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Kids ‘scared’ to help cops; Say breaking silence will spark violence

Kids ‘scared’ to help cops
Say breaking silence will spark violence

By Natalie Sherman  |   Friday, July 15, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com |  Local Coverage

Photo by Ted Fitzgerald

Boston teens, urged by city councilors to speak out about crime, say helping cops will mark them as targets.

“People wouldn’t want to say anything because they’re scared,” said Miguel Peguero, 15, of Dorchester, one of more than 50 youth workers who attended a roundtable yesterday about youth violence.

Twenty-six people have been killed in Boston so far this year, including four on July 4 alone. As of June 13, police had reported 110 shootings in the city, a number that has spiked to more than 120 in recent weeks.

City Councilor Felix Arroyo told teens that helping cops track down those responsible for crimes is the first step to stopping violence.

“Silence is the voice of complicity,” Arroyo said at ABCD Elm Hill Family Service Center in Roxbury. “We need to start talking and put these people away.”

But his message was met with skepticism by an audience in search of other ways to make their neighborhoods safe.

“If we do start talking more, it would create more violence,” said Dorien Bazemore, 17, of Roxbury, who called Arroyo “idealistic.” “People are quiet because they’re scared to say something, because they know what’s going to happen.”

“It’s not wrong,” said Connie Williams, 18, of Roxbury, whose friend, 17-year-old James Coakley, was one of those killed July 4. “But they should be less about talk and more about action.”

Williams said she thinks police need to focus on more security and patrols and making guns less readily available.

“This is a continuous situation,” she said. “They’re looking into it, but not really trying to stop it.”

Councilor Tito Jackson said community policing efforts can be one of the most effective ways to solve the problem.

“It’s happening and I want to see more,” Jackson said after the roundtable, which was organized by ABCD. “There’s not the flow of information . . . because the streets talk — it’s just a question, are they listening?”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1351893


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