Savin Hill residents decried what they called an increase in prostitution, underage drinking, and other illicit activity in their neighborhood at a community meeting Tuesday evening. About 100 residents gathered at the Dorchester Yacht Club to meet with city and state officials about what they said was a lack of police presence in the area.
Police said that they would respond to any calls that come in to investigate the area, but that recent budget cuts and a concentration on violent crime have made patrolling the beaches and playgrounds of Savin Hill more difficult.
“I think everyone here knows that this leads to serious crime, this is just the beginning,” said Grampian Way resident Peter McNamara, who organized the meeting.
“You folks live in one of the safest areas of Dorchester,” said District C-11 Community Officer Dennis Rorie, before another officer commented that Savin Hill is one of the safest areas in the entire city of Boston.
Since the areas in question at the meeting, both the state-owned beaches and the city-owned playgrounds, have different law enforcement jurisdictions, state and city police spent much of the meeting explaining which agency to call to report suspicious activity.
Police speculated that most “johns” pick up soliciting prostitutes along Dorchester Avenue before moving into more secluded areas.
Due to recent budget cuts, the Boston Police Department C-11 district lost one of the tools most effective in patrolling the area – the district’s bicycle patrols. Police officials said that there may be a chance to have some of those officers, who have been reassigned to cruisers, patrol the park and beaches at Savin Hill.
State Police Lt. John Maloney said that his barracks officers have been concentrating on other beaches and Castle Island and that there have been few complaints about Savin Hill. Maloney pointed out the importance of reporting crimes or suspicious activity. “If we don’t get the phones calls, we don’t know,” he said.