Neighbors for Neighbors

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I got an email from Lt. Cruz today. There was a forth Robbery on Chestnut Street yesterday morning at 8:00 am.

He urged me to urge you to NOT USE OR DISPLAY YOUR SMART PHONE OR VALUABLES while walking around. In this case a woman was approached from behind, her jacket pulled over her head, and purse taken from her.

In this case, I'd recommend to all women that you keep your purses inside your coat so It cannot be seen. Keep all valuables concealed.

Please keep an eye out for each other and spread the word.



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Was there any discussion regarding increased patrols in the general area? How is E-13 approaching this localized increase in street crime in this area? I have been pleased to see the extra police presence at the Stony Brook T-stop following the previous string of muggings.

What concerns me is that at a time when most BPD precincts have experienced a decrease in attempted or 'successful' robberies from last year, JP's E-13 has had a 37% increase in 'muggings', attempted or otherwise, from last year, the greatest increase out of any police precinct in the city (

While I understand and respect the importance of removing the appearance of 'easy targets' by not flashing valuables, with all due respect, I'm a bit frustrated by the advice I've seen for JP residents to 1) walk in the middle of the street and for 2) women to carry their purses inside their coats.

I'm uncertain what we may be classifying as 'purses' here, whether it be a wallet or the purse itself, but for many JP women keeping these inside their coats would be impractical or in some circumstances, impossible...and we're also asking people to take increased risk by walking amongst cars (in some circumstances with traffic) on slippery winter streets?

Once again, I know that these pieces of advice have been filtered second-hand through this website and may in a larger context, come across differently. I also understand that much of this advice centers around what we as individuals can do to minimize our chances for being victims of crime. However, there seems to me to be a big difference in necessary and obvious precautions from hey, don't leave your GPS or laptop in a parked car and, 1) don't talk on your cellphone on the street during the day or at night, 2) walk in the middle of the street and 3) carry your purse inside your jacket.

Is this the new expectation of everyday life. the new standard operating procedure for residents of JP?

I'd appreciate it if E13 could let us know via NFN what action the police are taking in these circumstances in an effort to address this 37% jump from 2008.
Hey Eric,

I'll asked E-13 to chime in here.
I tend to agree. Being wise about the various everyday dangers of life in the city is one thing, but being advised to ride the T two stations past your stop and take a cab back to your front door because it's risky to walk three blocks after dark (or at 8 a.m., or during the evening commute...) is another altogether*.

One of the greatest things about living in any city (especially one as NPR-topian as JP) is the ability to walk to things. Walk to the train. Walk to dinner. Walk to the store. But walk in constant fear? Walk at your own peril? I'd like to hope we aren't reduced to living (or thinking) like that. It takes a lot of the joy out of the whole endeavor.

*(For perspective, Charlestown, a 'hood that shares many characteristics with JP, has a muggings-per-capita rate roughly half that of JP.)
Hey Ryan,

After reading your and Eric's reply's I realized that some context was missing - and that being coming home late night. The suggestions we came up like riding the T to forest hills and taking a cab were not intended for the "daily commute."

My point was that many of the muggings aren't happening late at night. Only one of the most recent four happened after 8:30 p.m.

Note for context on my part as well: I hadn't intended to be combative (the best preventative measure that I've seen so far is the awareness spread on this site, and I'm a huge fan). Just furthering the conversation.
I think part of the furthering of that conversation is discussing the potential diminishing set of returns in increasing behavior modification as a solution to the problem.
Eric, I totally agree.

The suggestion not to carry a purse or backpack any time of day or to only carry what you can stuff under your coat while you walk down the middle of the street is not going to solve the problem. If someone wants to mug you, they will, even if it means making you take your coat off first. It seems like the primary prevention focus should be on the perpetrators of these crimes, not the rest of us.

I've written to Colleen Keller at the Mayor's office to express my frustration about this topic. I'll let you know if I hear anything back.
I'm happy to hear that others feel similarly when they read the messages from police departments in the area instructing us on paranoid procedures instead of telling us what they're doing to fix the problem.

We have a right to walk down the streets of our neighborhoods without being fearful. It's not unreasonable to expect to be able to use a cell phone while walking down the street in a residential neighborhood. It's also reasonable to expect our police force to take meaningful, effective action- not coach victims on how to be less of a target.

I think we need to be holding self-defense classes and walking neighborhood watch patrols. Plus, remember folks, if you get a Firearm Identification Card, you can carry Mace in Massachusetts. That's what happened back in 2004 after some rapes in the area; BPD Licensing stayed open late to handle the requests. Also, there was a bill introduced this year to remove the FIC requirement for self-defense sprays. Email your state and city reps and demand they support it.

By the way, to speed up response to a call to 911, program in the direct number for Boston 911: 617-343-4911. That way you can skip 20 Questions with the State Police. Programed it in as "Aa Boston Police" so it appears top of your contact list, or add it to your 'favorites' or quick-dial number (ie what # is dialed when you hold a number key.)
I would also email/write John Tobin. I haven't heard anything back from Colleen Keller and have been meaning to write Tobin...he was very responsive in the past when I've contacted him regarding other community issues.
We have received many complaints and concerns about the amount of robberies in JP over the last few months. Part of our responsibility is to provide crime prevention tips to the public. We continue to provide those tips because we continue to see the same type of behavior being repeated.

The shift commander on the evening shift has continued to assign a cruiser to focus only in the Stony Brook T Station neighborhood. A recent robbery arrest was highlighted in the globe. A passing citizen got involved and the officer assigned to the area was flagged down by another passing citizen and the officer was able to respond in seconds. This and the strong response by other officers led to the arrest. There have been many other arrests for robbery over the last few months that Captain Greland usually posts on this site. We will continue to provide extra patrols and work towards preventing future incidents. We are also working with some youth groups on producing crime prevention videos and we are trying to get the message out that robbery is a crime punishable by up to life in prison.

I also encourage you to contact the Transit Police and State Police or your elected officials. We work hard at forming partnerships with the community and welcome any suggestions. The next Police/Community Monthly Meeting is this Thursday at 7pm at Area E-13.


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