Governor Deval Patrick, who often speaks of having been disciplined when he was a child as much by his neighbors as his own relatives, urged Boston-area adults yesterday to get similarly involved in response to a wave of violence that has plagued Boston.
There have been 13 homicides in Boston this year, up from 10 at the same time last year. Over the weekend, a 22-year-old New York woman was shot and killed after attending a party on Geneva Avenue in Dorchester.
"I realize it's a different time; it's not the '50s any more," the governor said in response to a question after addressing the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties. "But every once in a while, when that adult says, 'You know what? You're not supposed to come to work with your pants down there' . . . even when that kid rolls their eyes, they hear you. It gets through."
The governor urged parents to "start acting like that unfamiliar kid is your own kid."
During his gubernatorial campaign last year, the Democrat spoke frequently of a neighbor from his youth on Chicago's South Side who used to discipline Patrick and his friends as if they were her own children.
Yesterday, he said expanding after-school and summer job programs, as well as reducing class sizes, could also help quell the violence by putting more children under adult supervision for longer periods of time. And he cited community policing funding he has proposed to hire 250 new police officers across the state.
The governor refused to endorse or criticize the Guardian Angels, a New York-based citizen patrol force that has proposed patrolling Boston's streets. Patrick said he had not studied the idea.
But he said he did not think a solution for the violence was adding State Police patrols to the city's streets. Former governor Mitt Romney made such an offer during a spike of violence last year, but it was rejected by Boston officials.
"I'm not persuaded that the State Police necessarily help, because the idea is to have police on the beat who are familiar with the communities, who are building relationships with people and communities," Patrick said.