April 7, 2008

Boston Cops Limited In Warrantless Gun Searches


Maria Cramer
Boston Globe Staff
March 25, 2008

Boston police officials, surprised by intense opposition from residents, have significantly scaled back and delayed the start of a program that would allow officers to go into people’s homes and search for guns without a warrant.

Boston police officials, surprised by intense opposition from residents, have significantly scaled back and delayed the start of a program that would allow officers to go into people’s homes and search for guns without a warrant.

The program, dubbed Safe Homes, was supposed to start in December, but has been delayed at least three times because of misgivings in the community. March 1 was the latest missed start date.

One community group has been circulating a petition against the plan. Police officials trying to assuage residents’ fears have been drowned out by criticism at some meetings with residents and elected officials.

Officers may begin knocking on doors this week, officials said yesterday, but instead of heading into four troubled neighborhoods, as they had planned, officers will target only one, Egleston Square in Jamaica Plain, where police said they have received the most support.

Police would ask parents or legal guardians for permission to search homes where juveniles ages 17 and under are believed to be holding illegal guns. Police would only enter homes into which they have been invited and, once inside, would only search the rooms of the juveniles.

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