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A Plummeting Murder Rate Stuns Boston. But Can It Survive the Summer?

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New York Times, June 2024

Only four homicides have occurred in the city this year. Although luck has played a role, the city is bringing a high level of precision to its strategy to prevent violence. There have been four homicides in Boston so far this year, a 78 percent reduction from the 18 that took place over the same period in 2023. When city leaders in Boston set out last spring to renew their focus on violence prevention, they set a modest goal: reduce homicides by 20 percent in three years. No one imagined what the city of 650,000 has seen so far this year: four homicides, a 78 percent reduction from the 18 that took place over the same period in 2023.

Luck has played a part, the normal ebb and flow of violent crime. Yet the longer the quiet has persisted, the more pressure the city has felt to sustain it. As summer set in with a blistering heat wave, anxiety rose. Will a seasonal uptick in violence shatter the preternatural calm? “We’re not even halfway through the year, and I get superstitious,” Michael Cox, the Boston police commissioner, said in a recent interview, acknowledging his reluctance to talk too much about the phenomenon. “But we are doing so many things, and hopefully it is having an impact.”

Continue reading at the New York Times.

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