I went to the police’s State of the District Meeting for JP last night. I took copious notes. Here they are, in fairly raw form:
Property crime has gone down in JP. Violent crime is what has gone up, but not as much as people seem to think it has. One problem is that many offenders who were incarcerated in the late 90’s for drug, gang, and gun crimes are finishing their sentences and returning to their home turf. The primary perpetrators of crime in JP are youth who are settling scores and taking revenge on perceived injustices to them. Gun arrests went up 40% from 2004 to 2005.
People are more fearful than they need to be because of quality of life issues. The captain spoke about how what people need to feel safe. He said people need to feel certain that criminals will be apprehended and punished. His example: John shoots Paul. Everyone knows John shot Paul. John still walks the street. This doesn’t look good. Makes it seem like crime is OK and that criminal behavior is tolerated.
Most crime is youth-related. There has been a change in the culture of young people. He said that guns are no more available than they ever have been. What has changed is youth’s willingness to pull the trigger. Youth here aren’t feeling adequately supported. Right now, the police are hoping to improve their relationship with youth. They don’t feel they have much credibility.
There are 117 working in the 13th district, 72 of them officers. They say that it should be enough, especially if citizens do their part. They are trying to keep officers in the same locations for all of their shifts, so people feel they know them. “Policing shouldn’t be done by strangers.” For JP to be safe, these have to be safe: public housing, public schools, public parkland, and public meeting places.
- In 2005, the highest month for crime was May, followed (in order) by November, October, July, and December.
- Warrant arrests are getting better.
- 37 firearm arrests were made in 2005.
- Drugs fuel crime – especially breaking into cars. Breaking into cars is JP’s #1 crime.
- In 2005, there were 4 homocides, with 2 cleared (meaning a resulting arrest was made).
- Residential Burgleries are down from 307 in 2004 to 193 in 2005.
These people are listening to the meeting being translated into Spanish.
The biggest problem area is at the juncture of districts 13 and 2. Operation Cross Town addresses this area. In that area, there are 177 gang members representing 36 gangs, with LOTS of firearm arrests.
There is a new graffiti law. Property owners have 30 days to remove graffiti from their property. First noncompliance brings $100 fine. Second offense brings $200 fine. If you’re a property owner, you can call Graffiti Busters at 614-635-4500, and they can come help you get rid of the graffiti. I just reported some myself! Here’s the information about how to do that.
Right now, there are so many groups in JP. JP has more active crimewatches than any other Boston district. Sometimes there are two crimewatches on one street! The captain is hoping for an advisory board that represents the big picture.
I learned that you’re supposed to call 911 for basically anything! Any little thing you observe matters, so it can be documented. If you’re using a cell phone, call 617-343-4911.
The JP Citizens Police Alliance has a grafiiti fund set up. You can adopt a targeted object for graffiti on your street. Whenever it gets vandalized, you can go and get supplies to clean if up for free at the local hardware stores if you’re registered with the group! Eventually, the vandals give up! Great idea!
And of course, Joseph Porcelli from Neighbors to Neighbors was there, and he reminded everyone that there is a meeting next Wednesday at the Milky Way so y’all come! (He didn’t say that exactly. It is Boston, after all!)
Update: There were MANY links not working in this post. They should all work now.