Daily Archives: December 14, 2010

BPD: Shootings Up, Firearms Arrests Down In 2010

Published December 14, 2010

Boston Police car (fruitflavor/Flickr)


Boston Police say shootings rose about 16 percent in 2010 over 2009, but police made fewer firearms-related arrests.

With 2010 nearly over, the BPD has released crime statistics (PDF) covering Jan. 1 through Dec. 12, as compared to the same period last year.

Homicides are up dramatically — 46 at this time last year, compared to 73 this year. Police say most of those victims died from gunfire, but officers made 12-percent fewer arrests for firearms offenses.

Reports of burglary jumped 19 percent citywide. But crimes of all other types, including rape, aggravated assault and larcency, are down with double-digit decreases for robbery and vehicle theft.

The only beat to see a rise in overall crime was Area A, which includes Downtown, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, Charlestown and East Boston.

And the neighborhoods with the biggest overall drops in crimes this year? Area C, or Dorchester and South Boston.

Cigarette Firm Found Liable For $71M In Smoker’s Death

Published December 14, 2010

The plaintiffs said Newport ads like this one targeted young, black smokers.

The plaintiffs said Newport ads like this one targeted young, black smokers.

A Boston jury has found a cigarette maker liable for $71 million in a suit alleging the company targeted black children in Roxbury in the 1950s and ’60s.

The plaintiffs had showed jurors a video deposition of Marie Evans, recorded before she died eight years ago from lung cancer. Evans blamed Lorillard, Inc., for getting her and other children in the neighborhood addicted to Newport cigarettes.

Lorillard said it will appeal the decision.

WBUR’s David Boeri and Lisa Tobin covered the groundbreaking case last month:

On the school playground, next to the swings and jungle gyms, people would come to hand out free cigarettes to black children. At first, she would trade them to her sisters for candy. By age 13 — envying the woman handing them out — Evans had become a regular smoker.

“She was a very attractive woman,” Evans said. “Model look, look that every young girl wanted to have.” Evans said the woman was dressed “voluptuously … very sexy looking.”

A sexy look, a sexy package — the cigarettes were free and the image of glamorous black smokers offered hope in the dingy projects in Roxbury, Evans said.

The Globe is reporting Lorillard must pay $50 million of the award to Evans’ estate and $21 million to the smoker’s son, William Evans. A scheduled hearing this week could result in a higher cash award for punitive damages.

Update: A spokesman for Lorillard, the defendant, e-mailed me this statement:

Lorillard respectfully disagrees with the jury’s verdict and denies the plaintiff’s claim that the company sampled to children or adults at Orchard Park in the early 1960’s. The plaintiff’s 50-year-old memories were persuasively contradicted by testimony from several witnesses.  The company will appeal and is confident it will prevail once the Massachusetts Court of Appeals reviews this case.

Previous coverage:

Tuesday Morning: Fall River’s Losses, Stowaway’s Mom Speaks

Published December 14, 2010

What’s news on a cold Tuesday morning in Boston:

Fall River has been hit hard with wartime casualties this year. Army Spc. Ethan Goncalo, 21, is the fourth Fall River service member to die this year. The Army is investigating his death, which is described as non-combat-related. (Globe)

The mother of a teen stowaway says he was afraid of heights. Jonette Washington said “it can’t be true” that Delvonte Tisdale bypassed airport security in Charlotte, hid in the wheel well of an airliner and fell to his death over Milton. (Globe)

A taxpayers advocate has gloomy predictions for next year’s state budget. Mike Widmer says it’s unlikely the economy will grow enough to fill a $2 billion budget gap. (WBUR)

RelayRides, an innovative Cambridge startup, is moving to San Francisco. That’s Boston in a nutshell: Brilliant inventors just don’t stay here. (Xconomy via Universal Hub)

Harvard says a clumsy staffer spilled urine all over library books about gay issues. Not a full-bladdered vandal. It’s still unclear, um, how the vial of urine got there. (Herald)

The Yankees did not sign free agent Cliff Lee. Sorry, Yanks, he’s headed to Philly. (Time.com)