Letter to the Editor

October 5, 2017
By

LOOKING AT THE DRUG PROBLEMS

Dear Editor:

I am a concerned resident and owner of two properties in the South End. One property is in Worcester Square and another in the Ellis neighborhood where I currently reside. I have been reading the Boston Sun articles on the homeless and drug problems, especially in the Worcester Square area.

The purpose of my letter is to bring attention to the other South End neighborhoods being impacted by the epidemic of opioids and homelessness. I am listing some issues, but I also believe that there are small things that can be done to make everyone’s life safe, healthy and enjoyable. Over the past year, residents of the Ellis Neighborhood have been troubled with cleaning up syringes, feces, and piles of trash left on front steps, in alleyways and in our local public gardens (primarily Dartmouth Garden which is open to anyone). Please allow me to break-down what has been occurring:

  • Needle/Drug Use in McKinley School Parking Lot and Police Not Responding. Despite my efforts to contact the BPD when I see drug activity occurring in the McKinley School parking lot, the police do not show up. I am usually asked by 911 if they are they homeless. I do not understand why this question is asked, because in the end, the neighborhood’s health and safety is at risk. This is beyond unacceptable for the City to allow and not respond to drug use occurring on the grounds of where our children study and play. In

addition, the lot routinely has condoms left in front of where the kids enter the building. The students at the McKinley South End Academy deserve better than this. The Bottom Line: BPD should recognize the importance of keeping the areas of our public schools drug free and making it a safe place for children to study. Showing the BPD colors in this dark parking lot at night will go a long way to deter needle use and other illegal activity where our children study.

  • Trash piles, shopping carts and sleeping bags in Dartmouth Street Garden. The 311 Will Not Clean: Please let me say that I realize homeless shelters are not always a safe, healthy place to sleep. I can appreciate why some homeless would choose to sleep outside when weather is nice. That said, there is an increasing amount of trash, sleeping bags, blankets and feces piling up in the Dartmouth Garden. I have opened numerous 311 cases – every case is closed, but the trash is not cleaned. When I call 311, the city refuses to acknowledge the issue and clean our park. I would clean it up, but I am concerned about the objects (e.g. needles) that could be buried underneath the trash and sleeping bags – let-alone angering all of the homeless that are present in the Dartmouth Garden. I have pictures of the trash, grocery cart and sleeping bags that have been present in the Dartmouth Garden since May 2017. This used to be a park I could read and take my dog. Now, I cannot enjoy the garden for fear that myself or my dog will get hurt by the various objects on the ground. The homeless and drug users now own this park. Bottom Line: the increasing amount of trash is not only an eyesore, but also it is a haven that keeps attracting more homeless, more trash and more needles. The students at McKinley Elementary are next door and see this occurring.
  • Increasing theft and stolen Property: Over the past year, I have had to chase off numerous people from entering the condo foyer attempting to break in and steal packages. The thieves are so brazen that they will surveil a block for the delivery to come and grab packages before the residents notice. I know this since I work from home and my office is on the ground floor facing Dartmouth Street. I have caught the same gentleman stealing two different times. Last week, I caught the same gentleman walking with five packages on Warren Avenue and then emptying the contents in the Dartmouth Garden. Luckily, the police did arrive on time and arrested the individual. On a side note, on Sept. 26 a Black Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT had its tires stolen in the McKinley School parking lot. Although I called 911, the police would not commit to investigating. I was able to convince a Boston school resource officer to help and he called “a buddy” on the BPD. Luckily the BPD eventually came. Bottom line: BPD should keep responding to reports of residents having property stolen. This one gentleman has been stealing packages in the Ellis neighborhood for months (if not longer). The longer the police take to arrive, the longer these criminals will steal from the neighborhood residents without consequences.

I hope that this explains some issues that the Ellis Neighborhood has been facing. I really appreciate the Boston Sun directing attention to our issues in the South End, and Boston as a whole.

Scott Schumacher

Dartmouth Street

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