A harsh winter and increased police presence helped decrease violent crimes by 15 percent in Boston, experts said.
When comparing the first three months of 2013 to the first three months of 2012, Boston Police determined 11 out of 12 police districts saw decreased crime, with Charlestown seeing the greatest decrease at 31 percent, according to statistics released by the Boston Police Department Tuesday.
The only neighborhood with a crime increase was Allston-Brighton, which experienced a 19-percent increase over the last year. There, burglaries increased from 57 cases in 2012 to 127 in 2013, according to the statistics.
“What the police do has an implication on [crime rates,] and it’s also been a pretty rough winter,” said Jack Greene, professor and former dean of the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University.
“When [police] spend time looking for guns or gun problems in an area, they’re likely to increase their arrests,” Greene said. “They’re paying attention, and I think they should continue to do that.”
In Boston, 31 shootings took place in 2013, one more than in 2012, coupled with two more gun-related arrests than last year, according to BPD statistics.
In addition to police involvement, a spokesperson from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s office said in an email the city has created various measures to prevent future violent crimes.
The spokesperson said the city is working with the Boston Centers for Youth and Families to prevent children from turning to crime, and also works with the BPD to shut down gang activity and stop other violent crimes.
“Violent crime is not the only focus,” the spokesperson said. “We remove graffiti, fix broken windows, improve street lights and simply listen to what people in the communities want.”
Greene said BPD has done well with patrolling Boston each day, too.
“The reality is, in comparison to other cities, Boston has a good standing when it comes to public safety,” he said.
Though Boston has managed crime well, not enough is being done to prevent young people from turning to lethal violence, said Sarah Flint, lead organizer for Mothers for Justice and Equality, a Boston-based anti-gun violence group.
“Homicide is us losing our children to violence,” she said. “We’re losing them, or they’re being critically injured, and losing one child is too many.”