BOSTON

Boston Leaders Address ‘Traumatic' String of Violent Incidents

Recent violent attacks in Downtown Crossing, Chinatown and other parts of Boston have residents and businesses concerned

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Violent crime has surged across Boston over the last week, worrying residents and business owners and prompting the mayor to call the recent uptick in violence "very difficult" and "traumatic."

Police arrested five teenagers after cellphone video showed them brutally attacking a woman in Downtown Crossing Monday night, reportedly because they didn't like that she wore her hair in braids.

Police said the incident was one of several recent assaults and other issues involving teenagers in Downtown Crossing.

"This uprising of all this violence that I keep hearing, and I don't get it," said Laura Flynn, who has worked downtown for decades. "I think I would think twice, honestly, walking by myself through the Downtown Crossing here or through the Theater District late at night."

Business owners are also troubled by the recent crime wave.

"It's a problem, especially with the kids, the teenagers," said Karl Volker, who owns a souvenir shop in Downtown Crossing. "We are really worried — they come in. We changed our business from a regular retail store to souvenirs, just not to be exposed to these kids."

Other parts of the city have also dealt with violence in recent days.

Two women were stabbed and suffered life-threatening injuries after a fight outside a bar in the Theater District early Wednesday morning.

In Chinatown, two men were shot and were critically hurt after a street fight early Sunday morning.

"It's a wonderful area. It does have challenges. I'll be the first to admit that," said Boston City Council President Ed Flynn. "The police patrols are increasing now. The bike patrols are increasing."

Flynn also said the city is exploring installing additional surveillance cameras in troubled neighborhoods.

Although some violent crimes, such as homicides and robberies, are down from last year, others are up.

Non-domestic aggravated assaults have jumped by 13% citywide, according to data from the Boston Police Department. Non-violent crimes, like commercial burglaries, are up 66%, and car thefts shot up 35%.

"This has been a very difficult and traumatic week in the City of Boston," Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement Thursday. "We are working urgently across our city departments to invest in keeping our streets safe through violence prevention and intervention."

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