Neighborhood Watch Committee First Meeting an Attendance Disaster

A meeting (private to members only) was coordinated bay North End resident Brian Brandt to discuss the possibility of establishing a Neighborhood Watch in the neighborhood turned out to be a bust as only seven members, including Brandt showed up, according to the Nazzaro Center sign-in log.

An email sent to the Review by Brandt indicated that 40 residents signed-up to be a part of the Committee.

Another email invited the Review to attend. The Review responded it doesn’t usually cover private meetings. Brandt responded “You’re warmly welcomed as a journalist and we so appreciate the kind support you have shown our endeavor. Please attend.”

He also asked the Review not to publish any announcement about the meeting in the Tuesday, June 26 edition. “It’s a closed meeting and not intended to be a North End (deleted) show,” he said.

Brandt then followed up with a memo stating that he and Carolyn MacNeil, Director of the Boston Police Neighborhood Watch don’t allow media in their membership committee meetings. Who’s on First?

Brandt also sent the following email: Unfortunately, I would love to honor your request, but a very important topic has come up. I need to write to you one last time. I’m not sure if you are aware, but watch groups are not reported on anywhere in the city (or elsewhere that I know of). Reporting on the initiative itself was great, but now we need to get up and running and discuss ideas, strategies and initiatives.

While your paper serves the community well, it does not serve any watch member well if their ideas, works, names and faces are in any way exposed. We work behind the scenes and keep our works within the group.

I will refer you to Carolyn for the rest. It is fine to publish guidelines, but no one can attend any meeting as a non-registered member. Registrations need to be sent to me at [email protected]. Full name, address, email and phone numbers and call/no call preferences. (I can’t worry about those who don’t want to give an email, as I am not willing to put my number in the paper. Maybe there is another workaround).

Obviously, this wasn’t a step in the right direction as seven of forty alleged members showed an interest by attending the private meeting.

The Review has published, on several occasions, that this kind of committee was attempted several other times and failed each time. History repeats its self!

The North End is regarded as one of , if not the safest neighborhoods in Boston.

This is backed up by Boston Police Crime and Incidents reports presented at monthly Public Safety meetings at the Nazzaro Community Center.

At several other meetings MacNeil presented all the necessary information on how to start a Neighborhood Watch.

The theme of the Watch is “To connect and empower neighbors to deter crime and the fear of crime and build community.”

Goals include: Organization and Collaboration to make a Watch work.

Organize: To have neighbors meet each other, learn about and practice crime prevention and community-building behaviors that reduces opportunities for crime, and watch out for each other. Create Neighborhood Watch groups by street. Have group members meet in person a minimum of five times a year; continuously communicate with each other, Police, City agencies, community-based organization, and elected officials; and mobilize when needed to inform and provide actions steps to their neighbors to reduce criminal opportunities, to suppress crime trends, and to assist police. Meetings also should be social events that enable neighbors to get to know one another.

Collaborate: Create a network of Neighborhood Watch leaders, Police, City agencies, community-based organization, and elected officials who will collaborate, share best practices and ensure available resources are utilized. Have Street Captains meet with one another two times a year to report and discuss progress, trends, and best practices. They should also collaborate online via collaboration tool (to be launched by end of October).

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