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  Wednesday, March 4, 2015
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July 11, 2013
Crime Update
By Rick Winterson

You could be excused if you thought that crime had gotten permanently out of control in the City of Boston over the last few months.  Or even here in South Boston, which usually ranks among the safest neighborhoods in Boston.  The Marathon Bombing was a bizarre, frightening act of terrorism – nothing short of that can describe it – and it affected many people from South Boston.  The alleged homicide on Fourth Street was a poignant tragedy that vibrated throughout the neighborhood.  And the constant stream of burglaries concentrated in City Point seemed never-ending.  A dead man (no foul play or crime involved) was found in his car in the Branch Library’s parking lot.  The alleged Aaron Hernandez charges, even though those happened in North Attleboro, were thought to be related to a drive-by shooting in the South End last summer.

Not a happy state of affairs lately in Boston, to be sure.

In a broad brush sense, significant progress against the crimes briefly listed above can be reported.  Much of this was brought to South Boston Online’s attention during the most recent meeting among Captain Greland, the Station Six staff, and the NAC (Neighborhood Advisory Council) on Wednesday evening, July 3, which is a regular monthly occurrence.

There’s no need for South Boston Online to further describe the outstanding police work that led to solving the Marathon Bombings.  There was tragedy and bravery – M.I.T. Campus Police Officer Sean Collier lost his life; MBTA Police Officer Ric Donahue suffered life-threatening injuries.  In South Boston Online’s opinion, the so-called “lockdown” that led to the Tsarnaevs’ capture in Watertown was a highly effective law enforcement decision.

It appears that the huge number of breakings-and-enterings (B&Es) in City Point were one thief’s work.  And his arrest is an excellent example of private citizens working with the police.  Along with several other communications to the Boston Police Department, one member of the community came forward with particular evidence.  From that, good detective work at Station Six developed leads revealing the culprit’s last known address (it was outside of Boston) and he was arrested.  As it turns out, he had another warrant out against him, so he could be legally detained.  Some of the stolen objects, including readily identifiable jewelry, have been recovered.  Best of all, since his detention, no further B&Es with the same MO (modus operandi) have occurred in City Point.

A suspect has been arrested in the tragic homicide in a sober house on East Fourth Street.  

South Boston has benefited in the past twelve months from targeted deployment of police officers.  The most prominent example of that was the influx of enforcement personnel a year ago to combat an increasingly serious drug problem.  It worked and is ongoing.  Additional officers were also deployed during the epidemic of B&Es in City Point.  And our beaches and recreation areas received heightened attention from the B.P.D. over the Independence Day Holidays.

The Fourth of July Concert and Fireworks on the Esplanade were held without incident.  Many went as a gesture of courage after the Marathon Bombings.  Overall serious crime has dropped by 6% citywide since last year.  Here in South Boston, despite all the incidents we mentioned above, serious crimes have dropped by 11% since 2012.  Obviously, the trend is in the right direction.

This is not to ignore ongoing crime problems in Boston.  Alarmingly, the citywide homicide rate has almost doubled so far in 2013, compared to the first six months of last year – from 12 to 22.  Non-fatal shootings have risen from 80 last year to 98 so far this year; firearm related arrests have risen sharply from 158 to 202.  Those are serious, major increases.  The City has begun a concerted, multi-departmental approach towards solving these problems, ranging from summer jobs to hundreds of “home visits” by the police – South Boston Online will keep you posted on progress.

Here’s a tip provided by Captain Greland.  For some reason, cell phones have recently become a favorite target of robbers.  In fact, in District Eleven – right next door to us – all of their 40% increase in robberies in 2013 is completely due to cell phone thefts.  These have increased so much that police are now calling these robbers “Apple pickers”.  We know you want to keep in touch, but leave your phone at home whenever you can.  For sure, don’t use your cell phone on empty streets after dark.

South Boston Online will close this article by reminding you that good police work depends upon help from private citizens:  Call 9-1-1 anytime you notice something suspicious, even if it doesn’t seem important at that moment.  If you can, always call the Duty Supervisor at Station Six (617-343-4730), right after you call 9-1-1.  Ask for the Duty Supervisor specifically, and tell him or her that you have called 9-1-1.

Do you want a totally anonymous way to report information on crimes of violence?  Telephone the TIPS line:  1(800)494-TIPS.  And you can also text a tip:  Text the word “T-I-P” to CRIME (27463).Make yourself heard!

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