BOSTON

Community Leaders Address Recent Uptick in Youth Violence in Boston

Community leaders say the pandemic, the changes in learning at school, and reduced activities have traumatized students…one reason they believe is responsible for the spate of recent violence

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Two Suffolk University students were attacked by a group of juveniles while walking through Boston Common, an assault that’s keeping classmates on edge.

“Always travel in groups,” said Suffolk student Sydney Tietz. “Know your surroundings, always look around, and make sure that no one’s following you or anything like that.”

Investigators say the five suspects were 11 to 14 years old, and the same group is responsible for several unprovoked attacks like this one in Downtown Crossing and the vandalism at this nearby bar.

“I think it’s kind of surprising that they’re like preteens but I think that as women we always have to just be aware,” said Suffolk student Stephanie Moy. “That’s just like our lives.”

The same group of teenage and pre-teen kids is believed to be responsible for a series of unprovoked attacks and property damage around the city over the last week.

Outside a McDonalds in Roxbury – where investigators say the same group assaulted customers and employees this week – community leaders came together Friday afternoon.

“Our mothers, our grandmothers, our children, should be able to walk safely in our neighborhoods,” said Rev. Wille Bodrick II. “And it is up to us to ensure that safety.”

Jobs are seen as a key in stemming youth violence so they’re working on a new platform on the website for the 12th Baptist Church to list jobs for teens this summer.

“Which will serve as a one-stop show where youth can access and families can easily access opportunities for youth to be able to take them out of harm’s way this summer,” said State Representative Chynah Tyler, who represents the 7th Suffolk district.

Community leaders say the pandemic, the changes in learning at school, and reduced activities have traumatized students…one reason they believe is responsible for the spate of recent violence.

“We know trauma that is not healed will ultimately end up resulting in something far greater,” said Pastor Traci Jackson from the Urban League. “And I believe that’s a lot of what we’re seeing right now.”

Most of the suspects involved in these incidents have been identified.

Investigators are not able to prosecute anyone under the age of 12 but the others could face charges.

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