BOSTON (CBS) – The message to teens in the city was clear: don’t choose the path of violence this summer.
“Please take advantage of the programs and opportunities that are in place for you this summer,” Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said during a press conference about summer safety on Friday morning.
In a direct plea for kids to choose peace, Conley said: “My hope for you is that you, in fact, will not resort to joining gangs and picking up guns.”
Yet if teens choose violence over peace, Conley issued a stern warning.
“If you do, we are going to come down on you very hard,” the district attorney said.
He joined Mayor Marty Walsh, Police Commissioner William Evans and other city leaders who gathered to discuss ways to stop the bloodshed on the streets, particularly among teenagers.
“We started out with prayer and we ended it with prayer, hoping we have a peaceful summer,” Evans said.
The police commissioner said one goal is to have more officers seen in neighborhoods, and that includes using a citywide police bike unit.
“We’re looking to get more visibility out there in the playgrounds, in the parks,” Evans said.
So far this year, 270 guns have been taken off Boston streets, Evans said, and the goal is to get more. But removing guns is not the only answer, he said.
“It’s all about working together,” Evans said, noting that cooperation between parents, teens, police and citizens groups is vital to stave off city violence. “Working together is the only way we’re going to solve this (problem).”