Opinion » Editorial

"..there are simply too many guns on the city's streets,"

by . .
Thursday Jul 23, 2015

News Analysis

This week's South End News front page shows just some of the weapons confiscated by Boston Police since April 1, 2015. While gun related homicides are down nearly 50% (25 in 2014, January 1 - July 5; 12 this year), shootings are much higher. So far this year there have been 114 shootings, compared to 86 last year. And that's just gun fire that hits a victim or that police see. The number of reports to BPD of "shots fired" in Boston has also increased.

This may be news to you.

Although Boston continues to see crime rates drop, the city is still a very dangerous place for many. Local mainstream media routinely ignore the serious crime happening in Boston, unless it happens to an "innocent", like a child. You can read about murders in Maine, but Boston crime victims barely get a mention. By not covering the adult victims of Boston crime, the media is implying that their deaths are less "innocent", and their lives less worthy of coverage. We've seen this before during the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis-gay men "deserved" their death while straight people and children were "innocent victims". Let's learn from our mistakes.

With so many of the shootings happening in Mattapan, Roxbury, and Dorchester, why is South End News devoting our resources to the issue?

First, the notion that "it isn't happening in my neighborhood, so why care?" is a dangerous one. Let's put aside the issues of humanity, and focus on selfishness. Boston is not the size of Los Angeles. You could walk to many of the sites of recent crime from your stoop. Many of the shootings involve shooters in cars which, obviously, can transport shooters from Mattapan to Roxbury to the South End in under 15 minutes. South Enders were shocked, shocked that shots were fired on Columbus and West Newton a few weeks ago, even though shots have been fired on a regular basis less than a mile away.

Second, there is no local print or web media devoted to Mattapan or Roxbury. The Dorchester Reporter and Mission Hill Gazette do great work, but these neighborhoods are without representation. Crime reporting takes money and resources (which is why I'm so critical of The Boston Globe's lack of attention). It's important that "Boston Strong" mean ALL of Boston.

And what of the police? The safety of officers and detectives is also of paramount concern. Take a moment to read how some of these weapons were confiscated. The routine traffic stop is far from routine. It's essential to note that Boston Police confiscated the weapons shown (and many others) while demonstrating remarkable restraint and extraordinary judgement. There is no room for a bad call or a misjudgement.

If you're interested in taking control of your own crime news, visit http://bpdnews.com, the Boston Police Department's information site. All of the images and and information on the featured weapons are from the site. You can keep up with all the good and bad that the BPD deal with. You can also visit www.universalhub.com for updates through the day. For those of you who want unedited, old fashioned scanner-type crime news, follow STACO COMMUNICATIONS @stacos on Twitter.

The number of guns BPD catches is breathtaking, but not nearly as breathtaking as the number still out there.