The attached letter relates specifically to ongoing problems at the Eliot Elementary School, which helped lead to the near-riot conditions at and near the Prado this past weekend. However, the general problem of noise and disturbances is again becoming serious and we need to encourage our police and elected officials to do more.
The street noise from revelers is worsening. Hanover Street has become a combination of Bourbon Street and a Hell’s Angels convention, with the roar from motorcycles audible throughout the North End on most evenings. As the Boston Globe has supported, the motorcycle noise ordinance is completely unenforced. Trash is strewn everywhere, with ordinances being ignored and unenforced. Restaurant patrons are allowed to monopolize sidewalks without any attention from the police, forcing residents to walk on the street and face accidents. Tenants — both students and young professionals — shout loudly on the street when they leave their residences and upon returning, oblivious to any semblance of courtesy.
Despite the lip service paid by the Police Department — and the brief, symbolic display of police presence that occurred in April, following media attention — these problems are not being taken seriously. When beat cops are present in the North End, they are certainly not addressing these problems. The police stance appears to be that the under-aged drinkers who rampage in the Eliot Playground should not be arrested out of concern for their youth — I have been told as much by a beat cop. Another beat cop told me that “the North End is primarily a commercial neighborhood” and that the lack of crowd control on Salem and Hanover is thus to be expected.
The South End is not like this. Nor is Beacon Hill, Charlestown, or the Back Bay. While no neighborhood is immune to problems, a routine visit to those neighborhoods does not reveal the same routine “party atmosphere” that is becoming more and more a feature of the North End.
I hope we can continue to bring these issues to public attention.
C. Alex Hahn, Esq.
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