Boston Getting Shot Up

I haven't been following violence in Boston nearly as closely as I used to, so I don't want to jump in with a lot of analysis, but I want to point out two things that I learned along the way that should be troubling to us now.

One is that -- as I wrote a few years back -- it is highly unusual for kids age 12-14 to get shot to death. On average, this happens just seven times each month in the entire country. Even the most violence-plagued cities don't see it happen more than once every couple of years.

Yesterday's murder of a 14-year-old on Bowdoin Street is the third this year in Boston, along with Deyquan Gomez in Roslindale in February, and Jaewon Martin in Jamaica Plain earlier in May.

The secnd thing is that typically, roughly one-third of Boston's annual homicides take place between January and May. This is an odd little factoid I realized from the data: one-third in the first five months (Jan-May); one-third in the next three months (June-Aug) and one-third in the final four months (Sept-Dec). Obviously it doesn't break down precisely every year, but it's usually pretty close.

Well, with two yesterday, the city is at 26 for the year -- which means that if the pattern holds, we'd end up with 78 for the year, which would be the highest recorded in the city since the "pre-miracle" mid-1990s. [Update: With reports of a stabbing death in Hyde Park, make that 27, and on pace for 81.]

I should note that last year, 2009, was a weird anomolous year. There were 23 homicides in the city through May, but only 27 the rest of the year. So, who knows.

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