FOREST HILLS/WOODBOURNE—After years of complaining from area residents, Boston Police Department (BPD) officials this month announced they plan to redraw the boundary between the E-13 and E-18 districts so the entire area will be in E-13’s jurisdiction.
The BPD has considered redistricting in the past. But BPD representatives for the first time publicly confirmed at the Aug 13 meeting of the Forest Hills Improvement Initiative (FHII) that plans are in the works to unify the 02130 ZIP code area under the jurisdiction of Jamaica Plain’s E-13 district.
Currently, to the west of the station, Hyde Park Avenue and the Arborway heading toward Franklin Park form the boundary between E-13 and E-18. That puts some of the Forest Hills neighborhood and the Woodbourne neighborhood—between Hyde Park Ave and the Forest Hills Cemetery—in E-18, the Hyde Park district.
Lt. Michael Kern, who is serving as interim commander of E-13 while Capt. Christine Michalosky is on sick leave, and Deputy Superintendent Michael Cox, head of Area E, announced the plan. The department is considering extending E-13’s boundaries so Neponset Avenue and Canterbury Street between Hyde Park Avenue and Morton Street would form the new boundary, Kern said.
While the plan is still in its preliminary stages, Kern said the hope is to have the redistricting in place by November, when a new class graduates from the police academy. E-13 would be assigned new officers from the academy class to cover the expanded area, he said.
BPD spokesperson Elaine Driscoll could not confirm the particulars of Kern’s comments. “It’s still somewhat in the conversation stages,” she said of the proposal.
There will be a series of community meetings to discuss the plan before it is put in place, but those meetings have not been scheduled yet, she said.
Bernie Doherty, chair of the Asticou-Martinwood Neighborhood Association, said the redistricting has been a long time coming. The Asticoe-Martinwood group has been advocating for it for at least three years, he said.
While city police are obviously empowered to cross district boundaries, having the dividing line in the middle of an area that sees itself as a unified community has led to complications, he said.
“Whom do you call when someone does something here [on Asticou] and then goes and does something on Tower Street [in E-18]?” he said.
Police response time to emergencies has not been an issue, Doherty said, but jurisdictional boundaries have presented problems when the community has tried to get the police to monitor ongoing situations.
Doherty also said the boundaries are sometimes confusing for Woodbourne neighborhood residents who, their police jurisdiction not withstanding, are in the 02130 zip code and are part of JP.
That confusion was apparent for one Woodbourne resident who, in 2007, told the Gazette thieves had stolen four $25 ceramic flower pots and an ivy plant she had been cultivating for 13 years from her front porch.
The Woodbourne resident, who at the time asked not to be identified, said she had reported the crime to E-13.
When the Gazette informed her that she was, in fact, in District E-18, she said she was surprised.
“The E-13 police station is a half-mile down the road, the E-18 station [in Hyde Park] is a good distance away,” Doherty said.
Regardless of where district boundaries lie, people should always call 911 in emergencies (on a cell phone, 343-4911).