On Thursday, April 4, Curtis Hall in Jamaica Plain hosted the monthly police and community relations meeting organized by District E-13 of the Boston Police Department (BPD).
Every month, Officer William Jones from the Community Service Office and Captain John Greland use this meeting to update the community about local crime statistics from the previous month. They also take the opportunity to provide common sense advice for how to prevent crime in Jamaica Plain and to answer questions from community members. Also invited to these meetings are officials from MBTA’s Transit Police and Massachusetts State Police.
As usual, Officer Jones provided copies of a chart comparing the year-to-date Part One crime statistics from 2019 with those from 2018. Part One crimes are those that are more serious in nature, and do not include lesser crimes such as vandalism, drug dealing or possession of firearms. In order to better interpret the Part One crime statistics, it’s important to know the difference between robbery, burglary and larceny.
Robbery, also called mugging, is the taking of someone’s property directly from that person and involves intimidation or force. Burglary, also known as breaking and entering (or B&E in law enforcement slang), is unlawfully accessing a building with the intent to commit theft. Larceny deprives someone of their property but it doesn’t include force (like robbery) or breaking and entering (like burglary.) An example of larceny would be shoplifting, stealing items out of a car or picking someone’s pocket on a crowded subway train.
According to this chart, so far in 2019 there were 212 reported Part One crimes in Jamaica Plain, down from 240 this time last year, a reduction of 12%. Crimes that have seen a decrease so far in 2019 compared to the same time period in 2018 included rape, robbery and attempted, non-domestic aggravated assault, commercial burglary and all larceny. Crimes that saw an uptick in 2019 included domestic aggravated assault and residential burglary. Crimes that saw no change from one year to the next were homicide and other burglary.
Officer Jones also provided a comprehensive list of the individual Part One crimes reported in the area the previous month, including the date, time and location of each incident. According to this list, the month of February saw 45 larcenies (up from 39 in February), 9 burglaries (down from 20 in February), 15 aggravated assaults (up from 10 in February), 4 robberies (up from 2 in February). There was also one arson and one kidnapping reported in March, up from zero in February. Both were domestic in nature, according to Officer Jones. No rapes or murders were reported in March.
On his handouts, Officer Jones writes notes next to the major incidents, adding more context and detail than is available online. For example, in two of the robberies, one victim was walking around intoxicated at 1am wearing expensive shoes, and another was walking around after midnight wearing jewelry valued over two thousand dollars.
Officer Jones gave some suggestions to avoid being the victim of a robbery: walking in well lit areas, walking with someone, being aware of your environment, paying attention to people who appear to be following you, and never roaming intoxicated.
“All these things help minimize our potential [of] being victimized,” he said. “Crime comes from opportunity and our collective jobs is to remove as many opportunities as possible.”
In addition, Officer Jones said that people should trust their instincts and “[pay] attention to the hairs on our neck.”
“We’ve had victims that reported ‘sensing’ that the suspect was focusing on them before the incident happened,” he said.
The police and community relations meeting is on the first Thursday of every month at 6:30pm at Curtis Hall at 20 South Street. The next meeting is Thursday, May 2. A Spanish language version of this meeting is also held on the second Thursday of every month at 6:30pm at 155 Lamartine Street. The next Spanish-language meeting is May 9. These meetings are open to the public and all interested residents are encouraged to attend.