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Keller @ Large: Boston Officials Were Right To Not Allow Game 7 Viewing Party

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VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15: A person walks in front of a burning vehicle on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

VANCOUVER, BC – JUNE 15: A person walks in front of a burning vehicle on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The riots in Vancouver after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals were a far cry from the generally peaceful celebration Wednesday night in Boston.

On Thursday, amid an outpouring of civic anger over the rioting in Vancouver, people are asking what went wrong.

Just about the only area where Boston didn’t outscore Vancouver Wednesday night was in the post-game street scene. In Boston, there were seven arrests and no injuries. In Vancouver there was triple figures in both categories.

WBZ’s Jon Keller is at large:

Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern talked to the Vancouver police officers before the game, and was struck by their casual attitude toward the risk of post-game violence.

Photo Gallery: Angry Fans Riot In Vancouver Streets

“Vancouver believed this would just not happen, that the population was different, was more mature, this just couldn’t happen there. It didn’t seem like they had a contingency plan. They weren’t ready and they were overwhelmed,” said Fox.

By contrast, Boston police had a detailed security plan in place, the product of both good and bad experiences with post-game crowds over the past decade.

While Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Police Commissioner Ed Davis took heat for nixing a TD Garden viewing party, Professor Fox said Wednesday night’s violence-free celebration vindicates their caution.

Photo Gallery: Bruins Win Game 7

Meanwhile, Vancouver police are claiming the chaos was the premeditated work of a few. But the truth is, droves of onlookers readily joined in.

According to Professor Fox, the Vancouver police believed that the peaceful crowds that filled the city during last year’s Winter Olympics were proof of nothing to fear, as if that were comparable to streets filled with thousands of rabid hockey fans on a warm day.

And there’s a lesson Boston can learn from Vancouver’s nightmare: don’t ever get smug about the risks of large public celebrations.

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