Nov. 16, 2010
BOSTON -- A new report from the non-profit Massachusetts Health Council, released Tuesday morning at the State House, concludes that Massachusetts is the most violent state in the Northeast.
The survey found Massachusetts had a rate of 457 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2009. By comparison, New York's rate was 385 crimes per 100,000 people. Connecticut's was even lower; about 300 crimes per 100,000 residents. While some Massachusetts crime rates have remained steady, one area showed a marked increase. Rape in the city of Boston went up by 27%.
The study also found that young black men are significantly more likely to die by homicide than young white men. According to the report, the murder rate among young blacks in Massachusetts was 36 times higher than among whites.
Representative Mary Grant is the vice chair of the Committee on Health Care Financing at the State House and a registered nurse. She said she is saddened by the uptick in violent crime, but not surprised.
“When the economy turns down, it almost always, you have violence go up,” Grant said. “And the issue is when we know those things are coming, we also often have to cut public health intervention services that in fact might help stem the tide to prevent these things from happening.”
The report advises forming public-private partnerships and coalitions among churches, police, schools and other community groups to bring violence down. It also recommends more funding for mentoring programs, tougher gun laws, and better street lighting to deter crime.
The findings are based on FBI Crime Data from 2009, and were published in Massachusetts Health Council’s report on statewide health trends.