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The “Boston Model” in a Business

A major component of the “Boston Model” pertains to operating “on the principles of partnership, problem-solving and prevention” (BPD, 1995). The prime objective was to enhance the quality of living by focusing on the future of citizens’ security and the criminal justice systems. The Boston Police Department is aware that crime amongst youth and specifically youth violence has to be dealt with by involving several different services. The strategy will have to include means of interventions and a combination of preventive and enforcement measures. The efforts primarily aimed at preventing the incidents of victimization of a younger section of society and committing crimes by youth.

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The model considers that all initiatives must commence with preventive measures, which is perhaps the best way of introducing interventions. Inventions and enforcement measures are the main methods to ensure the commitment of all who are engaged in the efforts. The forceful manners in which youth crimes are committed require the use of a multi-cultural approach. The success of such a program depends heavily on government agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol and the Department of Justice. All these agencies work in tandem towards strategizing on the problems relating to youth violence (Boston Police Department, 1995).

The police in Boston aimed at combating violence amongst youth by discouraging and preventing gangs from indulging in illegal activities. The approach entailed reaching out on a large scale towards community and religious leaders in internal areas where youth violence took place. The Boston project helped a great deal in increasing the legitimacy and effectiveness of the police in communities that had hitherto not trusted the department.

The Boston Model comprises two distinctive and divergent sequences of events. In the first one, inter-agency working groups were created by the Boston Police Department whereby researchers from Harvard University, police department personnel, and some other criminal justice agencies collaborated in the research process to determine the problems associated with the city’s youth and the related violence and criminal activities. This group found that the problem was strongly present amongst small groups of delinquents who were intensively engaged with the street gangs in Boston.

Such working groups responded by developing a strategy termed “pulling levers”, which used a model that aimed at deterring and curbing youth violence. Police and other officers were in direct touch with gang members in communicating to them that all wrongdoings would be dealt with very swiftly and strictly with sanctions being imposed immediately. They were also informed that they could be arrested and prosecuted for such offenses and that the policy included early cancellation of parole for both small and big offenses.

The project dissuaded gun violence amongst youth by way of the intense legal reactions to violence and by publicizing in neighborhoods about the introduction of such policy measures. Intense communication strategies were used amongst gang members and officers of the police department and probation department.

In generalizing prevention amongst the gangs, not only were efforts made amongst those members who had been picked up for violence but initiatives were also aimed at creating a change in standards amongst gangs in Boston in encouraging gang members to prevent each other from engaging in violent activities. Since a violent act by one gang member would activate a concentrated effort on the entire gang by the police and probation officers, gangs were induced into reining in their aggressive members.

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The second sequence of events in this regard was the introduction of an “umbrella of legitimacy”, which allowed for the settlement of police interests and the communities within the city that were made the center point of the Boston Gun Project. A new climate had to be established in Boston given the racial climate prevailing within the city over the conflicts of desegregation and a succession of scandals about the unjust treatment of African Americans by the police.

This was essential so that citizens in the city could adopt and partake in police exercises. The Boston Gun Project was introduced to build authenticity and legitimacy for the police endeavors in ending violence amongst the youth by interacting with the Ten Point Coalition. This coalition comprised of about forty ministers from about forty churches in different parts of the city of Boston and assisted a great deal in checking the violence that prevailed at the time. This collaboration proved to be very sensible since the law enforcement agencies in Boston and the Ten Point Coalition had mutual and allied objectives.

The coalition collaborated with the law enforcement outfits to infuse the sense of community standards in opposing the violent practices of gangs. The Coalition preserved its integrity and authority in the community by holding on to its autonomy from the law enforcement agencies; it even criticized the police at times while concurrently cooperating with it in reaching out to criminally functional youth.

After the implementation of Operation Ceasefire, Boston Gun Project, Operation Night Light, policing of neighborhoods, tighter laws for offenders, and prevention and intervention initiatives, a striking decline in the number of serious crimes has been observed in Boston. The reduction in homicides and other major crimes is primarily due to the combined effect of the wide-ranging initiatives and multi-pronged approaches adopted by the Boston Police.

Other positive developments have also occurred regarding the partnerships in the city being institutionalized. Consequent to the efforts, law enforcement agencies regularly consult communities in deciding upon programs and schedules for neighborhoods. The success in Boston has enabled the city to become a model in the country for the reduction of gun violence amongst youth. The Boston Police Department has been awarded the Innovations in American Government Award and Operation Ceasefire was honored with the Herman Goldstein Award for using the most effective strategies for solving problems.


Boston Police Department, (1995). The Boston Strategy on Youth Violence, BPD Headquarters.

Kennedy David, (2009). Boston Strategy To Prevent Youth Violence. Web.

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