Around 10 people gathered at Curtis Hall in Jamaica Plain on Thursday, Feb. 7, for the monthly police and community relations meeting organized by District E-13 of the Boston Police Department (BPD).
Every month, representatives from BPD, MBTA Transit Police and the Massachusetts State Police are invited to update community members on recent crime statistics and crime-fighting initiatives, and to provide advice on how to avoid becoming a victim.
In attendance were a number of local residents, Transit Police representative Dana DeLorenzo, and Officer Jones and Captain Greland from BPD’s District E-13.
Jones provided copies of a chart comparing the broad crime statistics from January 2019 with those from January 2018.
According to this chart, in January 2019 there were 70 total reported crimes in Jamaica Plain, down from 90 in January 2018, a reduction of 22 pertcent.
Crimes that saw a decrease in January 2019 compared to January 2018 included rape, domestic aggravated assault, commercial burglary, other burglary, motor vehicle larceny, other larceny and auto theft. Crimes that saw an uptick in January 2019 included homicide, robbery and residential burglary.
Jones also provided a comprehensive list of the individual crimes reported in the area the previous month, including the date, time and location of each incident.
According to this list, the month of January saw 34 larcenies, 17 burglaries, 12 aggravated assaults, four robberies, one arson, one rape/attempted rape, one auto theft and one murder.
The majority of these crimes were concentrated in Jackson and Egleston Squares.
Jones pointed out that roughly one-third of the larcenies occurred when individuals had left their vehicles unlocked.
“Crime is an opportunity. Collectively our responsibility is to remove as much opportunity as possible,” said Jones. “When we leave our things unlocked, we run into an issue.”
Addressing the spike in burglaries, up by nine from the same time last year, Officer Jones handed out another list detailing each of the 17 burglaries reported in January.
“I made notations for each and every one of them, just to see if there is some pattern we’re missing,” said Jones.
In one case, a burglar entered a property through a window by pushing in an air conditioning unit that was not properly secured.
“Air conditioners can become a point of access so make sure they’re bolted to the frames,” warned Jones. “If you make it difficult [to push in] it might make noise that could bring attention.”
In another incident, a person found their home burglarized after failing to report a suspicious man ringing the doorbell and asking for a person who did not live at that address.
Jones said that it’s best to err on the side of caution and to always alert law enforcement “if the hairs go up on the back of your neck.”
In a potentially related incident just across the street, a home was burglarized after the resident failed to report a suspicious man loitering in the stairwell of a multi-unit building, assuming that he was a friend of one of the other residents.
“If you walk by someone you’ve never seen before, and you ask if they live there and their answer is vague, it should be enough to make you reach out and call 9-1-1,” Jones said. “Take the time, make the call, and we’ll go out and investigate.”
In roughly half the reported burglaries in January, the suspect was either arrested or identified.
Jones also commented on the four robberies.
•In the first, a delivery driver’s car was stolen after leaving it running during a delivery.
•In the second, a pedestrian wearing expensive headphones had them snatched off by a man on a moped.
•In the third, a group of pedestrians were mugged by a man at gunpoint and handed over their valuables.
“These individuals did the right thing. They gave him everything and he took off,” said Jones. “And that’s exactly what we want. We want them to go away.”
•In the fourth incident, a man attempted to steal a woman’s phone while she was taking potentially incriminating video of him on her property. He eventually went away when he noticed that the property also had exterior security cameras.
“Potentially that could have gone really bad,” Jones said, adding that if residents want to take video of someone with their mobile phones, they should do it from the safety of their homes.
The incident of arson was determined to have been caused by burners left on by squatters in an abandoned building, and the murder was the result of a daytime double shooting that occurred between two men on Jan. 18, in the Egleston Square area. The suspect was apprehended and is currently awaiting trial.
“We have a video,” said Greland. “It looks like they knew each other, and they got into an argument.”
The district attorney’s office is now in charge of the murder investigation.
While no details could be given about the reported rape, Jones commented that the majority of rape victims know their attacker. Greland also emphasized that if he ever suspected that there was a serial rapist at large, the BPD would use the established channels to put an alert out to the community.
Resident Matt McGrath, who recently moved to JP from Rochester, New York, was curious how the BPD and Transit Police worked collaboratively to solve crimes in the area.
“Years ago, you could get a ticket in one city, and they wouldn’t even know in another city,” Transit Police representative DeLorenzo said, “but there is a lot more information sharing in this day and age.
“Any time we make an arrest, we utilize the BPD booking system,” she continued. “So they have access to all of our arrest records.”
BPD and Transit Police also share video surveillance caught on security cameras.
Greland reminded residents that the BPD puts out up-to-date crime statistics via its Twitter account @bostonpolice.
The next police and community relations monthly meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, at Curtis Hall on 20 South Street. These meetings are open to the public and all interested residents are encouraged to attend.