At Pioneer’s February conference on Revitalizing Middle Cities (where we released this paper), we had the opportunity to hear from the Police Commissioner and Economic Development Director for Springfield.
Dave Panagore, Springfield’s Economic Development Director, noted that the police force (and public safety) were the most important components of economic development.
Ed Flynn, the Police Commissioner, explained his approach to policing that goes beyond just reviewing crime data and seeks to find out how citizens perceive the level of crime in their neighborhoods.
The importance of this issue is highlighted in the crime statistics for the city of Boston. This data compares the crime rate over the first few months of this year, against the same period last year. With the notable, and tragic, exception of homicides, crime is down in Boston, across the board for all types of criminal activity.
But what is the perception of crime in Boston? Based on the news coverage in recent weeks, I suggest that the perception is the inverse of the reality.