More Police or Not?

There seems to be a split decision among those in the neighborhood who attended the monthly Public Safety meeting with Boston Police Captain Thomas Lee about whether or not more police presence is needed in the North End.

Major crime statistics dropped in the North End for the last reporting period and there were no homicides, sexual assaults, aggravated assaults, graffiti or community disorder complaints registered last month.

All other crime statistics moved negligibly in one direction or another, perhaps the most dramatic movement was in larcenies which dropped from 13 to 5 and breaking and entering, which went from 14 to 1.

Perhaps the most persistent problems causing some in the neighborhood to complain are the repeated incidents of younger people urinating from roofs and in alleyways or on the sidewalk at closing time and parties on roof decks, which are not allowed with loud noise and disturbances creating quality of life issues for those who do not bother others.

The urination issue is vexing and disturbing at the same time.

It is impossible to stop behavior like that except for police to arrest people caught in the act of urinating – and this can be done and should be done and the word would go out – use a toilet or be arrested for urinating in the streets of the North End.

As for those standing on rooftops and urinating off the roof tops, well, this is absolutely disgusting behavior which cannot and should not be condoned.

How to stop such behavior is the question.

And while the above described behavior is deplorable and disgusting, it is not the norm. It is drunken behavior. It is disgraceful behavior happening only a fraction of the time .

The Neighborhood Watch, which we discussed last week, is probably better suited to identifying problem roof tops or problem bars in the North End.

As much as we favor proper development here, we do not condone poor behavior. Bar owners need to patrol their own territory and patrons and this can be done and should be done.

At closing time, bar owners and those responsible for security must be outside to watch their patrons slip into the night with the condition that those caught urinating will be barred from the premises and even worse, if they show up again, will be reported to the police.

Bad behavior cannot be entirely stopped.

But it can be largely removed as a fact of life.

More police is not necessarily the answer in the North End.

More attention paid and more eyes on bad behavior will do the trick.

A Neighborhood Watch might just be enough to rid the North End of troublemakers and those who trample on the neighborhood’s quality of life.