Jullieanne Doherty, Jamaica Plain’s coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, recently spent 24 hours observing JP and talking to its residents as part of an effort by the City to give the coordinators a different perspective of the neighborhoods they cover.
“I learned some things and gained valuable experience in the off hours,” Doherty said about the 24-hour stint, which she endured on crutches due to an injury.
Doherty, who started her 24 straight hours at 8 a.m. on July 19, said two observations were especially poignant for her: witnessing young children out late night at the Bromley-Heath housing development in Jackson Square, and talking to parents at the Brewer-Burroughs tot lot, which is located near the intersection of those two streets.
Violence has recently plagued Bromley-Heath, with six men being shot between May 26 and July 2. All of the victims reportedly survived the shootings.
Doherty said she was surprised at Bromley-Heath to see children who were 11 years old and younger outside around 10:30 p.m. instead of at home. She said several 6-year-olds ran up to her with huge smiles while showing off their glow-in-the-dark watches.
“It was something I hadn’t seen before,” Doherty said about children being out so late at night.
She said she is attempting to organize some late-night outdoor events, such as showing Disney movies, for the children. Doherty said discussions are in the preliminary phase right now.
“Hopefully, it will do some good,” she said.
Doherty, who was raised in JP and still lives here, said her mother use to take her to the Brewer-Burroughs playground as a child and it has a much different feel to it now. She said the park was crowded with many families, but she had the time flexibility to sit down and speak with them about the neighborhood. She said they mostly had praise to give.
“It’s an amazing community feel—so JP, so Boston,” said Doherty about the tot lot, where residents donate used toys for other children to use.
Doherty also went on a ride-along with officers from the local District E-13 Police Station from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. At one point, they responded to a call of a reported break-in. She said the quickness and depth of the police response was “shocking.”
“It made me feel a lot safer and bumped up my confidence,” said Doherty.
After the ride-along, Doherty drove around JP to see if there were any streets lights out or any “hotspots” where people shouldn’t be hanging out. She said it was pretty quiet, but did see a person sweeping in front of a business in Egleston Square and another person doing the same in front of the Tedeschi’s Food Shop in Monument Square.
“It was just amazing to see,” Doherty said about the late-night clean-up efforts.
Doherty then headed to the Jamaica Pond around 5 a.m. to see if the area is well-lighted and to watch the early-morning joggers because of previous safety concerns there. Doherty said she spoke to one jogger who had had those concerns, but that the jogger said she has seen an increased police presence and felt safer. Doherty urged her to take RAD, a self-defense system for women, and the jogger said she would.
Doherty left the pond to visit several construction sites that she had received complaints about for starting work too early and found no problems.
Doherty capped off her 24 hours out-and-about in JP having coffee with her mother Nancy, who Doherty said is a longtime community advocate and a JP resident of several decades.