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Councilor: Mayor too soft on crime

Councilor: Mayor too soft on crime

By Coleneth Smiley Jr. and Richard Weir  |   Wednesday, July 6, 2011
dorchester shooting

Photo by Chitose Suzuki

After a bloody Fourth of July weekend that left four dead and several more injured from blades and bullets, City Councilor Charles Yancey accused Mayor Thomas M. Menino of “operating in a vacuum,” criticizing his crime-fighting strategy as the mayor announced plans to park a police detail in front of a trouble-plagued apartment building.

“We have too many murderers walking the streets of our city,” Yancey said. “I don’t think there’s a simple solution. Working with the community, partnering with young people before they get involved in gangs is preferable to reacting after the fact. He hasn’t made a strong enough commitment to the young people.”

Police Commissioner Edward Davis defended Menino’s latest strategy as a way to keep crime in check by focusing directly on the houses where it comes from.

“I understand the prevention argument, we use it very effectively, but crack dealers should be dealt with by police officers,” Davis said. “There’s no question this will reduce the violence and the disorder and the nuisance factor. People should be able to sleep in peace in their homes, and that hasn’t been happening.”

Menino wants to place a police cruiser and a lighted sign listing the city hot line outside problem apartment buildings, then bill the landlord for the detail until he meets with police to develop a clean-up plan.

Menino issued a warning to thugs: “If you’re out there, we are going to get you. You can’t hide, you can’t run. We will eventually get you. That’s what this is all about: taking the gangbangers off the street. There are too many good people out there that we are protecting. We are going to take you off the street, lock you up and throw the key away.”

Last week, Menino and Davis announced plans to target gang members’ illegal motorbikes. Yesterday, Menino and Davis appeared outside 102 Blue Hill Ave., where police have responded 105 times since May 2010. It has been the site of several violent assaults and robberies. For the families of those who were caught in this weekend’s mayhem in which four men were killed, another eight were shot and five more stabbed, the strategy comes too late.

The first to fall to gunfire was a 17-year-old Community Academy senior who was shot about 7:16 p.m. outside his grandmother’s house on Hollander Street in Roxbury, family said. Police have not confirmed the identities of the weekend’s shooting victims, and no one has been arrested in the murders.

“This is senseless,” said a woman who said she was the victim’s mother, as friends and relatives gathered at her Intervale Street home. “On a day when we celebrate our independence, he had to lose his. He just wanted to further his education first and foremost. It was about bettering himself as a man so that he couldn’t be labeled a statistic. That’s what he was trying to beat.”

A 32-year-old father of two from Randolph was killed outside his childhood home on Norton Street in Dorchester. A friend said a bullet struck him in the throat and he was cradled by his aunt as he died.

Meanwhile, the aunt of two men shot to death on Columbia Road said one was a doting father of four, while the other was a young man with special needs.

“This is crazy. We were at a family cookout last night. We had such a good time. Last I saw them they were setting off fireworks,” the aunt said.

O’Ryan Johnson contributed to this report.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1349916


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