Homicides across Boston declined considerably in 2019 over the prior year, along with a downward trend in some other violent crimes reported by police, statistics released by the department this week show.
Authorities handled 38 homicides citywide — notably less than the 56 cases reported in 2018 — tying with 2015 for the lowest homicide rate in the decade.
However, technically speaking, the 2019 statistics include one murder that was ruled a homicide that year but happened in “prior years,” Boston police say.
The large majority of murders, or 29 cases, in 2019 were fatal shootings, the numbers show. In 2018, Boston experienced 48 fatal shootings.
Police Commissioner William Gross said the lower homicide numbers stem from several factors, including efforts by Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration and public health officials to promote awareness of mental health and trauma services, and the increase in academic, artistic, and athletic programs for the city’s young residents, The Boston Globe reports.
He also said police and other first responders have strong relationships with their neighborhoods, pointing to how many residents quickly report crimes and cooperate with authorities, according to the newspaper.
“There is a true buy-in with community policing,” Gross said. “We really do look to the community as our true partners.”
But the city saw an increase in nonfatal shootings.
Year over year, those incidents rose by 11 cases, up to 164 from 153 in 2018, according to the data. The department also says the statistics, which compare figures collected between Jan. 1 and Dec. 29 in both years, are preliminary and could change.
Still, the number of reported rape and attempted rape cases and robbery and attempted robbery cases both dropped over the prior year, down to 224 from 251 and 1,038 from 1,166, respectively.
Burglary, including residential burglary, down from 1,416 to 1,278 reported cases; larceny; and auto theft all declined over the past year compared to 2018.
But Boston also saw increases in both domestic and non-domestic aggravated assaults, 897 cases up from 849 and 1,930 from 1,888, respectively, the statistics show. Commercial burglary, an exception to the decline in other burglary cases, also rose to 357 cases from 306.
Police made more “firearm-related” arrests in 2019, recording 504 arrests — more than the 460 logged in 2018. Those statistics include “default warrant arrests for past firearm charges and arrests for assault by means of a firearm where no gun is recovered, in addition to straight firearm arrests with a gun recovery,” the department said.
Overall, serious “part one” crime was down 5 percent year over year, dropping from 18,240 incidents in 2018 to 17,342 in 2019, according to the data. Those crimes include homicide, robbery and attempted robbery, rape and attempted rape, domestic aggravated assault, non-domestic aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.