Detectives to be added

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BOSTON (AP) – Boston’s new police commissioner says he will dramatically boost the number of homicide detectives as the city faces a spike in violent crime.

Police Commissioner Edward Davis said he also wants to make the homicide unit more racially diverse and reduce the detectives’ other duties so they can focus on solving more of the city’s killings.

“Our aim is … to better focus the investigators’ caseloads on homicides,” Davis told the Boston Sunday Globe.

The plan will increase the current pool of 22 homicide detectives by about 25 percent, according to police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll.

Davis said he hopes the renewed focus and extra resources will help improve the homicide department’s clearance rate. That’s the proportion of cases where suspects are identified and arrested during the same year as the murder.

Homicide detectives cleared 38 percent of the 74 homicides in Boston last year and 29 percent of the 75 killings committed in 2005.

That’s dramatically lower than the 62 percent of homicide cases solved in 2005 according to the FBI.

The low clearance rate is encouraging a sense of lawlessness on city streets as would-be killers see others literally getting away with murder, according to community leaders.

“When you don’t see the consequences for yourself or anyone you know, you just go and do it again,” the Rev. Miniard Culpepper, a minister in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood.

Davis said he wants to make the homicide unit more diverse because more minority detectives will boost trust in the department and help solve crime. The unit currently consists of 15 white officers, six black officers and one Hispanic.

Davis said he also wants to overhaul training for officers to have them listen to victims of crime; raise more money from the business community to fund the department’s anonymous tip lines and increase the presence of motorcycle, bicycle and other high visibility patrols in areas plagued by gun violence.



Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.boston.com/globe

AP-ES-01-21-07 1010EST

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