UNITED TO FIGHT VI­O­LENCE

Com­mu­nity lead­ers band af­ter re­cent run of homi­cides

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By KATH­LEEN McKIER­NAN — kath­leen.mckier­nan @boston­her­ald.com

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Bos­ton po­lice Com­mis­sioner Wil­liam Gross and other com­mu­nity lead­ers stood side by side yes­ter­day to send a mes­sage that they are work­ing to­gether to curb vi­o­lence in Bos­ton’s streets de­spite homi­cides that have dev­as­tated the com­mu­nity in the past week.

The mayor’s of­fice, along with the po­lice, Suf­folk County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment, Bos­ton Cen­ters for Youth and Fam­i­lies, and other com­mu­nity and faith-based groups met yes­ter­day at the BCYF Tobin Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in a show of sol­i­dar­ity and to strengthen col­lab­o­ra­tive work aimed at pre­vent­ing vi­o­lence, city lead­ers said.

The ef­fort to as­suage pub­lic fear of ris­ing crime comes as the city grap­ples with six homi­cides that rocked city neigh­bor­hoods since Oct. 5. There have been 45 homi­cides so far this year, up from 42 this time last year, Bos­ton po­lice said.

City lead­ers asked for the com­mu­nity’s help.

“Clearly we have to step up our ef­forts and do more work,” Walsh told re­porters. “We need to work with the com­mu­nity. My only ask for the com­mu­nity to­day is that if you see a per­son that is go­ing down the wrong road, maybe tap them on the shoul­der and talk to them and try to help them in find­ing them­self and how they move for­ward and let them know there are ser­vices avail­able.”

“One homi­cide is too many,” Gross said, adding he is hop­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the re­cent slay­ings come to fruition. “I wish we didn’t have to have in­ves­ti­ga­tions but only when we are to­gether, work­ing as a uni­fied front, can we pre­vent more homi­cides and sense­less acts of vi­o­lence. No fam­ily should feel as though they are aban­doned out there. You, in the com­mu­nity, de­serve a sense of jus­tice too.”

Mona Lisa Smith, pres­i­dent of Moth­ers for Jus­tice and Equal­ity, said it has been a dif­fi­cult week for fam­i­lies in Bos­ton — some of whom are bury­ing loved ones.

“Hope is what is go­ing to keep us strong in this fight for jus­tice and equal­ity for all,” Smith said. “Hope is what is go­ing to keep guns off our streets. Hope is what is go­ing to keep our youth in a job. Hope is what is go­ing to trans­form the minds of those that are think­ing about com­mit­ting a crime. There is no per­fect so­lu­tion to what is hap­pen­ing in our city to­day when we wake up and have to un­der­stand that we lost these fam­i­lies.”

“We have to unite as a com­mu­nity,” Smith con­tin­ued. “We are the ones be­ing af­fected by this vi­o­lence. We are the ones los­ing our chil­dren. We are the ones that are hav­ing the prob­lem. The solutions lay within us. What do we need to do to end this vi­o­lence?”

STAFF PHOTO, ABOVE, BY CHRIS CHRISTO; STAFF FILE PHO­TOS, BELOW, BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI

GROUP EF­FORT: Bos­ton po­lice Com­mis­sioner Wil­liam Gross ad­dresses the me­dia yes­ter­day af­ter a meet­ing at the Tobin Com­mu­nity Cen­ter re­gard­ing the re­cent spike in vi­o­lence, in­clud­ing a shoot­ing on Itasca Street, below left, and a shoot­ing at a bar­ber shop on South Street, below cen­ter.

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