By Michael Coughlin Jr.
Captain John Hughes, Sergeant Ryan Cunningham, and Officer Carlos Martinez, members of the Boston Police Department’s District E-13, joined the monthly Egleston Square Neighborhood Association (ESNA) meeting Monday, Dec. 5, to give their police report that revealed part one crime has increased by 19% year to date in Jamaica Plain.
Martinez went into depth on each crime, reporting the increase or decrease from 2021 to 2022, and the numbers account for the crimes reported from Jan. 1 to Dec. 4 of each respective year.
Homicides increased from one to two, which Martinez mentioned falls within the five-year average. In better news, there was a decrease in rapes and attempted rapes from 11 to nine.
Unfortunately, most other crimes increased year to date. Attempted robberies and robberies were up from 15 to 26. Some of the more significant increases include residential burglaries going from 35 to 54 and other larcenies up to 298 from 251 last year.
One resident asked explicitly about the increase in residential burglaries, wondering what was behind the increase. Hughes explained that much of the rise could be attributed to bike thefts from basements and back porches that often get coded as residential burglaries.
“When we write a report at the district level, we code it, but when it goes into headquarters, sometimes they change that code,” said Hughes.
“To me, if someone steals a bike off your back porch, I don’t really equate that as a burglary, but that’s how they code it for the FBI. As far as like people actually physically kicking in doors and going in your house, I don’t think our numbers are that out of control compared to last year,” he added.
That said, Hughes still emphasized that residents need to lock up; he mentioned the need for those who live in multi-family dwellings to lock shared common entryways, which can be an easy point of access for intruders if unlocked.
While crime has increased in Jamaica Plain, which Martinez described as unfortunate, he reiterated that officers are hard at work. For example, recently, officers have made five firearm arrests.
Along with continuing to keep the streets safe, District E-13 has also been a massive part of supporting the community during the holiday season.
With the help of donations, District E-13 gave out over 500 candy bags for Halloween, passed out over 300 dinners for families this Thanksgiving, and, as it stands now, will give over 300 kids a present for Christmas.
There is also a drop-off box accepting new and unwrapped toys at District E-13 for kids zero to 15 years old, and the deadline for donations is Thursday, Dec. 15.
“If you know any families, please refer them to us, and hopefully, we can help them out in Jamaica Plain,” said Martinez.
The work of Jamaica Plain’s officers clearly has not gone unnoticed by residents, especially in the ESNA. Toward the end of Monday’s meeting, those in attendance showed their support for the community service officers of District E-13.
“They always attend our meetings; they know the neighborhood. They do things like the gift drive – they do a lot of things like that,” said Carolyn Royce.
“They’re very attentive and open and accessible; you can reach them by e-mail, you can call them … I think they do a lot for the Egleston neighborhood, and I feel like we gain a lot of benefit from having a strong community service office,” she said.
Alvin Shiggs mentioned how open the officers are when they join the meetings and how responsive they are to residents’ questions.
“Sometimes folks have asked some very tough questions, and they do try to respond. We may not always like the answer we hear from them, but they do respond,” said Shiggs.
Although crime has risen a bit, it is clear that those in attendance at Monday’s meeting support the officer’s work in what Hughes said is to help and “make the square a better place to live and work.”