Worcester Summer Impact program to start early in response to recent youth violence, police say

The suspect tried to leave the scene in the ride-share.

WORCESTER, Mass. — Officials in Worcester are starting their Summer Impact program early in response to recent youth violence in the city.

Within the past month, two juvenile suspects were arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a 14-year-old, a 19-year-old suspect was accused of shooting and injuring three teens, and a 16-year-old allegedly shot a driver who crashed into a home.

In a joint statement from Mayor Joseph Petty, the City Council, and City Manager Eric Batista, they say the rise in violence has had a harmful impact on the community as a whole.

“As an administration and elected body, with the support of the Worcester Public Schools, Governance Council on Children Youth and Families, Worcester Police Department, Worcester District Attorney’s Office, clergy, and local youth organizations, we are pursuing both acute and long-term sustainable solutions to reduce acts of violence in our community,” the statement read. “One effort that will start immediately is Summer Impact, an annual program to deter summer violence. It will begin two weeks earlier than usual this year, starting today with an emphasis on areas that have seen recent increases in violence based on crime analysis data.”

During the program, officers working shifts from 4 p.m. to midnight are assigned to walk foot beats throughout the city in pairs to address quality of life issues.

“Our top priority is to reduce violent crime and keep Worcester safe,” Interim Police Chief Paul Saucier said.

The program will run until the end of the summer.

“We will continue to have broad community conversations and we thank all of our partners as we work tirelessly to prevent and end the cycle of violence in our community,” the mayor, city council, and city manager said.

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