Safe Homes gets 2 guns

May 30, 2008
By

DAVID TABER

Close to two months after its unveiling, the Boston Police Department’s (BPD) Safe Homes Initiative has taken two guns off the streets, according to the department’s blog, Bpdnews.com.

The program—an effort to get guns out of the hands of youths and off the streets—shields households from firearms possession charges if adults give police permission to search their homes for firearms.

From its conception, the program has faced stiff opposition from community activists, based in part on concerns about the police conducting home searches without a warrant. Because of that opposition, plans to pilot Safe Homes in neighborhoods in Dorchester and Roxbury were scrapped and the pilot was launched only in Egleston/Jackson Square area on the border of Jamaica Plain and Roxbury in late March.

But that limitation only means that the department is limiting its advertising campaign to the area. While BPD spokesperson Elaine Driscoll told the Gazette that both calls came from Roxbury, she could not say what neighborhoods they came from.

“I’m not going to get any more specific. One participant was upset about [the information divulged in the] blog post,” she said.

According to the post, a parent agreed to let police search her home on April 30. She was advised “of the policies and procedures related to the anti-gun initiative and she agreed to a consensual search of her home.”

In the other case, the post said, a “local youth worker” contacted police “stated that he had been given a firearm by a concerned parent, who located the firearm after she had conducted her own search of her child’s bedroom.”

Weapons were recovered in both cases, according to the post.

The post also listed two other instances when citizens called police about retrieving firearms. “This latest information is encouraging and indicative of increased collaboration with our community that has resulted in a 40 percent decrease in shooting statistics,” BPD Commissioner Ed Davis was quoted as saying in the post.

Asked whether she considered the Safe Homes Initiative as success, Driscoll said, “removing even one firearm off the streets of Boston is a success…Hopefully this will inspire other action from people who feel the program is a good fit for them.”

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