Summer in the North End / Waterfront always requires more police presence due to an abundance of warm weather events including feasts, concerts, park activities, and the many visitors to the neighborhood.
North End Public Safety Committee Chair, David Marx, invited Captain Kenneth Fong and Office Teddy Boyle to this month’s North End Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) meeting, to address residents’ concerns about public safety around the North End.
A hot topic of interest was the recent incident involving teenagers allegedly underage drinking, fighting, and shouting in the North End. Usually gathering around the Commercial Street ice rink and park area, teenagers have been known to also make a mess in Christopher Columbus Park too.
Captain Fong – Horde of Teenagers in the North End
Captain Fong addressed the issue that arose when teenagers “mostly from the North Shore suburbs” came en masse to the North End’s Commercial Street. Captain Fong believes there is a private social media group on Snapchat where teenagers are communicating where to meet. He said that they had Boston Police and State Troopers push the crowds towards Atlantic Avenue to get them out of the area.
Captain Fong – Homelessness Issue
In recent months there has been an increase of homelessness in the North End. People have shown concern about the homeless that have set up behind the Mirabella Pool and near the newly renovated Eliot School.
Captain Fong mentioned a homeless man that dangled a dead rat and broke a windshield wiper off of a police cruiser while fighting a police officer. Officers arrested him and put him in touch with mental health services. A judge put a stay-away order stating that he could not be in the North End. Despite that, he made his way back into the neighborhood. As a result, the man is currently in police custody. Captain Fong suggested that if there are any trespassing homeless people, to call the Boston Police and they will respond to the situation.
(05:30): NEWRA Members and NE Residents Questions – Teenager issue
Residents asked for police presence behind the skating rink on Commercial Street. They want to put an end to the masses of teenagers that come through the North End.
Captain Fong said there are officers that patrol area, but residents at the meeting disputed his answer. “It’s been at least 10 years, so that’s baloney that someone’s down there and scares them away,” one resident said. Another resident said about the teenagers, “There’s no cop there scaring them, because they wouldn’t go!” One resident stated that she is afraid to let her kids go out on weekends. “There’s kids walking around just giving other kids beatings for no apparent reason.”
Some people wondered if the police were making any arrests or writing any court summons on disruptive teenagers. Captain Fong stated that when there are hundreds of teenagers, it isn’t practical to tie up officers to individual kids because it distracts them from the goal of just moving the kids out of the area.
There was a resident who did show his appreciation for the BPD after he called 911. He said that there were teenagers causing a disturbance while he and his wife were watching the sunset. They called 911 and BPD arrived in less than a minute.
Residential Noise Complaint
A resident living near Christopher Columbus Park brought up a noise complaint that goes back “years and years.” He said he talked to Officer Boyle about it before, but the issues continued. The resident claims there are kids outside in Christopher Columbus Park “breakdancing and screaming into microphones,” and a guitar player playing through a very loud amplifier.
He says that the guitar player plays four days a week for up to seven hours a day. The resident said Officer Boyle suggested calling 911, but when they did, they were told it was not a 911 issue. He said 311 didn’t do anything, and other avenues of help were not successful in aiding him. At one point the resident asked if he could file a restraining order, but Captain Fong said it wouldn’t be applicable to the situation. He said he would look into the issue with the resident.
Officer Boyle states at that the BPD lost a court case for arresting someone in a similar situation. Residents were shocked to hear this. Often times, Captain Fong said, they’ll issue civil citations, but those can not be enforced and nothing happens if people don’t pay it.
Blue Line T Station in Bowdoin
An elderly resident complained that there are never police officers patrolling the T Station at Bowdoin. She said there are people there that make her uncomfortable and that she’s seen people passed out on the street. Captain Fong said there are officers that regularly patrol that area, but the resident said, “I’ve never seen one.”
Italian Feasts Police Presence
A North End resident who attends the North End feasts asked why there are no police officers at the festivals. Captain Fong said that the organizers hire police details, but the police are unable to fill them because these jobs are optional. Due to union contracts, they can not order officers to work them. The resident said that he often sees only two police officers and that more police are needed to make the festivals safer. Captain Fong said he agrees that more police need to attend the feasts to make them safer.
North End Public Safety Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month, 6:00 p.m. at the Nazzaro Center, 30 N. Bennet Street. All are welcome to attend and bring their questions. See the Community Calendar for upcoming meeting dates.