Commentaries Police & Fire

Guest Commentary on Public Safety Meeting

I was gratified to see a standing-room-only turnout at the recent NEWNC Public Safety Committee meeting. State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, City Councilman Sal LaMattina, Neighborhood Coordinator Nicole Leo and John Nucci from Suffolk University were among those who attended to engage with the neighborhood over concerns of late-night noise raised by recent Boston Globe coverage.

What I was happy to hear was the Boston Police Department — represented in person by Superintendent Dan Linski, Capt. Bernie O’Rourke, Sgt. Tom Lema and Officer Teddy Boyle — describing community-based, creative policing that is combining old-fashioned shoe-leather law enforcement with technology to help make a serious dent in the late-night noise issue.

What I was very sorry to hear was a comment by one North End resident who called Area A-1 patrols and anti-noise efforts “worse than useless.” Such demeaning commentary trivializes the efforts of police, from the captain’s office all the way to the beat cop. What’s more, it embodies the increasingly bitter acrimony growing between a corrosive faction of our neighborhood and the city and state officials who are working hard every day to make our quality of life the best it can be.

I encourage North End residents and activists to take a broader view of the problems that residents and officials are trying to collaborate to solve. Deeply rooted problems like late-night noise don’t evaporate overnight. I believe the Boston Police Department as a whole, and Area A-1 in particular, are putting their best people and their best ideas toward preserving the highest quality of life possible in this neighborhood that we all treasure. I call on all residents to either stand behind them with constructive criticism and thoughtful ideas, or admit that they are part of the problem rather than the solution.

Bill Lane
Thacher St. welcomes commentaries on community issues via email to or use the submit form. Opinions are those solely of the author. Comments or responses to this commentary can be posted below in the comment section.

7 Replies to “Guest Commentary on Public Safety Meeting

  1. I’m curious to learn more about what is meant by "community-based, creative policing". What does that mean exactly and how will it help solve the problem of noise in the North End?

  2. Kitty, "community policing" means walking a beat — that’s the term police use now to describe the kind of visible presence that discourages misbehavior just by showing that a cop is nearby and paying attention. As for "creative," I think you’d agree if you had been able to be at the meeting that the officers of Area A-1 are taking some really innovative approaches, combined with the "Problem Properties Task Force" that Councilman LaMattina is helping to lead. I believe the police approach, with Capt. O’Rourke’s leadership and the hard work of Suffolk University, will produce a tangible difference in the noise problem soon. Last night’s meeting was a striking eye-opener for me and some of the other attendees.

  3. Mr. Lane seeks to avoid ‘bitter acrimony’ yet his words do just that. Questioning our elected officials and even the police is a basic foundation of democracy. I wasn’t there, but from what I’ve heard the whole point was to report problems.

  4. I am sure that Bill Lane sincerely appreciates the engagement of city officials in the North End’s struggle with late-night noise. But, inadvertent or not, his allusion to an unidentified "corrosive faction of our neighborhood" echoes the code words used by Regional Review editors in the past when they sought to demonize the local civic association (NEWRA) for confronting head-on problems which destabilize the quality of residential life.

  5. Tom, my comment was focused entirely on a particular comment that I felt denigrated the hard, and perhaps ultimately effective, work the police are doing in our neighborhood. I’m not carrying water for the Review, with which I often disagree, and any similarity in our characterizations was, as you suggested, inadvertent.

    The bottom line is that the police and Suffolk University have sent the message that they are taking the issue very seriously. The fact that the very highest ranks of the police department are involved in the solution should encourage us about that. Suffolk is spending a great deal of time and money putting its own officials on the streets to add even more manpower. With close cooperation and a sense of teamwork among all the parties — NEWNC, NEWRA, police, universities, the business community, landlords and residents — we can reduce or eliminate the ongoing problem of late-night noise. Animosity and back-biting can only hinder the effort.

  6. Bill:
    When multiple calls are made to the police about a large (60 people) loud roofdeck party and then when the police finally show up and give someone who is trying to load her car a ticket but tell the big mouth party people to turn it down a little, can’t be bothered to go up on the roof, and then tell the offenders to have a good night, people might tend to think the police are "useless". When it takes the police an hour and a half to respond to multiple calls that come in at 2AM, and the drunks are passed out but the residents are still awake , people might think the police are "useless".
    Not everyone who disagrees with your point of view is part of the "contentious fraction" trying to rip the neighborhood apart. These are people who have lived here a long time, young, older, parents of young children who are tired of being jolted out of bed by loud drunks who think it is acceptable to yell, scream, bark at dogs, blast music, urinate in doorways, throw trash wherever, vomit wherever and thumb their collective noses at the people who call this home. Comments like yours add to the problem, they don’t help the situation at all.

  7. the city detoured hazardas cargo trucks down hanover st today (sun) from commercial..mayor meano really could care less about our neighborhood.

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