BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Police bike patrols are on the move in increasing numbers over the summer months in what they call a preventive move when it comes to city violence and crime.
“They come down here and stay out, walk around, go into businesses and make sure it’s safe down here,” said Gerry who mans a cart on the Boston Common.
One of the targets is Downtown Crossing with persistent issues especially along a few blocks of Tremont Street that the head of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District says remain a challenge. “Behavioral issues and mental health issues are going on. It’s the environment of the day we’re in,” said Steve Brookes.
Boston Police made at least one arrest in the area with a combative man, which the owner of Black Seed Café and Grill on Tremont Street says is helpful but still not enough as he says he deals with drugs, fights, and people loitering outside his door. “It’s helpful for a minute when they are here. After they leave they come back as if nothing happened,” said Abraham Abraham.
Boston Police have deployed at least 30 additional bikes at hotspots throughout the city. They are less specific about where, but say it’s approachability and visibility. Parks and playgrounds to keep children safe are also among the targets for increased patrols following a recent spate of violence over the Fourth of July weekend in which ten people were shot and three killed.
While overall crime is down over this time last year, there has been a disturbing uptick in the number of homicides. The hope is bike patrols can bring a faster response. “Bikes make them mobile. If something happens and a call goes out for whatever reason they arrive faster,” said Steve Brookes.
The stepped up bike patrols are expected to continue through the summer months. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans says the strategy will be assessed after Labor Day.