Law enforcement in Boston expects to make dozens of arrests this summer related to serious and violent crimes in the area of Newmarket Square. It’s part of a growing effort to deal with violent crimes and public safety and health matters near Melnea Cass Blvd. and Massachusetts Ave.
The district attorney for Suffolk District Rachael Rollins announced last week that the city’s municipal courts issued 40 arrest warrants for criminal activity in and around the Newmarket Square area.
In a press release this week, Rollins noted that the group effort by law enforcement happened after several meetings between the Boston Police Department Drug Control Unit and the Crime Strategies Bureau.
Law Enforcement Identities Individuals Causing Violence
Rollins said that the collaboration between the DA’s office and the Boston Police Department had identified several people who are most likely driving the violence and profiting off the pain of others.
She said that they would be held accountable for the violence and harm they are causing. However, she noted that the crime problems in the Newmarket Square area would not be fixed in a day or two.
The increase in arrests comes as drug use disorder, homelessness, poverty in the ‘Mass and Cass’ area is a focal point in the upcoming mayoral race. The six top candidates for the job recently debated plans to address the crime problem.
In 2019, Rollins set up the Crime Strategies Bureau, which enhanced the efforts of the Juvenile, Gang, Narcotics, Human Trafficking and Exploitation, and Crime Intelligence units. The purpose was to respond to and disrupt the many crimes in the area, including violence, human and drug trafficking, and more.
3 Suspects Arrested Face 36 Indictments
Rollins said that three people arrested in that part of town in early 2021 face 36 indictments on firearms and narcotics felonies in Suffolk Superior Court.
Police say they are focusing not just on punishing criminals but also on ensuring more access to community-based treatment and services for people with mental illness and substance abuse disorder who deal with poverty and homelessness.
Rollins stressed that substance use disorder is a significant public health crisis and cannot be cured by prosecuting criminals. Law enforcement cannot address the many service needs of people suffering from mental illness and substance use disorder.
All of the city’s partners in public health and government must work together to address this public health problem and the harm that it causes by people who prey on others.
Rollins added that the district attorney’s office works with the Department of Probation, Boston Municipal Court, and Boston Medical Center to set up the Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment program. This program is funded with grants and offers mental health, substance use disorder, and social services to people facing criminal charges in local courts.
COVID-19 Pandemic Saw Rise In Violent Crime
Boston police reported a severe rise in violent crime in Boston during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially last summer, with a 30% rise in violent crime in August 2020 compared with the year before.
In 2020, Boston had a double-digit increase in homicides to 57 for the year, up from 37 in 2019.
Officials have stressed, however, that the crackdown on violent crime also will involve an expansion of social services to address the root causes of the problem.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey recently revealed a five-part plan that expands youth employment and community events, as well as addressing gang ‘hot spots’ with direct action by the Boston Police Department.
Janey noted last month that while crime overall has risen in many parts of Boston in the past year, there has been a decrease in the first half of 2021 for the following crimes:
- Attempted rape
- Domestic assault
However, firearm-related arrests have increased 30%, while violent crimes are down 20% in the first half of 2021. This illustrates how the police department is tailoring its approach by targeting known criminals for arrest.
Janey said that BPD focuses on people with records by using police intelligence and holding them accountable for their criminal activity.
Boston And State Police Review Data Trends To Stop Crime
The mayor also noted that the Boston and Massachusetts State Police review trends in data to determine the best ways to stop crime before it starts.
For example, they look at when convicted felons are coming back home from prison and watch to see if there are additional problems in their area. If so, they attempt to disrupt any violence as it occurs.
City prosecutors also are expediting criminal cases with defendants who have been charged with violent and gun-related crimes.
Janey concluded her recent presentation by noting that police and city officials are trying to make summer 2021 as safe as possible by working together to stop violence and address its root causes.