The Boston Police Department (BPD) and Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST) have been collaborating for more than 10 years to serve the community’s most vulnerable residents—particularly those who come to the attention of the police. Since 2011, Master’s-level BEST clinicians have been available to assist BPD officers on calls for service involving individuals exhibiting signs of mental distress, to provide mental health assessments on-site in the community or at the police station, and to deliver rapid access to community mental health, substance use, and psychiatry services. BEST clinicians have access to a broad continuum of mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring treatment resources, many of which constitute evidence-based best practices.
The goal of the co-response program is to provide community-based psychiatric crisis services to de-escalate and stabilize nonviolent people experiencing psychiatric emergencies. By utilizing a co-responder model, our clinicians are able to be on site at the first point of contact, and thus can assess for acute psychiatric symptoms and triage the person appropriately. The clinicians help to ensure that people with mental illnesses are able to avoid further criminal justice involvement while providing much-needed therapeutic interventions. After triaging an individual on the scene, the clinicians often help stabilize the situation and routinely pass cases along to the general BEST team for a follow-up/home visit. The clinicians and the assigned officers also frequently transport people experiencing a mental health crisis and drop them off directly to the BEST Urgent Care Center, thus avoiding emergency departments. Only those individuals displaying acute psychiatric symptoms such as suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, acute psychosis or acute medical symptoms are transported to local emergency departments, either voluntarily or under the authority of a Section 12A (Application for an Authorization of Temporary Involuntary Hospitalization) issued by responding officers or a psychiatrist.
Through a re-allocation of BPD overtime funds beginning in 2020, the BPD now has funding to support 15 BEST clinicians (14 full-time and 1 part-time), meaning that there is at least one clinician assigned to each of the 11 police districts. These funds are also used to provide clinical supervision and to support two clinicians dedicated to working directly with the BPD’s Street Outreach Unit (SOU). Our BEST clinicians are also heavily involved in providing BPD officers with mental health training, including co-facilitating trainings at the Academy for new recruits and co-teaching several sessions at the BPD’s new DMH-funded Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC). This 40-hour training, which is being implemented primarily by the SOU in partnership with the Academy, incorporates the fundamental of CIT (recognizing signs and symptoms of mental illness, verbal and non-verbal de-escalation skills, etc.), but tailors the training to specific needs and resources encountered in Boston. Since May of 2022, over 100 BPD officers and about 20 representatives from external law enforcement and first responder agencies have attended the training, which has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants.
The community violence trauma support line (617) 431-0125 is operated by the Boston Public Health Commissioner. It is free and confidential, 24/7/365. Trained professionals provide support to emotionally traumatized and concerned community members on a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year basis. Consultation is also available to partner organizations who support community members. Any resident or worker in Boston can call when they are exposed to trauma due to community violence. They can call when the incident occurs or years after, there is no time limit. Live people work to answer calls, it is not a call center. Please leave a call back number, you do not have to leave a name, and staff will call you back in 30 minutes. They can talk with you about how to begin to address trauma and connect to services.
Boston PAL is non-profit dedicated to promoting positive relationships between the community and members of the Boston Police Department. PAL supports programs and initiatives in Boston that IMPACT, INSPIRE and EMPOWER our youth and guide them towards a successful future.
Roca finds and focuses on young people at the center of urban violence – those who are traumatized, full of distrust, and are trapped in a cycle of violence and poverty that traditional youth programs alone can’t break. Roca believes that to heal the trauma of urban violence and the extreme racial disparity of its impact, it’s going to take all of us. Roca also builds relationships with the institutions young people interact with – like the police and other system partners – to spark new thinking about working with young people who are traumatized and stuck.
In addition to partnering with Roca to work with youth, BPD is partnering with Roca on to bring Rewire4 training to our officers. Rewire4 is a Cognitive Behavioral Skill Based Practice designed specifically for Police Officers in the field. It gives police methods, skills and tools they can use when they are out on the street responding to people and events in real time. It helps officers understand the brain science and trauma that results in the need to intervene and methods to effectively intervene. BPD is implementing the train-the-trainer program with a goal of training all officers.
Message and Data Rates May Apply
As part of our effort to cultivate innovative partnerships in public and private sectors, the Boston Police Department collaborated with Hill Holliday to launch the Text-A-Tip tip line in 2007, the first of its kind in the United States. Anytime, anywhere, individuals can simply text the word “TIP” to CRIME (27463) and report a crime anonymously to our Crime Stoppers unit.
Text-A-Tip engages the community and assists the BPD in our mission to reduce violence and strengthen public safety initiatives. In the event of high-profile crimes, Crime Stoppers assists the affected Districts by distributing brochures and pamphlets.
To raise awareness among the public, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) donated ad space in subway cars, platforms, and buses. Additionally, radio stations donated airtime for public service announcements during peak hours throughout the city.
Text-A-Tip has proved an effective tool, with tips leading to drug, gang, and violent crime arrests. Crime Stoppers received approximately 423 texts in 2012. With the events of the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, the unit received 333 texts during that month alone.
Crime Stoppers Mobile Terms and Conditions
If you see a crime in progress or need to report an emergency, please call 911. By participating in the Boston Police Department Crime Stoppers Mobile Program, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions presented here. The Boston Police Department ("BPD") makes best efforts to ensure the program is available on most major wireless carriers; this program is available on participating carriers only and therefore BPD cannot guarantee this program will work for all participants. Although the program is complimentary to participants, standard text messaging rates may apply. Check with your carrier and wireless plan for details.
For your safety, you should always delete all text messages from Crime Stoppers (27463) from your inbox and your outbox.
Crime Stoppers Important Information
How to submit a tip
To text a tip to the Boston Police Department (BPD) Crime Stoppers Mobile Program, you must have text messaging enabled on your phone and subscribe to a participating cell phone carrier. To begin your tip session, text the word "TIP" to the number 27463, which spells the word "CRIME" on your phone's keypad.
You may also always submit a tip by calling 1-800-494-TIPS.
While handset menus differ by carrier or model, here are some basic steps on how to compose a text message for "Text the word TIP to CRIME (27463)"
Find "Messaging" or "SMS" off your phone's main menu.
Create a new text message or send text.
When composing your message- Enter the number 27463 as the mobile # or in the "to" line then enter the word, TIP, as your message (TIP is not case-sensitive).
Hit "Send" to send the message.
You will receive a response from Crime Stoppers shortly, which will start the txt dialogue.
When you complete your tip submission, for your safety, you should always delete all text messages from 27463 from your text message in box and out box.
What is text messaging and how do I know if I can send or receive a text?
Text messaging is also known as SMS or "short message service." Text messaging is a way to communicate on your mobile by sending or receiving plan text messages. To determine if you can send text messages, it is best to contact your wireless provider or refer to your mobile device's manual.
What is Crime Stoppers?
The Boston Police Crime Stoppers Program highlights unsolved crimes of violence in the local media, appealing to the public for information. Users may submit tips either by calling a toll free tip line number 1-800-494-TIPS or via text messaging, by sending the word "TIP" to CRIME (27463). The line is answered and monitored by Police Officers and trained personnel who forward the information to the appropriate investigators.
You will not be asked to reveal your identity to the Police in order to provide information about a violent crime and the Boston Police will not be able to trace the text message in any way. If your information results in the arrest and indictment of an offender, you will be eligible for an award of up to $1,000.
Types of crimes to submit
Crime Stoppers wants information on every type of crime, not just those covered in the media. The text tip line is not traced, and we are not interested in the user's identity. We believe Crime Stoppers offers a way for callers to rid their neighborhoods of crime SAFELY.
When to submit a tip
With the BPD Crime Stoppers Mobile Program, you may submit a tip anytime, anywhere, 24/7.
How to check the status of a potential reward
If you have been issued a tip code for your tip, please call 1-800-494-TIPS to check on the status of your case. You will not be asked to disclose your identity. Simply provide the six-digit code you were issued via text message. Remember, you may be eligible for a reward if your information related to a violent crime results in the arrest or indictment of an offender.
Cost to send
Although the BPD Crime Stoppers Mobile Program is complimentary and requires no purchase or fee for participation, message & data rates may apply. Check your mobile plan for more details. Message frequency e.g. 2 msg/qry per tip submitted to Crime Stoppers Text-A-Tip service.
Find your carrier
The BPD Crime Stoppers Mobile Program is compatible with Verizon, AT&T/Cingular, Sprint, Nextel, T-Mobile®, Boost, Virgin Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular®, Cellular One, MetroPCS and Dobson phones. To participate, your mobile phone must be text message-enabled.
At any time, from your mobile phone, send a text message with the word "HELP" to CRIME (27463) for program information. You may also contact 1-800-494-TIPS to check on the status of a submitted tip.
No mobile phone information is collected by the Boston Police Department as part of this program. Your text tip is completely anonymous to the Boston Police Department and is only traceable by you via a six-digit tip code that will be provided to you. Any information you submit is shared with the Boston Police Department Crime Stoppers Unit and relevant Boston Police Department investigative officers.
To stop the program
To stop the program at any time, you can opt out via text message. Send a text message with the word "STOP" to CRIME (27463). You'll receive a one-time opt-out confirmation text message. If you choose to, you can submit a text tip again at a later time by texting the word TIP to CRIME (27463).
The BPD Crime Stoppers Mobile Program is available beginning June 15, 2007 and is ongoing until further notice.
Currently, the Service is only applicable to crimes committed in Boston, Massachusetts and only functions in the United States. You understand and acknowledge that you may not sign up for, access, or attempt to access or use the Service from countries outside of the United States. You agree to abide by U.S. and other applicable export control laws and not to transfer, by electronic transmission or otherwise, any content or software subject to restrictions under such laws to a national destination or person prohibited under such laws.
The Boston Police Department is not responsible for incomplete, lost, late, damaged, illegible or misdirected e-mail or mobile messages or for any technical problems, malfunctions of any telephone lines, computer systems, servers, providers, hardware/software, lost or unavailable network connections or failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmission or any combination thereof. The Boston Police Department not responsible for any liability for damage to any computer system resulting from participation in or accessing or downloading information in connection with this program.
ANY ATTEMPT BY A PARTICIPANT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEB SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS PROGRAM IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAW. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH INDIVIDUAL TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. The Boston Police Department reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify or restrict access from any individual who tampers with the program process. In the event of a dispute regarding any entry, the entry will be deemed made by the authorized account holder of the internet address submitted at the time of entry (i.e., the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization responsible for assigning IP addresses for the domain associated with the action). The Boston Police Department assumes no responsibility for undeliverable emails or mobile messages resulting from any form of active or passive email or mobile filtering by a user's internet service provider / mobile provider and/or email client or for insufficient space in user's email or mobile phone account to receive email or messages. The Boston Police Department reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this program should a virus, bug, or other causes beyond the control of the Sponsor corrupt the administration, security or proper operation of the program. In the event of termination, a notice will be posted on-line. Sponsor reserves the right to modify the promotion or disqualify participants if fraud, misconduct or technical failures destroy the integrity of the program as determined by Sponsor, in its sole discretion. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.
Is there someone in your life who is violent or controlling towards you? Have you been sexually assaulted by either a stranger of someone you know? Are you concerned that your child may have been abused or exploited?
If you are looking for assistance with navigating the legal system and understanding your rights as a victim or survivor of domestic abuse or sexual assault, the Boston Police Department’s Family Justice Group and the Family Justice Center (FJC) of Boston can help.
The BPD’s Family Justice Group consists of four units working together to enhance victim safety and improve offender accountability:
Domestic Violence Unit (DVU)
DVU detectives investigate incidents of abuse among intimate partners, people who are dating, or family members. Abuse may include physical violence, threats or intimidation, stalking, harassment, verbal abuse, and other behaviors used by one person to control another. DVU detectives can be reached at (617) 343-4350. In addition, the DVU also has civilian DV advocates assigned to several police stations in the City who can assist survivors with safety planning, crisis intervention, and referrals to community-based resources. To speak with a DV advocate, please call the DVU or contact your local police station.
Sexual Assault Unit (SAU)
Detectives assigned to SAU investigate reported incidents of rape, attempted rape, and indecent assault. SAU works closely with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center to provide a victim-centered response to sexual-based violence. The Sexual Assault Unit can be reached at (617)343-4400.
Crimes Against Children Unit (CACU)
CACU investigates reported incidents of physical and sexual abuse of children, as well as crimes involving child pornography and internet enticement of minors. CACU detectives can be reached at (617) 343-6183.
Human Trafficking Unit (HTU)
HTU detectives work with the MA State Police and the FBI to investigate alleged crimes in which a person or group of persons uses force, fraud, or coercion to obtain or maintain a person in service, labor, or commercial sexual exploitation. HTU detectives can be reached at (617)343-6533.
These four units of dedicated investigators are housed within the Dee Kennedy Family Justice Center (FJC) of Boston, a program of the Boston Public Health Commission. The FJC partners with the Boston Police Department and several local victim service organizations to assist both adult and minor survivors of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Among the organizations partnering with the BPD and FJC include:
- Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence
- Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
- Casa Myrna
- The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers
- Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County (an FJC on-site partner)
- The Network/LaRed (an FJC on-site partner)
- My Life My Choice
- EVA Center
- Dress for Success Boston (an FJC on-site partner)
The FJC is located at 989 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, MA 02215. For more information call (617) 779-2100, or visit the FJC website.
The North Star Personal Alert Program is a voluntary program for parents, guardians, or caretakers of children and adults who tend to wander or are a flight risk from a specific location (e.g., home, school, nursing home, etc.). This initiative helps individuals who may have difficulty communicating with first responders or who do not understand the potential danger faced by him/her. The program particularly serves individuals with Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorders and those with Alzheimer’s disease.
To ensure the welfare of an individual, the Boston Police Department and other emergency services in and around the City use a comprehensive database containing information provided by the parents, legal guardians, or caretakers. This information helps first responders ensure the individual receives any necessary services.
We hope that residents will take full advantage of this initiative and assist first responders with the safe return of loved ones. Community members can enroll in North Star by contacting the BPD at (617) 343-6503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office of Police Accountability and Transparency (OPAT) exists to investigate complaints of police misconduct. Our office ensures that the Boston Police Department’s internal affairs review process is fair and thorough. We also review existing and proposed Boston Police policies and procedures.
Implemented by the Boston Police Department in 2007, Shot Spotter serves as an acoustical technology that precisely locates where gunshots have been fired providing immediate notification. On average, notifications arrive one to two minutes before 911 calls. Sometimes, notifications arrive without a 911 call. This state-of-the-art program and enhanced response time better enables us to respond to individuals in need of assistance, identify hotspot locations, recover evidence, locate people in possession of guns and to focus resources.
The Boston Police Department in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston created YouthConnect, formerly known as the Youth Service Providers Network. With focus on Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roxbury, and the South End neighborhoods. YouthConnect currently places licensed clinical social workers in six (6) of our district stationhouses and three (3) specialized units (the Youth Violence Strike Force, the School Police Unit and the Domestic Violence Unit located at the Family Justice Center) to provide prevention, intervention and advocacy services to youth between the ages of 10-24 years and their families. Youth are referred directly from police officers and since its inception, YouthConnect has served over 17,000 youth and families.
YouthConnect’s objectives are for young people to exhibit fewer high-risk factors, take ownership of their decisions, engage with key community resources, be better equipped to make positive life choices, and be on track to a more hopeful future. Using our four-tier service model that includes individual or family therapy services, clinical case management and resource coordination, YouthConnect evaluates success based on the level of completion on the below objectives:
- Provide trauma-informed mental health and advocacy services to referred youth and families as deemed appropriate by YouthConnect social workers.
- Conduct safety planning with youth regarding victimization, perpetration, and retaliation.
- Build additional supports for young people to ensure a safety net of caring professional adults.
- Enhance family stability and supports.
- Coordinate services for families between varied social service agencies and juvenile justice providers to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear, minimize duplication, make appropriate treatment strategies, and maintain cultural competency.
- Reduce high-risk behaviors that are associated with arrest and incarceration.
YouthConnect works to address the underlying problems and social issues that contribute to juvenile crime and delinquency by working with the entire family, not just the youth. YouthConnect works to maximize their efforts by aligning them with (and using them to inform) community-wide strategies. Across Boston, YouthConnect staff collaborate with other violence prevention programs and initiatives to ensure that young people receive the services and supports necessary to their success.
YouthConnect’s community-based mental health services are free, voluntary and confidential. For more information visit www.bgcb.org/youthconnect
When an individual with cognitive conditions such as autism, developmental disability, dementia or Alzheimer’s becomes an active wanderer or a flight risk from their home, we recommend a safety net tracking bracelet. BPD has a grant that can purchase the bracelet for the individual. Work with families to help provide a safety plan for that individual.
The Customer Service line for Safety Net which is (877) 434 6384 and the email is email@example.com