A recent attack on a woman walking home from the T station has spurred much talk in Charlestown lately about public safety and increased crime. But Boston Police officials say, numbers wise, crime is actually down in the neighborhood.
Charlestown experienced four robberies in the month of November, including an incident on Nov. 24 in which a local woman walking home from the MBTA station was attacked—sprayed with mace and punched and her purse stolen. Though the most recent incident was especially violent, Boston Police Captain Tom Lee said it does not necessarily signal a trend of violence in the area.
“You get one vicious robbery like that and people say the neighborhood’s not safe,” Lee said, addressing public safety concerns at a Charlestown Neighborhood Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Statistically, Charlestown averages about three robberies per month, Lee said.
And since the start of 2012, the neighborhood actually had the largest drop in overall crime in the city—down 25 percent from 2011, Lee said. The second closest drop was in Hyde Park, where crime was down 12 percent from 2011.
Out of the four robberies that occurred in November, Boston Police have made one arrest and have a warrant for two others, which they believe were committed by the same individual, Lee said. Detectives are still investigating the Nov. 24 incident, including reviewing some video from the area.
“I have confidence that we may get this person, but we don’t have him yet,” Lee said.
Though his message was mostly positive, the BPD official also wanted residents to be alert, especially during the holiday season.
“This time of year, a lot of times—it’s a happy time—but there are desperate people out there,” he said.
In Dorchester in particular, police have seen a “huge increase” in robberies for iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones. The former, Lee said, can be resold for $200 on the street.
“If you’re not comfortable pulling cash out in a public place, don’t pull you phone out,” he said. “Be careful with those expensive phones. It’s an item we’re seeing robbed in other parts of the city. We haven’t seen this yet in Charlestown, but we’d like to inform the community.”
He also recommended that residents be extra vigilant while walking alone at night.
“Use some common sense and be aware of your surroundings,” he said.
Boston Police have had at least one extra plainclothes detective driving around Charlestown in the evenings since the recent robbery, Lee said.
“Charlestown is a safe neighborhood, but things happen. We are aware, we are concerned, and we are putting out extra patrols,” he said.
Lee also wanted to clarify rumors about an incident that occurred on Halloween, in which a woman was hit in the back of the head and in the face. Though the attack was violent, it did not involve sexual assault, as some have reported. The woman also was not robbed.
"We're working on that case also," Lee said.