The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
News Features  |  Talking Politics  |  This Just In

The guns of Boston

Why this could be the most bullet-riddled summer in 15 years
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  July 6, 2006

$200 TOWARD YOUR NEXT GUN?: A sample of the guns turned in during Mayor Menino’s recent gun buy-back program (ironically, each gun was worth a $200 gift card from Target, a store with a bulls-eye for a logo).
Three months ago, Boston was averaging a shooting a day. It is an even deadlier place to live this summer. Since the start of May there have been, on average, three victims of gunfire — fatal and non-fatal — every two days. Since June 7, that figure has inched upward to almost two a day.

More people were murdered in Boston over the past two months than in any May-to-June stretch since 1990, a year that saw the highest number of homicides in the city’s history. All told, more than 200 people have been shot in Boston this year — almost 20 percent more than in all of 2003 (the last year of quiet before the current upsurge began).

And summer is just beginning; the rain is finally clearing and school has just let out. It’s no wonder, then, that residents are sending their kids to live with relatives for the warm season. Summer 2006 looks to be bloody.

A Phoenix examination of the 150-plus shootings and stabbings since May 1 shows just how widespread and fluid the violence has become within affected communities. The Codman Square area, which was quiet over the winter, has recently exploded with gunfire, as have other hot spots, including Fayston Street, in Roxbury; the intersection of Bowdoin Street and Geneva Avenue, in Dorchester, and Blue Hill Avenue between Morton and Walk Hill Streets, in Mattapan.

But here’s the rub: overall violence and crime are not on the rise. The number of shooting victims during the past 10 weeks is twice as high as it was during the same period last year, yet the total number of aggravated assaults is actually lower, as are the number of rapes, robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and vehicle thefts. In fact, other than a relatively small increase in aggravated assaults over the past three years, all major crime categories have either remained stable or declined, while the number of gunfire victims has tripled.

This fact — that crime and violence are not rising, but shootings are — deserves much more recognition than it has received. It tells us that the dramatic change in the past three years is not that more young men are turning to violence and crime. It is that they are more often armed and ready to fire.
The problem here is guns.

A new study from the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University, published in the summer issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, finds a national truism indicative of Boston’s current situation. “Gun prevalence has a more-or-less neutral effect on other crimes, including assault and robbery,” the authors write in the paper, “Aiming for Evidence-Based Gun Policy.” “Guns do not affect the overall volume of violence, but do affect its intensity.”

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |   next >
Related: Sports blotter: Steamrolled again, Trigger unhappy, The Granite State Gang, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Politics, George W. Bush, Thomas Menino,  More more >
| More
Add Comment
HTML Prohibited

 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 
[ 05/22 ]   Boston Ballet  @ Opera House
[ 05/22 ]   Complexions Contemporary Ballet  @ Cutler Majestic Theatre
[ 05/22 ]   The Hoot  @ Oberon
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   GOD HATES FAQS  |  May 19, 2011
    Editors' note: We selected David S. Bernstein to serve as our resident Rapture expert, on account of his having seen all three Kirk Cameron Left Behind series film adaptations.
  •   BLISS OF RAPTURE  |  May 19, 2011
    Okay, I'm not happy , exactly, that, as a Jew, I am excluded from Saturday's date with Heaven's eternal rewards, and will instead be left to suffer through great tribulations before perishing, with the rest of the Army of the Antichrist, as a dismembered corpse beneath a waste-deep river of blood.
  •   NO MORE MR. NICE COUNCIL  |  May 11, 2011
    By announcing his campaign for city council, Michael Flaherty immediately unleashed the bitter side of Boston politics.
  •   OBAMA'S REBIRTH  |  May 05, 2011
    It was a good weekend for the president.
    Mark this down: Tom Menino, already the longest-serving mayor in Boston history, will run for re-election in 2013.  

 See all articles by: DAVID S. BERNSTEIN

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2011 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group