Mayor Martin Walsh told a packed house at the Warren Tavern on Wednesday morning that the next step in policing Boston will be building relationships with teenagers, and addressing a rise in domestic violence.
Mayor Walsh, who spoke to more than 150 residents in attendance, said major crime is down 25 percent and arrests are down 15 percent over last year.
“That doesn’t mean people are not doing things that would get you arrested, but it means that our police are working with them and engaging with them to get them help,” he said. “When they encounter someone who is homeless or addicted, they work with them rather than arrest them.”
However, he said while that is good news, the bad news is that domestic violence is on the increase. He said they plan to address that in Charlestown and in every neighborhood.
“Domestic violence is up and it’s something that’s concerning to all of us because it’s behind closed doors,” he said “We’re working on that. No one should be afraid to come forward.”
He also said that the Police Department officers are uniquely trained, and he said that came from 2014 when he was first elected. The country at the time was in an uproar over police-resident violence in Ferguson, MO, and Baltimore. He said they developed new strategies to work with young people and the community, but he said there is one hole in that plan.
“We started looking at it differently,” he said. “Now the police go to schools like the Harvard Kent or the Warren Prescott and the little ones love to see them. We visit the older residents in Boston and they enjoy engaging with the police. We’ve lost that with the teen-age years. We need to build that up. We don’t want that to see that build in the neighborhoods and that people are scared when they see the police.”
Mayor Walsh, Dep. Supt. Marcus Eddings and Capt. Ken Fong stayed at the Tavern for some time afterward talking with residents about policing issues and other public safety matters.