The Boston Police Department is once again pleased to report that violent crime continues to fall in the city with a 7% reduction, while overall part one crime is down 6%. This is the fourth year in a row where both violent crime and property crime have seen significant decreases, continuing to make Boston one of the safest major cities of its size in the country.
“It’s a story line that, for whatever reason, doesn’t get the play or attention it deserves,” said Commissioner William Evans upon reviewing the end of the year crime data. “I’m grateful and proud to say the City of Boston is one of the safest big cities in the country, and when it comes to giving credit, the men and women of the Boston Police Department most assuredly deserve a ton of it.”
Violent crime, which includes Homicide, Rape, Attempted Rape, Robbery and Aggravated Assault, has dropped nearly 10% since 2014. The City recorded a 6% reduction in violent crime in 2014, followed by a 3% reduction in 2015, a 4% reduction in 2016 and a four year high 7% reduction in 2017.
Overall part one crime, which includes violent crime and property crimes such as Burglary, Larceny and Auto Theft, dropped another 6% in 2017 over 2016 and saw a combined decrease of 18% over the past four years and an incredible 42% reduction over the past 10 years.
Said Commissioner Evans, “The numbers are impressive but more impressive is the work that goes into them. Just as important is how people feel about them. The people I talk to in the community tell me that they see the effort, they feel safe, they feel protected and they know the men and women of the Boston Police Department are working hard to make our city the safest city it can be.”
While Boston has seen seven more Homicides in 2017 over 2016, and a slight increase in Commercial Burglary (sixteen more incidents), there have been decreases in every other major crime category, including Aggravated Assaults, Rape and Attempted Rape, Robbery, Residential Burglary and Larceny.
As in years past, 2017 saw officers dedicating and devoting hundreds and hundreds of hours to community building efforts and events like Peace Walks, Flashlight Walks, Coffee with a Cop, Shop with a Cop, Operation Hoodsie Cup, Jr. Police Academy, Teen Police Academy and Big Brother/Big Sister.
“I don’t believe there’s a police department in the country that does community outreach better than us," said Commissioner Evans. "All the events we participate in, whether it’s a Peace Walk, Flashlight Walk or Coffee with a Cop, are all designed to make our city safer by putting our officers in a position to talk to and listen to the people we protect and serve. On any given day, you’re going to see officers in the community, shaking hands, handing out ice cream and making every effort to better understand the people they protect and serve. We like to think when people call us for help, they’re calling friends, not strangers.”
In 2017, officers continued to drive down crime while at the same time arresting fewer people. A goal attained by identifying and focusing on the individuals driving the violence and providing opportunities and help to those who weren’t. In 2017, Boston Police Officers arrested 4% fewer individuals than in 2017 and 32% fewer individuals since 2014, keeping our commitment of lifting kids up not locking them up.
Said Evans: “If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. There’s no such thing as a bad kid, just a kid looking for a chance and for someone to believe in him. I was a kid like that. To this day, I believe in second chances, and I believe in helping people. It’s compassionate policing and my officers exercise and utilize it every day.”
In 2017, officers took a total of 807 guns off the streets and out of the neighborhoods. An additional 164 replica guns were also recovered in 2017. Since 2014 and continuing through 2017, the Boston Police Department has recovered/removed over 3400 guns from our city.
“Taking a gun off an armed felon is one of the toughest and most dangerous thing a police officer can do," stated Evans. "Taking guns off our streets and out of our communities is an essential piece of our crime fighting strategy and it most certainly makes our city safer. We talk about the impact of one less gun. We believe one less gun can lead to one less crime, one less victim and, hopefully, one less tragedy.”
At a time when crime rates in large cities around the country continue to rise, Boston continues to experience a steady decrease in violent crime and property crime, and while the end of the year crime report for 2017 would certainly bear that out, Commissioner Evans knows the challenge of protecting and serving a large city like Boston is never ending and resting on past successes is a non-option:
“Heading into 2018, keeping Boston safe remains my number one priority. I want to thank my officers for all they do to keep our city safe, and I want the people of Boston to know that the men and women of the Boston Police Department will continue to work hard to ensure the safety of all who work, live, and visit the city in our never-ending efforts to make sure that Boston remains one of the safest big cities in America.”