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Public Safety

The safety and health of every neighborhood requires resources for public health, youth development, trauma supports, and community-led anti-violence efforts. Whether in our schools or on our streets, public safety should be built around restorative justice and community trust. From ending gun violence and domestic violence, to reforming our crisis response infrastructure, building wellness in our city means dismantling racism in our institutions and setting a new standard for accountability and community oversight.

Policy PrioritiesHow We Will Lead

Reimagining and grounding public safety in public health

A national and citywide reckoning with racial injustice has created fertile ground for the reimagining of public safety as public health. It’s time to re-evaluate our City’s responses to trauma and allocation of resources. We must improve agency coordination and simplify access to resources, divert 911 calls regarding homelessness and mental health issues to public health professionals, improve street teams’ infrastructure, and expand partnerships with hospitals to spread public health information. Read more about Michelle’s plans for public health here.

Dismantling racism in policing

It is all too clear that our city’s public safety structures have not kept all of us safe, particularly our Black residents. We must take concrete steps to dismantle racism in law enforcement by demilitarizing the police, banning weapons like tear gas and rubber bullets and practices like no-knock warrants that endanger our residents of color. We must also establish an independent civilian review board with subpoena power to investigate police misconduct and close the loopholes in the body camera program in order to build trust between BPD and our communities. We must also dismantle ableism in policing and ensure that Bostonian’s have access to emergency services that can provide the appropriate mental health support, particularly for those with disabilities.

Supporting our youth

The surest way to combat community violence is by creating opportunity. We need to invest in our youth by ensuring access to paid summer jobs and opportunities during the school year. We also need to elevate youth voices and let young people lead the way in reimagining public safety in their own communities. That starts with meeting youth demands to remove police from Boston Public Schools and ensuring all students have access to trauma services, counselors, and other wrap-around services.

Combating violence in our communities

Our public safety structures must address the realities of domestic violence, gun violence, and violence against LGBTQ people, especially nonbinary residents, including by coordinating the medical, counseling, and social support services that survivors need to recover and thrive.

Cracking down on hate crimes

Hate crimes against immigrants, people of color, LBGTQ+ residents, and Jewish and Muslim residents have been increasing in recent years, and they are too often compounded by cultural and linguistic barriers that can keep survivors from seeking and receiving help. We must eradicate the discrimination, intolerance and bullying that seed these despicable hate crimes, fighting the ideologies that sanction and encourage hate and working for every community space to be safe and welcoming.

Ending racial disparities in our criminal legal system

We must rethink our criminal legal system with a data-driven, progressive approach that moves away from the carceral approach to minor non-violent offenses that disproportionately impacts immigrants and residents of color. Our public safety system must work in collaboration with community partners to implement evidence-based diversionary alternatives to arrest, detention, prosecution and incarceration that promote safer and healthier communities. Reforming our criminal legal system also requires ending the failed, racially discriminatory war on drugs; dismantling the discriminatory gang database; and investing in re-entry services for formerly incarcerated people.

Aligning public safety with an agenda for safe streets and transit justice

Rethinking our streets and transportation systems is urgent for public health and safety – particularly during the pandemic. By investing in public transportation and reallocating street space to pedestrians, cyclists, and people who use mobility aids, we can work toward a pandemic recovery that is more equitable and safer for all residents.

Addressing underlying causes of crime and criminalization

Too many of our neighbors, especially in communities of color, are living with untreated trauma. We need to prevent violence by making equitable investments in our neighborhoods and interrupt the cycles of violence by providing survivors with supportive services. At the same time, we must dismantle other systems of violence inflicting trauma upon Black residents and communities of color, including housing instability, food insecurity, transit injustice, mass incarceration, and the climate crisis. By thinking holistically about public safety through a public health lens and redirecting funding into education, housing, health care, and other basic needs, we can alleviate the trauma caused by over-policing while investing in a safer and more equitable future.

Michelle's RecordWhat We’ve Done Together So Far