By Matt Conti
The September 2017 North End Public Safety Meeting was highlighted by the recognition of Boston Police District A-1 Captain Kenneth Fong who was presented with a City Council citation by Councilor Sal LaMattina.
“Working with Boston Police, Mayor Walsh’s office and Rep. Michlewitz, I want to thank Captain Ken Fong for his leadership in dealing with the difficult issue of teenagers disturbing the North End neighborhood during summer feast weekends. This citation recognizes Captain Fong’s commitment to the community and is signed by Boston City Council President, Michelle Wu and myself.”
In a rundown of recent police activity in the North End, the discussion centered on the 68 arrests of teenagers over two summer feast weekends, a record number for the community. The vast majority of those arrested were juveniles from the suburbs with only two North End residents implicated.
In summing up the arrest program, Captain Fong and Sergeant John Doris emphasized the efforts made to spread the word around these teen groups not to come to the North End during feast weekends to engage in public/underage drinking and trespassing through parks at night. A Boston Juvenile Court judge sentenced most of those arrested to a 5 page writing essay on the feasts and 15 hours of community service. For those over 18 years old, community service in the North End was the typical sentence.
“I think a strong message was sent to these teenagers,” said Captain Fong. “By the end of the last feast weekend, we saw very little activity along Commercial Street and the neighborhood parks.” Some lifelong North End residents complained that this was the first year that police stepped up enforcement and asked why so few arrests were made in past years. Fong responded, “Gaining political support from the Mayor’s Office, City Councilor LaMattina, Rep. Michlewitz and Sen. Boncore was important to the success of this operation. The police will not make 68 arrests in a community without the backing of the community and its elected officials.” Councilor LaMattina agreed with the Captain’s remarks indicating the situation had been getting worse every year. LaMattina also commended District A-1 for making this a priority at the same time they were dealing with high profile protests throughout the city and more violent activity in other neighborhoods. “Looking forward, we plan to use the same operation next year which involves a large amount of police overtime, arrest processing and court resources,” Fong added.
Outside of the feast weekend arrests, Captain Fong reviewed various incidents from the police blotter. A resident inquired about an incident at the Mirabella Pool between kids, police and the city staff. Police did not have a report at the meeting and said they would follow up with those involved. Other issues raised included moving day violations, sidewalk crowding, truck deliveries and homeless encampments around the North End and waterfront.
The Suffolk University car has started its weekend patrols for disturbances by its off-campus students. Residents can report loud parties to 911 for an immediate response and follow up with the District A-1 police community office (617-343-4240) the next day. In response to complaints about troublesome truck deliveries, officers also suggested residents contact the District A-1 community service office so officers can talk to related businesses.
The next North End Public Safety meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 5th, 6:00 p.m. at the Nazzaro Center, 30 N. Bennet Street. All are welcome to attend and bring their issues to the District A-1 Boston Police.