(Partial) Defense of Menino

Mayor Menino is somewhat correct in his reaction to the past few days' media focus on the city's violence. This news cycle seems to kick in about every five months or so, lasts a week or so, and bears little correlation to what's actually happening on the streets. Menino is also correct that nobody pays much attention to the city's black neighborhoods except to bemoan the violence, which we claim is intolerable but then forget about. What's truly remarkable is the overwhelming number of people, especially young men, in those neighborhoods who are basically well-behaved and law-abiding: overall crime continues to drop, even though the number of "at-risk" residents of those tightly-packed neighborhoods has ballooned in the past five years.

And there are some promising early signs of scattered law-enforcement success. But Menino is off his rocker to claim, as he always does, that the city's streets are under control. The truth is, that small percentage of thugs are winning -- it's not even a close contest. And those few thousand thugs are a major quality-of-life issue for the 200,000 or so who live in the 13 square miles of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan.

Those thugs are bolder and meaner than ever, and all the shooting they've been doing over the last three years has made them better at it: the fatality rate for shooting victims has leapt from around 14% to 20% this year.

So, while shootings are down, homicides are up, especially among teens and young adults. I give you -- and Mayor Menino -- these stats I've thrown together to show you what's going on.

Homicide victims by firearm, age 25 and under, Boston.
Year         -3/31         Total
2007         13
2006         6               38
2005         6               30
2004         4               32
2003         4               14
2002         6               20
2001         1               25
2000         4               14
1999         0               11
1998         3               16

| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Talking Politics Archives