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Nobody Asked, But... There Were Some Surprises at the Police Meeting

Local teens turned out for a public safety discussion about the issues on Main Street.

I went to the Neighborhood Council’s Public Safety meeting this Tuesday to see what was going on with the problem outside Durty Harry’s and the A1 Convenience Store on Main Street.  

I was disappointed that more people didn’t show up to discuss the situation, especially since so many had voiced their opinions on the topic after the last time I wrote about it. (I was told that some residents attended the monthly Council meeting to express their concerns.)

But those that were there really impressed me with their knowledge of the situation. I was more than impressed to see a number of young people in the audience adding their voice to the discussion.

I have to tell you that the Boston Police Department is on top of the situation. They know who the trouble makers are. They have made arrests after incidents have occurred. They patrol the area on foot, on bike and in their cars. They do what the law allows them to do.

Make note that they are not social workers and don’t go into the homes of these individuals to council the families as to how to raise their kids. They don’t bring them before the judge. They have no say on what the court systems does with them. 

I learned that one of those involved had at least 30 “incidents” on his police record, yet the court system let him go after his appearance and he was back out on the streets within hours. I also learned that not only are their young people in their teens hanging in that location, but adults approaching their 50s are also there, either on drugs or drunk.

I also learned that the police are working closely with Charlestown Against Drugs and Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition on the addiction problems associated with some of these individuals. There is a social worker who visits their homes in an attempt to make the families aware of the services available to them, try to get the kid a job to get him off the streets and an array of other assistance programs that out there for their use.

I was thrilled to hear our young adults give their slant on the situation. One said that the kids who hang at this location (who don’t get into trouble), feel that they are being treated unfairly, being singled out and picked on by the police. Guilt by association! Another asked that the businesses in Charlestown open a movie theater or a video arcade where young people can go to. Another advised those too old to play youth sports get involved by volunteering to coach.

The need is great, he said, “People gave to us, now it's time to give back.”

What a great way to spend those idle hours!

The police response included advice on how to get things done, such as contacting their elected officials to get a designated location opened for them to make their own, and bring into that site something they enjoy doing. Another added that was how the 520 Club and K of C got started by like-minded people who wanted a place of their own to congregate and enjoy each other’s company.

I walked away with a better sense of the situation, knowing that the problem still exists, but with a sense of relief that there are groups in the neighborhood who are working toward a solution. But, it has to begin at the source -- the home. 

I learned that residents who live in the housing complexes around the town can be evicted if the household is a nuisance to the community. Maybe a little reminder of this will make these families wake up and start to control their offspring.

I’m glad I attended. Wish you were there, too!

Speaking of the Police meeting, I also heard that auto break-ins are up compared to this time last year! There’s no particular location that this happens. It’s all around the town. Folks, either take your GPS, cell phone or whatever other gadget you have, out of the car when you lock it up for the night. If you have to leave it in the car, hide it! If you use a GPS by sticking it on your windshield, don’t leave those rings on the glass telling a thief that, most likely, you left it in the glove compartment. This affects us all who insure cars in Charlestown. 

Did you know that every time this type of crime is reported, our auto insurance rates can go up because we live in a “high crime area?” Smarten up by locking it up -- at home!

Did you hear about comedian Steve Sweeney being attacked at a comedy club on Route 1? Word is that a woman at the club wasn’t particularly impressed by Steve’s comment on her looks. Steve, not for nothing, but, as much as we love ya here at home, you’re no Fabio!  And, Steve, just so you know, we in Char-les-town do enjoy reading books, too.

That’s all for now. God bless, Charlestown!

David Evans November 16, 2011 at 04:31 PM
My car insurance went up $600 when I moved across town to Charlestown. Good idea to mention how the actions of a few affect us all. Amazed at how much crap people leave in their cars at night.
Seamus O'Sullivan November 16, 2011 at 06:20 PM
Rather than telling people not to leave valuables in their car, why don't you report on what the police are doing to actually combat this? Every time I or anyone I know has called them to report a theft, they have taken an "it's charlestown, what do you expect?" attitude. A friend of mine who drove an Audi was told he shouldn't drive an Audi in Charlestown - problem solved. It's such a defeatist attitude to say it is what it is. I'd love to hear how the police are dealing with it. My guess is they aren't.
Jane Cassidy November 16, 2011 at 09:13 PM
I find it interesting that NOBODY who complained about the situation on Main Street showed up at this meeting. Michelle from Durty Harry's didn't show up! Really? The "situation" can't be that bad if everybody who thought the kids were so awful didn't even show up. This is like people who don't vote and complain about politicians. This subject should now be closed. Lots and lots of hot air and the only ones who showed up were the kids themselves? Really?
Julia Gaynor November 16, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Thanks for the great report, Kathy! I was at the meeting too and in terms of the car break-ins, they were about 35 incidents in October and when they read out the items stolen, almost every single item was a GPS. The police said there's no pattern in terms of which streets are being hit, or what time of day, just that thieves are going from car to car looking for crimes of opportunity. That's why they keep encouraging us to not keep valuables in our car. No opportunity, no crime. They also continue to encourage us to report ANYTHING suspicious to 911 because they will send a cruiser - and if thieves see enough police presence on certain streets, they will think twice about hitting that street again. They did note that they see an increase in crime when someone is released from jail, but unless they catch someone in the act or have a reason to search them, they can't make accusations or arrests without some kind of proof or just cause. I've been to these meetings before and find them very helpful and commend the local police for doing their best to keep us safe. I encourage others to attend if you can. They are held once a month.
Joseph November 16, 2011 at 09:29 PM
Guilty as charged. Work prevented me from showing up. Good for the kids - maybe they'll start policing themselves and those that caused all this "hot air."
Mary Kay Donovan November 17, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Wouldn't Peter Looney be pleased to learn that young people attended the meeting and even they are getting sick of the trouble! He would also be pleased that they have a desire to do something other than drugs. Maybe some of the developers could get together and create a space for them to go and enjoy good & healthy activities. Is that even possible? Certainly worth exploring.
Mary December 01, 2011 at 07:30 PM
The situation is THAT bad on Main St. I live there! The kids are awful and disgusting. They litter, spit, and piss all over the streets and in the openings. I won't even let my daughter touch the walls or pick up a pretty leaf that she sees on the ground because I'm afraid of what might be on it!!!!! They smoke weed and use other drugs out in the open. Also, the police do nothing! NOTHING!! I very rarily see them patroling. This issue should not be closed. Hot air ? REALLY ? Do you live near or on Main St ? I doubt it, because if you did, you would know that the issue does exist and needs to be dealt with.
mm December 02, 2011 at 01:26 PM
McKenzie you are absolutely right all we hear is, "there is nothing for us to do". Really you have the club, the community center, school activities and more. Utilize these facilities just like many other teens have and continue to do. Mary i completely agree with you. I live in this area and the police do ABSOLUTELY nothing! Disgusting when I see them standing with the teens as they are saying rude things to people or spitting, not letting people walk by and what is done....the officer stands there and laughs! Appalling if you live near this area and see what goes on with ALL invovled you would see why many are so irate. We call for the police to come and they roll by..no questions just drive right by. The kids aren't the only ones who need to change!

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