Bowdoin-Geneva team cites improvements through coordination

Violent crime is down nine percent. Solar-powered trash cans are outside the Bowdoin Health Center. And benches and tables are planned for a vacant lot at 191 Bowdoin St.

Those were some of the improvements outlined at a meeting on Tuesday of the Bowdoin-Geneva “neighborhood response team” as the group reviewed progress over the last several months.

Members of the group meet regularly, often at the First Parish Church on Meetinghouse Hill or during group walks around the neighborhood, in an effort to deal with issues dogging the area.

“We have almost all of the city agencies out on the street there,” said Darryl Smith, assistant commissioner at the Inspectional Services Department.

Boston Police Captain Richard Sexton said that violent crime had dropped nine percent over the last year. During the same period last summer, there were four homicides in the area, he said, and this year there were none. Property crimes were down to 70 incidents from 119 in 2011, he added.

The neighborhood now has 16 active block captains, and the neighborhood response team is aiming for 41 captains total – one for each street in the neighborhood. “We could use your help in growing that,” Marie St. Fleur, a top aide to Mayor Thomas Menino, told the crowd of activists and city officials at the meeting.

Menino told the gathering that he is asking business owners in the area to take 10 minutes of their day to clear the front of the stores and help with the neighborhood’s look.

The city has also installed solar-powered “Big Belly” trash cans outside the Bowdoin Health Center and across the street. According to Smith, more receptacles will be installed along Bowdoin Street before the end of the year.

Menino stressed that the groups, which has often held separate meetings, are key to the neighborhood response team’s success so far.

“Together we can accomplish a lot,” he said.