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State’s top prosecutor says he wants to stop gun violence this summer | #schoolsaftey

BOSTON – The Acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts said he’s working to prevent the usual uptick in summer gun violence with a new task force targeting ghost guns.

Although the numbers show gun violence is falling in Massachusetts, many say it isn’t enough. In April, 14 school districts received funding for violence prevention in schools. By early May, 13 people had been killed in the streets of Boston, an increase by eight compared to May 2022. 

Many young people say they are sick of the violence. In April, students walked out of school to protest gun violence. In May, teens held a die-in to protest violence in their communities.  

The die-in was held at the intersection of Washington Street and Columbia Road earlier this year.

CBS Boston

“With this week marking the beginning of summer, law enforcement is reminded that warmer weather typically correlates with a spike in violent crime, particularly in urban areas. While our PSN (Project Safe Neighborhood) initiative packs a powerful punch in combatting violence by ensuring that impacted communities have the necessary tools and resources to reverse the trend and strengthen community safety, it is our hope that the Summer Violence Reduction Initiative will give local cities and towns the increased support and resources they need to have a safe and healthy summer,” Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said.

Project Safe Neighborhood cities are Boston, Brockton, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester. In May, leaders of the cities met to discuss crime trends, hot spots and enforcement efforts and to share ideas to reduce violent crime. 

Levy also convened roundtable meetings with law enforcement to discuss trends in violence, which lead to the establishment of a Ghost Gun Task Force to focus on privately made firearms, which, Levy said, have increased in Massachusetts, accounting for 10% of recovered firearms in 2022, a tenfold increase since 2020. The task force includes the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Massachusetts State Police and the Attorney General’s Office.

“As we head into the summer, a time when we historically see an uptick in violence in our communities, violent offenders are on notice to put down their guns and stop dealing deadly, addictive drugs. Kids should be able to play in a park, swim at a community pool, or get ice cream on the corner without fear of being shot or poisoned,” said Christopher DiMenna, acting special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division. 

Data from the CDC showed that in 2021 Massachusetts had the least number of gun-related fatalities of any other state. However, Jonathan Jay, a professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health, said if you look further into the data, you will find that despite its low per capita gun fatalities, Massachusetts has one of the largest disparities between white and Black fatalities due to gun violence. Violence is still concentrated in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury, with a majority of the victims being Black.

“Gun violence is an epidemic that affects us all, and one that tragically tends to spike during the summer,” said Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell. “I commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office for establishing a new task force to address gun trafficking and ghost guns as part of their Summer Violence Reduction Initiative. We look forward to a strong partnership, and progress on our shared goal of protecting communities throughout the Commonwealth.”  

The Boston Public Health Commission has a division aimed at curbing the trauma for those families impacted by tragic loss. The Neighborhood Trauma Team is spread throughout the city of Boston and consists of roughly 20 community organizations. Together, the organizations support the NTT’s mission of providing immediate to long-term care for individuals who experienced trauma as a result of violence in the community.  

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