On Thursday, June 6, 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.
This month, Sergeant John Dougherty stood in for his colleague Officer Jones. Sgt. Dougherty 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 is the taking of someone’s property directly from that person using intimidation or force. Burglary, also known as breaking and entering (or B&E in law enforcement shorthand), 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 Sgt. Dougherty’s chart, so far in 2019 there were 353 reported Part One crimes in Jamaica Plain, down from 423 this time last year, a 17% decrease. Crimes that saw an uptick in 2019 included rape and attempted, domestic aggravated assault and residential burglary. Crimes that have seen a decrease so far in 2019 compared to the same time period in 2018 included homicide, robbery and attempted, non-domestic aggravated assault, commercial burglary, other burglary, motor vehicle larceny, other larceny and auto theft.
Sgt. Dougherty 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 May saw ten burglaries (up from seven in April), six robberies (up from three in April), thirteen aggravated assaults (up from seven in April), five motor vehicle theft (up one in April), and 53 larcenies (up from 36 in April), one arson (up from zero in April). There were no reported incidents of rape, kidnapping or murder in April.
On his handouts, Sgt. Dougherty wrote notes next to the major incidents, adding more context and detail than is available online. For example, we know that in four of the burglaries, there were no signs of a forced entry, which means that the access to the premises was not properly secured. In the past, Officer Jones has urged residents to properly secure their homes by locking all doors and windows when not home and leaving valuables out of sight from passers-by.
“Our best advice is to get people thinking about crime as an opportunity and to collectively participate in removing as many opportunities as possible,” he told the Gazette.
The police and community relations meeting is on the first Thursday of every month at 6:30pm at Curtis Hall at 20 South Street. However, the next meeting will be held on Thursday, August 1, due to the holiday July 4. 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 Thursday, July 11. These meetings are open to the public and all interested residents are encouraged to attend.