Sunday, April 15, 2007

Not the Best of Ideas

As anyone in New England, especially the greater-Boston area, probably knows, Boston is in the midst of quite a spike in the number of homicides in recent years. Boston's city administrators are fully aware of the high crime rates in the city, but the problem seems to be that they have little power to control it. This is very disconcerting, especially for Menino as he was mayor for the majority of the "Boston Miracle," in which murders dropped from 152 in 1990 to 31 in 1999. As many can remember, the crime rate in Boston was a huge issue in the governor's race this past fall and when new police commissioner Edward F. Davis took over the BPD, he promised to lower the crime rates in Boston. Four months later, as crime continues to increase in the city, Davis has come out with a plan for reducing crime on the streets of Boston. While promising innovation and creative ways to battle violent crime, Davis has proposed a rather mundane solution: put more cops on the streets. However, this solution is not as easy as it sounds, as Boston police recruiting numbers are down despite several attempts to boost them. This is where Davis' proposal gets risky.

What Edward Davis wants to do is to take the recruits that are currently in school and have them graduate early so that they can be on the streets before the summer begins, which is a time that crime tends to rise with the temperature. But this is not like graduating from college early - when you get enough credits to graduate before the allotted four years that a typical undergraduate takes to graduate. The police recruits will be graduating early because classes and training will be cut to make sure that they are on the streets, which means that they are less trained than the police already on the streets. Edward Davis is playing with fire here. Remember what happened last time Boston cops were untrained? Additionally, while many have justifiably pointed to racial profiling in numerous cases of police shooting unarmed men in New York, those who defend the cops who kill unarmed men in New York point to, among an array of things, a lack of training. Boston has a very rough past in terms of race relations and putting these recruits out into the streets without all of their training is not a good idea, as the past has shown that a low amount of training can lead to police brutality. With Boston's crime rate so high and the city so volatile, the last thing the police department should be doing is adding fuel to the fire by sending out under-trained cops onto the city's streets. Peace.

Photos - Top: Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis (, Bottom: BPD police car (

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