The D-4 police district experienced a 6-percent decrease in overall crime over the past year, but Capt. Steve Sweeney told members of the Blackstone Franklin Square Neighborhood Association (BFSNA) he wasn’t ready to celebrate just yet.
Sweeney told BFSNA on Tuesday night that while a 6-percent drop is good, the numbers could have been much better.
“Crime for the year is down 6-percent,” he said. “That was good, but we were seeing much better numbers in August and then Atkinson Street (Operation Clean Sweep) pushed a lot of people into D-4 and into the neighborhoods. We saw a lot of package thefts and homeless and homeless crime…We’re getting no cooperation from the victims on those crimes. We were down 10 percent at August. It’s still good, but it could be better.”
Police have instituted fixed posts in the area of Franklin Square, and “Officer Mike” has been patrolling the Blackstone/Franklin area on foot for some time. However, it was reported that he suffered a tear in his shoulder and would likely now be out for a while. That said, Capt. Sweeney indicated they are committed to putting a replacement on the beat for Officer Mike while he is out.
Sweeney said the activity since the cold months came has decreased in the parks, with fewer needles in Franklin Square and fewer people starting encampments in both Blackstone and Franklin squares.
“I think Blackstone and Franklin look good,” he said. “We have a lot of police presence. I’m not seeing much in there like we did. I saw a couple of needles recently, but not like we were seeing. Going forward, there will be a big push when we hit the warmer months.”
•CAMERAS CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH
Surveillance cameras will soon be on the way at West Newton around O’Day Park once funding is forwarded from the mitigation account of the Harrison/Albany project.
Those cameras have now been discussed for quite some time, and Capt. Sweeney said it’s time for action on that. He said there was a shots fired call on Shawmut’s 400th block this month. He believes the cameras would have been helpful in garnering information. As it is now, they have a witness, but no ballistics, no video, no victim or no leads.
“They’re just waiting for the money to come over from the account,” he said. “We need to get those in there. They’re telling me once they get the account number, it’s only going to take about 40 days to get them up. We had the incident down there. We need those cameras. This project pre-dates me. Let’s get them up and let’s get some action.”
The plan would be to install multiple cameras along the corridor of West Newton and Shawmut Avenue, with all of them tied into the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC). The alignment and quality of the cameras would give police an unusual, continuous view of a portion of the South End that has seen trouble over the years.
Treasurer Matt Mues reported that the Christmas Tree Sale went very well this year, aided by the Mayor’s Enchanted Trolley Tour visiting Blackstone this year for the South End tree lighting.
Mues said they sold a record 82 trees and 162 wreaths and raised thousands of dollars for the organization. They sit on firm financial footing for both the general and parks funds.
•New Alexandra Ball Neighborhood Association President James Dilday – a prominent Boston attorney living in that area of the South End – visited the BFSNA meeting on Tuesday and gave a rundown of their new association.
He said they started late last year due to the fact that their South End resident parking was taken away via an emergency order from Council President Kim Janey. They also saw a need to organize to get action on many of the encampments and “unwanted guests” that migrated to their area from Mass/Cass in the late summer.