On Thursday, amid an outpouring of civic anger over the rioting in Vancouver, people are asking what went wrong.READ MORE: Severe Thunderstorms Possible In Central, Eastern Massachusetts
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.
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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.
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“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.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
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.
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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.MORE NEWS: To Do List: Food Festival, Fluff Festival, Kids Festival and More
And there’s a lesson Boston can learn from Vancouver’s nightmare: don’t ever get smug about the risks of large public celebrations.