Yes, Boston Is In A Gun-Violence Crisis

The one-per-day mark has been breached

By  | Boston Daily | June 22, 2013 4:46 pm


Jamarhl Crawford of Blackstonian, and others, have been keeping a very public count of thenumber of shooting victims in Boston since the Boston Marathon bombing. The idea is to draw attention to the ongoing crisis, in hopes of getting some resources and effort put toward doing something about it.

It’s been an effective campaign, but for most people the number has no real resonance; no context. The count stood at 67 (fatal and non-fatal) as of Friday — prior to the apparent early-morning triple-homicide on Intervale Street. Few people could tell you if that is an unusual number of shootings for the city.

In fact, it is. As I first wrote seven years ago, Boston’s level of gun violence breaks down quite simply: during relatively non-violent times, the city averages one shooting victim every other day; during crisis times, the average hits one per day. (The number does vary a little during the calendar year, but not nearly as much as you might imagine.)

It’s really that simple. During the worst years of 1990 to 1995, the average was 1.2 per day; during the nine “Boston Miracle” years that followed, the average was 0.5 a day. Then trouble returned, and it went back up to around one a day for a while. For the past four years, 2009-2012, it’s stayed steady between 0.6 and 0.7 per day — not as good as it could be, but well below crisis level.

Well, in 66 days since the Marathon, Boston had 67 shooting victims. The deaths in Roxbury make it at least 70 in 67 days.

In fact, going by Boston Police Department data, the city has been averaging one a day since roughly late March — a nearly three month span.

It might turn out to be just a blip. But three months is a pretty good indicator. There really is a problem in the city, one big enough to call a crisis.


Letter to the Mayor

June 24, 2013

Honorable Thomas Menino
Mayor of Boston
Boston City Hall
One City Hall Plaza
Boston, MA 02201

Dear Mayor Menino,

Many of us respect you, and your work, as Mayor of the City of Boston over these past 20-years.

David S. Bernstein of the Boston Daily said, “Well, in 66 days since the Marathon, Boston had 67 shooting victims. The deaths in Roxbury make it at least 70 in 67 days. In fact, going by Boston Police Department data, the city has been averaging one a day since roughly late March – a nearly three month span. It might turn out to be just a blip. But three months is a pretty good indicator. There really is a problem in the city, one big enough to call a crisis.”

Many have stated that you will not call a State of Emergency regarding homicides because you do not what this on your watch and legacy, I do not believe that. I know that you honestly care about the hurting families and the survivors of homicides in Boston. I also realize that that you were instrumental in creating the Mayors Against Illegal Guns with Mayor Bloomberg.

What better living legacy could you have but to do something morally and politically that has not been done by any Mayor in any major urban city in the country. You know, as I know, that many have counted me out because of some of my health challenges and because I have tried to keep a low profile over the past three and a half years as we are building a Radio and TV Network for the churches in Boston.

Today we ask you to join us in the declaration of the State of Emergency regarding homicides in Boston. We have declared a Community State of Emergency as citizens and residents of Boston. Will you join us?

If you say no you are saying to us that the problem with homicides in Boston does not merit the same energy and commitment as the killing of three precious people at the Boston Marathon.

In calling for a State of Emergency we are asking for the following:

1) A special commission on homicides in Boston’s Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods, established by the Mayor’s office, consisting at minimum of city, state and federally elected and appointed leaders, public safety and neighborhood leaders, clergy, social service agencies, behavioral scientists and academics.

2) A special assistant and neighborhood liaison in the Mayor’s office to focus and study this issue locally and nationally and connect with all of the other major U.S. cities in seeking a resolution for this national phenomenon in urban America.

3) An appointment of an independent urban scholar (not connected to our city administration) to research and study why the homicides are occurring in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. This appointee is to work with the Mayor’s office, law enforcement officials, community activists, pastors, neighborhood youth, and families who have had their loved ones taken from them by homicide. This urban scholar will focus on the homicides and put together a long-term strategic plan for how we can stop homicides and the urban terrorism in Boston, as well as how to sustain the peace in the streets.

We are not calling for curfews, shutting down the city or bringing in the National Guard, but we are asking Boston officials to develop an effective, collaborative public safety plan and stop minimizing the lives of our families.

Finally, we are calling on our city to recognize that one homicide is one too many and deserving of all of the attention and commitment we are calling for, perhaps equal to the recent Boston Marathon bombing investigation.

If city officials and/or our mayoral candidates do not call a State of Emergency regarding homicides, we will not be able to garner the focus and attention that is needed to save lives or to maintain Boston’s status as a world-class city.

Pastor Wall



Deaths show sad double standard


You don’t have to live in Boston’s shooting zone to recognize the obvious.

You bring huge attention to the murder of a black man from Dorchester when the dead man is linked to somebody famous, in this case New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, whose story has transfixed the public and news media for nearly a week.

Otherwise, forget it.

 Two young men and one young woman were shot to death Saturday at a house party in Roxbury. Before that a young man was shot in a car beside his 20-year-old girlfriend — and a 4-year-old. Before that 23-year-old Brianna Bigby, who’d gone to college and worked two jobs, was killed when somebody, apparently after the man beside her, killed her instead.

There’s been 70 little-noticed shootings in Boston since the marathon, report police and Blackstonian, community activist Jamarhl Crawford’s website. He’s reported daily on the disparate treatment of the two tragedies.

Political and community leaders here, particularly black leaders, are doing next to nothing to stop the shootings, the Rev. Eugene Rivers told me yesterday.

“We need a state of emergency,” said antiviolence crusader Rev. Bruce Wall. He’s petitioned the mayor, and every mayoral candidate, to push for that. “Attention on Hernandez?” said Wall. “What about our kids?”

“Had that not been a sports figure, we’d hear what we heard about my son. That (Odin Lloyd, the victim found near Hernandez’s house) was a ‘casualty of war.’ ” So said Ron Odom, whose son Steven was killed at 13. “I didn’t know this was a war zone,” Odom said of his Dorchester neighborhood where many own homes, work 9-to-5 jobs, have two-car garages and cookouts in their backyards, just like middle-class families in Quincy or Braintree.

His wife, Kim, said we just don’t expect murders in Quincy, Braintree or Newtown, Conn. “But when you say that, you’ve accepted that they do happen in other places, so it’s not an emergency here.” But Kim Odom said she never thought a murder could happen in her neighborhood, either, until her own son was killed. That’s exactly what the mother of one young woman just killed told me Friday, though she didn’t want her name used. It’s not her neighborhood. “But the streets don’t care.”

Kim Odom says too many believe — wrongly — that families living on those streets don’t care either. Then she ticked off a list of what she and her neighbors do. Go to rallies. Marches. Anti-gun trafficking meetings. Neighborhood watches. On and on. “Tell me what are we not doing,” she said, “to end this?”

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