Today Mayor Thomas Menino and Police Commissioner Ed Davis are pleased to announce the expansion of the highly successful “Safe Street Team” initiative. The expansion of the walking beat program is the latest community policing effort focused on a proactive and preventative crime reduction strategy. Effective immediately nine new ‘Safe Street Teams’ will be deployed in areas experiencing violent crime and disorder.Currently three teams, which are comprised of six officers, have been deployed for six months in areas including Downtown, Grove Hall and Bowdoin and Geneva. A Boston Police Sergeant directs each team and their walking beat covers several city blocks. These teams have been hugely successful in deterring crime in their assigned area and making important and meaningful connections with residents. Mayor Menino stated, “The expansion of this program is an important strategy to decrease the crime rate and improve police-community relations. I support the Police Commissioner’s commitment to community policing and am proud of the work performance and dedication demonstrated by our officers every day.” In addition to the existing three teams, nine new Safe Street Teams will cover the following geographic areas: Eagle Hill (A-7/ East Boston), two teams in Codman Square (B-3 Mattapan/Dorchester), Morton Ave and Blue Hill Avenue (B-3 Mattapan/Dorchester), Egleston Square (E-13/ Jamaica Plain), Blue Hill/Talbot Ave/Franklin Field (B-3/ Mattapan/Dorchester), Lenox/1850 Washington (D-4/ South End), Dudley/Orchard Park (B-2/Roxbury) and an additional team will be added to Downtown Crossing/Boston Common/Theater District (A-1/Downtown). The identified locations are data-driven decisions. Working closely with the intelligence unit and district commanders, geographic areas were chosen based upon concerns related to violent crime over periods of time. Placing walking beats in these areas lead officers to develop a sense of ownership, engage strategic problem-solving, sustained presence and guardianship. In addition, officers walking beats develop other competent guardians, such as local businesses owners and community members, who assist in enforcing safety standards. Safe Street Teams allow officers to have sustained, meaningful contact with business owners and families and provide a valuable opportunity to address quality of life issues effecting local residents. The Sergeants for each team will have the ability to determine whether their team each night will walk the beat or use bicycles. Each ‘Safe Street Team’ is considered a long-term assignment. Police Commissioner Davis stated, “Mayor Menino and I are committed to implementing strategies that reinforce our dedication to community policing. I am confident that this initiative is an effective way for Boston Police officers to continue to strengthen ties with our communities, address quality of life issues and deter crime. Commissioner Davis added, “Walking beats get police officers out of cruisers and back into the neighborhoods. They allow officers to meet residents, speak with them, hear their concerns and develop a consensus on behavior for a neighborhood.”