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Amid Spike In Violence, Consalvo Calls For More Cops, Expanded Use Of Technology

This article is more than 7 years old.
City Councilor Rob Consalvo (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
City Councilor Rob Consalvo (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Mayoral candidate Rob Consalvo is calling for a 10 percent hike in the police force and greater use of technology to fight crime.

Consalvo, a city councilor, unveiled his public safety plan in two phases this week as a wave of violence made an ever larger imprint on the race to succeed Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

The ruling in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida almost two weeks ago sparked local debate and protest.

And a spate of violence in Boston, including the murder of Amy Lord — abducted from a South Boston street early Tuesday morning — has made the issue even more immediate.

Consalvo, speaking with reporters on a late morning conference call Thursday, said residents are eager for an expanded police presence.

"I think it's critical that we have manpower on the streets that can not only enforce an arrest, but it's community policing — it's patrols," he said.

Asked about how the city would pay for more officers in an era of constricted local aid, he said he would prioritize public safety in the city budget — even if that meant adding officers slowly.

Consalvo, who has spoken repeatedly of building on the successes of the Menino administration, said he would boost the mayor's after-school and summer jobs program — adding 15 percent more jobs as part of a broader effort to curb crime.

He also called for a city-run probation department, working in coordination with the state-run program, to ease the re-entry of convicts and cut down on recidivism.

As a councilor, Consalvo pushed to pilot the city's ShotSpotter program, an acoustic technology that alerts the police when a gun is fired. This weekend, he called for citywide implementation.

Consalvo also advocated for a voluntary registry of public and private surveillance cameras so police can quickly track down video footage of an alleged crime.

On Thursday, he spoke of linking cameras to the ShotSpotter program, so they can swivel and capture a shooting in progress. "We could have better, more strategic use of cameras, without creating a surveillance state," he said.

Consalvo said his public safety pitch was in the works for months and was not a response to recent events.

In a field of 12 mayoral candidates, getting attention for public safety proposals — or ideas of any kind — is proving a challenge for all involved.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, another mayoral candidate, has a leg up when it comes to crime — thrust into the spotlight by the jump in violence this summer and a break in the decades-old Boston Strangler case.

He's pledged, as mayor, to push for state legislation he coauthored updating gun laws and expanding wiretap authority.

Michael Ross, another city councilor running for mayor, convened a hearing on violence. John Barros has spoken of his work as executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, which has pushed to turn around parts of Roxbury.

And Charlotte Golar Richie, a former state representative, is hosting a youth summit Saturday — in response to the Trayvon Martin ruling — focused on jobs and violence.

This program aired on July 25, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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