BOSTON (CBS) — Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins has issued a statement following a violent weekend in the Boston area. In the city alone there have been five homicides, nine nonfatal shootings and three nonfatal stabbings since Friday, according to Boston police.
“I am deeply troubled by the recent increase in homicides, non-fatal shootings, and violence,” Rollins said. “These murders and acts of violence harm victims and vicariously traumatize their family and loved ones, as well as the entire community where the violence occurred.”
Rollins said the coronavirus pandemic has increased economic, educational and health care disparities, creating a “recipe for disaster.”
“Notably, many of the communities where violence is erupting within Suffolk County are home to the very people who have been keeping us all fed, clean, and safe through the height of the pandemic and continue to do so as we still battle against COVID-19: supermarket employees, sanitation workers, food service and food processing staff, hospital employees, and caregivers,” she said.
Rollins praised Boston police for making arrests in two murders from the past week. She’s encouraging anyone with information about violent crimes to come forward and contact investigators.
Read the full statement from DA Rollins below:
“As I have said before, this global pandemic has exacerbated the already unprecedented rates of unemployment in certain communities, increased the number of people suffering from food and housing insecurity, expedited foreclosures and evictions, forced parents to be responsible for home schooling, significantly set back students with IEPs or for whom English is a second language and thus widening the already enormous gap between them and their counterparts, and leaving children and youth without the support and engagement provided by daycare, aftercare, or summer camp. Each of these situations alone would be accelerants for stress and potentially violence.
“When we add the current disparities in health care outcomes and access for poorer communities and the disproportionately higher rates of infection and death from COVID-19 in Black and Brown communities, all of these stressors and trauma combined are a recipe for disaster.
“Notably, many of the communities where violence is erupting within Suffolk County are home to the very people who have been keeping us all fed, clean, and safe through the height of the pandemic and continue to do so as we still battle against COVID-19: supermarket employees, sanitation workers, food service and food processing staff, hospital employees, and caregivers. They have no choice but to work because they don’t have the luxury of tele-commuting or “zooming” into their jobs. Many also don’t have paid sick leave or hazard pay. These essential, and often invisible, workers are barely provided a living wage. These epic societal failures make the violence in these communities even more explicable, traumatic, and devastating.
“I am deeply troubled by the recent increase in homicides, non-fatal shootings, and violence. These murders and acts of violence harm victims and vicariously traumatize their family and loved ones, as well as the entire community where the violence occurred. Witnesses are also emotionally harmed. The family of the person who committed the crime is deeply impacted as well. They did not engage in the violence; they did not wish the victim or their family any harm; they too find themselves in an unwanted, awful situation. You can love a family member and denounce their behavior. I know firsthand that this is true.
“In Suffolk County we are working diligently with our law enforcement partners to respond to, and proactively disrupt, violence. As shown in recent weeks, in collaboration with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners (NOB Takedown and Operation Snowfall), we are targeting violent individuals who harm and injure our loved ones and communities and removing them from our neighborhoods. In addition, this is precisely why we created a Crime Strategies Bureau within my office, to focus our attention and limited resources on the small group of violent individuals driving crime in our neighborhoods. The work continues.
“With respect to the recent murders, we have already made arrests in two of the homicides that occurred this past week. Those arrests are a direct result of the community placing its trust in law enforcement by calling 911 and speaking to investigators. That trust allows us to ultimately get answers and accountability for the victim, their families, and the community. When communities trust law enforcement we are all safer. I commend the excellent work done by the Boston Police Department in concert with my office regarding the arrests made in these most recent homicides. We will continue to work hard at keeping Suffolk County safe. If anyone has any information regarding these homicides, acts of violence, or any other crime, you can call our office and leave a detailed private message at 617-619-4000.”