By Nate Leskovic
Special to the Reporter
The initial police response to the recent spike
in Greater Neponset crime has satisfied neighbors
for now, who lavished praise on the new bicycle
unit patrolling the streets at a community meeting
last Wednesday with Boston Police Commissioner
"There's a feeling of increasing confidence
already," said neighbor John Sweeney. "I think
we're on the right track."
Growing safety and quality of life concerns over
the summer and into the fall - highlighted by two
King Street murders and a Garvey Park confrontation
involving a knife and a gun - prompted a community
meeting of hundreds last month and the subsequent
"It's a phenomenal crime deterrent. It's
psychological warfare," said Pope's Hill
Neighborhood Association President Phil Carver
about the bicycle patrols. "It reduced crime and it
has also raised morale. Our community's calls were
Last week's meeting at the Murphy Community
Center, during which the commissioner and other
civic leaders discussed anti-crime efforts, was
similarly well-attended. Besides the highly-visible
six-officer bike patrols and an outstanding warrant
sweep that took 20 off the street, Davis described
an in-progress shift in policing strategy. Davis
first deployed the bike patrols after a meeting
with civic leaders last month that followed the
larger community meeting.
"In the past, our mission was to go out and
respond to crime and to make arrests," he said.
"Now it is about preventing crime. We're in the
throes of re-implementing community policing."
Davis said officers assigned to Greater Neponset
patrols, who often crossed district lines "to be
closer to where the action is," are being
instructed to remain in the neighborhood as a
Carver believes recent police attention in
higher-crime areas may have pushed problems into
Greater Neponset through a displacement effect.
"It was a cause for alarm," he said.
Officers are now being encouraged to spend more
time out of their cruisers and on the street, said
Davis, as part of the department's "beat integrity
program." The commissioner said there would be
greater focus on identifying abandoned cars, trash
and other factors conducive to crime and a more
active partnership with the city to keep the
In addition to the police response, neighbors
recently created four committees to address
community concerns. A crime task force, community
center committee, parks committee and a grant
writing team have all begun meeting.
Some at the forum questioned the BPD's
commitment to the bike patrols. Davis said the unit
would last until the end of the year and break for
the winter weather. He said he would make a
decision on bringing the patrol back in the spring
after reviewing statistics and meeting with
"I will keep the unit as long as it's needed,"
he said. "I guarantee you, I don't want to have
another community meeting with 300 people at
The forum concluded with an impassioned request
from State Trooper Brian Dunn for help controlling
the behavior of youth along Gallivan Boulevard and
in parks he regularly patrols, areas he described
as being "held hostage."
"We're trying to avoid a tragedy, but I think a
tragedy is going to happen very, very soon," he
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