Police Laud Assistance of Neighbors in Solving Recent Crimes in JP Area

Special to the Gazette

The Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) held its regular monthly meeting this past Monday, November 7.

Chairperson Kay Mathew and fellow members Peter Elmuts, Peter Steiger, Martin Thomson, Jasmine Crafts, Tamara Pitts, Michael Reiskind, Michael Frank, Kevin Moloney, Martin Thompson, Rosemary Jones, and David Moir were in attendance for the meeting.

Boston Police Officers Carlos Martinez and Patricia DaRosa from District 13 were on hand, with Officer Martinez presenting the monthly Community Safety Report for the period of October 7-November 7.

He noted that there had been a commercial break-in in the area on American Legion Highway in which $600 cash was taken.

There also were five residential breaks, one of which was what Martinez termed a “targeted break-in” on Halloween night on So. Huntington Ave. in which the burglars stole a cache of narcotics, including cocaine and fentanyl.

However, two of the three suspects in the break were apprehended thanks to a call from a neighbor who heard the sound of breaking glass. In addition, other residents were able to point the direction in which the burglars fled the scene to the police.

“We appreciate our witnesses,” said Martinez. 

One of the other incidents, in which the suspect took some documents and fled in a car, involved a mental health issue. The suspect was not arrested, but was placed into a mental health facility.

Another incident involved an attempted break in the daytime. According to Martinez, the would-be perpetrator entered the foyer of a building through an unlocked outer door and then attempted to pry open three apartment doors without success.

Martinez urged all homeowners to place locks on their outside doors in order to keep would-be burglars from gaining entrance to the premises.

“Once they’re inside the building, they can take their time and are not visible to police who might be on patrol,” Martinez said.

Another burglary involved a suspected domestic incident in which an ex-boyfriend is believed to have taken a TV.

Martinez made note of a shooting that occurred behind the VA building on October 10 with one victim. Martinez said that the area has become a hang-out for groups where they smoke and drink. He said that ballistics evidence has been recovered from the scene, including a shell casing that he himself had discovered.

“If you see any kinds of ballistics, don’t touch it. Just please give us a call,” Martinez said.

Martinez also discussed the ongoing, international trend involving the theft of catalytic converters, primarily from Toyota and Honda vehicles. He said there was one such theft from a Toyota Prius on Chestnut Ave. in the past month.

“There are three materials in these converters (the precious metals platinum, palladium, and rhodium) with a value that is worth 15 times more than an ounce of gold. This is an international epidemic,” said Martinez, who reminded residents that if they see someone acting suspiciously in the vicinity of a motor vehicle, they should call the police.

Capt. John Hughes, the E-13 Precinct Commander, addressed a question about the recent daytime break and sexual assault that occurred near the Arborway on the Arboretum block last month.

Hughes said that police have identified a suspect and have issued a warrant for his arrest for a parole violation. Hughes noted that the suspect may be in Rhode Island at the present time and assured the association members and the community that police feel this event was an isolated incident.

Hughes said that once the suspect is apprehended on the parole violation, it is expected that DNA evidence will link him to the sexuial assault.

Hughes pointed out that there was no lock on the outside door of the apartment building where the incident took place, allowing the perpetrator access to the premises, from where he then broke into the apartment.

“This is one of the more serious crimes we’ve had in the neighborhood in a while,” Hughes noted.

Officer DaRosa showed videos on the Zoom screen from the Ring cameras of neighbors that proved crucial in identifying the suspect. 

“We have to work together,” emphasized Martinez, who added that thanks to the many angles presented by numerous cameras, “The community was able to identify the person. This was great work by the homeowners.”

Peter Steiger led a brief discussion about the IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and access) Committee which is seeking to make changes to the association to achieve the goals of IDEA.

“The basic thought is we would like to take the opportunity to revisit how we interact with the community, the type of image we project to the community, and what kind of topics we engage in to mobilize the community,” said Steiger. “We want to project an image of a kinder and more inclusive organization.” 

Steiger said the IDEA subcommittee will be meeting twice over the next month in preparation for a presentation at the JPA’s annual meeting in December.

The association also discussed the goal of moving to in-person meetings in the near future and various possibilities for meeting places were mentioned by the members.

Although there were no formal committee reports, Moloney, who is a member of the Parks and Open Space Committee, started a discussion about the plans by the DCR for the Arborway and Arboretum and the perceived lack of transparency by the DCR regarding its plans to improve safety for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists from Jamaica Pond to Forest Hills.

The DCR favors what is known as Alternative 4, but that proposal is opposed by the JPA, which recently sent a letter to the DCR requesting public records pertaining to the criteria used by the DCR in its selection of Alternative 4 as the DCR’s preferred alternative.

“It’s just classic business as usual, lack of transparency, business behind closed doors,” said Mathew, echoing sentiments expressed by other members.

However, Reiskind pushed back. “It’s not as much of a snow job as you think,” Reiskind said. “This is the most rational, best decision in their minds.”

The meeting concluded with a reminder that the BAA’s annual 1/2 marathon is scheduled for this Sunday, November 13, from 7-11 a.m.. All of the major roads will be closed to accommodate the thousands of runners, who will traverse the 13.1 mile route primarily through the Jamaica Plain area, out-and-back along the Emerald Necklace park system to the Riverway, with the start and finish at White Stadium in Franklin Park.

The JPA’s annual meeting, which will feature the election of new members, is set for Monday, December 5, via Zoom.

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