with various community-based organizations to help carry out these plans.
“Maintaining public safety is a citywide responsibility that we all share,” Janey said. “Working together, we will identify and address the root causes of violence, create pathways to opportunities for our youth, and strengthen relationships.”
For more information about the summer safety plan, visit www.boston.gov/news/mayor-janey-announces-2021-summer-safety-plan.