UNITED TO FIGHT VIOLENCE
Community leaders band after recent run of homicides
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?”
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.