Amid growing concern over youth violence in Boston, new data shows there has already been more kids shot in the city this year than in all of 2021.
Boston police Sgt. Detective John Boyle confirmed to NBC10 Boston on Sunday that there have been 15 shootings, accounting for 16 shooting victims who were under the age of 18, as of Oct. 20. During the same time period in 2021, there were 10 minor victims in 10 shooting incidents.
In all of 2021, there were 12 total victims under the age of 18 -- four fewer than the City of Boston has already seen in 2022.
Advocates have decried recent violence involving youth in Boston following several shootings, some of them deadly.
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Zontre Mack, 19, faced a judge in Dorchester District Court on Friday. He was the second suspect arrested in connection with the deadly July shooting of 15-year-old Curtis Ashford.
Another teenager was shot and injured in Roxbury Wednesday night.
In mid-October, someone shot and killed Rasante Osorio, 14, in Roxbury.
Days earlier, one student shot and injured another student outside Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester.
Boston youth mentor Domingos DaRosa attributes the situation we're seeing in Boston with the youth to a lack of resources that are being implemented in the spaces they occupy, noting community centers that have been closed since the pandemic continue to remain closed.
Other youth advocates like Janeen Smith-Carnes of Mass Mentoring say the coronavirus pandemic made it more difficult to reach at-risk children and teenagers. She noted that young people especially have felt isolated, remarking that outreach programs can have a positive impact.
Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox has said partnerships are key to reducing gun violence in the community.
"We're going to do all we can to make it as safe as possible, to get to zero. That's the goal. How do we do that? We enlist other people to help us do that. The community, families, making sure people get the support they need, so they can have another way or another outlet to addressing whatever issues they have," said Cox.
The Boston Police Department has been participating in the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative since 2011. Working with the Boston Public Health Commission, the police department identifies people ages 17 to 24 who have committed, and often been the victim of, gun and gang violence, connecting them with SSYI outreach workers.
SSYI case managers then work with the individuals to address their needs, which could include education, job training, and mental and behavioral health counseling.
The organizations SSYI is partnering with to provide education and career development services include Youth Options Unlimited, Mission Safe, More Than Words, Project Right, Strive, Inner City Weightlifting and Notre Dame Educational Complex.
A nonprofit organization is also working to connect gang-involved youth in Boston to higher education to break cycles of poverty and violence.
"The Uncornered Project is a way for us to help others visualize that those who are involved in violence are no different than you or me, and that they can be 'uncornered,' and that we all share situations where we have been trapped, stuck, and been in challenging circumstances," said Michelle Caldeira, cofounder of Uncornered.
Caldeira says the organization's work focuses on identifying what people need and connecting them with resources.
"Some of that is financial, that's access to opportunities, that's access to mental health support, and it's access to people who believe in them," said Caldeira. "Those are mentors who can role-model what a way out of violence and tragic situations may look like."