Upham's Corner Online

SNI Schedules June Neighborhood Walkthrough in Upham's Corner

Posted: May 24, 2011     Nancy J Conrad
New Issues

Matt Feeney from the DA's office, Eugenio Fernendes, Community Services Officer, and residents of Upham's Corner met on May 24, 2011 to continue the Safe Neighborhood Initiative (SNI) activities.  The meeting covered the following:
  • Updates from the DA's office
  • Progress on issues identified last month
  • How to get more people involved
  • A neighborhood walk
As with last month, the SNI meeting was deemed successful and effective at making a difference in Upham's Corner.

Walkthrough:  June 21, 2011 6:30pm (see below)
Next Meeting:  June 28, 2011 6:30pm  The City School

Refer to April 26, 2011 SNI Meeting Report

Garages on Humphreys Street Residents report that the flea market activity at these garages seems to have stopped.  "However, now there is construction taking place at one or more of the garages without a building permit.  Something is going on and it's being done secretively."
  • During the day construction trucks arrived dropping off construction material - wood and sheetrock.
  • Someone is putting out "no parking signs" in front of the garages to make room (he thinks) for the construction trucks
  • He noticed that when one of the garage doors was raised, behind it was a fancy French double door almost as if the garage were being made into a residence.
Garages on Harrow Street
Officer Fernandes inspected the garages and found someone working on a vehicle in one of the garages as was reported at the last meeting.  He FIO'd the person and will continue close watch on that property.

Camilo Liquors Officer Fernandes visited the store and spoke with the owner and his son.  "I told them about the loitering in front of the building, that it was unacceptable.  I informed them to call 911, that we need to see 911 calls from the business showing that they care about what happens in front of their business and around the community.  They said yes they would start doing that."

Officer Fernandes also described an incident in front of Camilo's.  "I was on a code 19, walk and talk.  I observed someone drinking from a 1/2 liter bottle. So I did an FOI and found out he had an outstanding warrant for drug trafficking, so he was arrested."

He explained that every time he leaves a community meeting, he sends  information to the other officers.   That way feedback from community meetings is immediately making a difference in the policing and its effectiveness.

"Some businesses," he said "cooperate with the police.  Some businesses do not care.  I was searching for a guy who was drinking who I saw walking into a business.  When I walked into that store, the owner said to the people around:  "Don't worry about him.  He's just a Cape Verdean with a badge."
Project Pride House
No progress has been made on the Project Pride house on Humphreys Street but this will be focused on in the next couple weeks and certainlly on the day of the SNI neighborhood walkthrough.

Mr. Feeney spoke to the nature of the work that is necessary to to make an effective reduction in crime. 

"It has to be done methodically and sometimes very slowly," he said.  "So, for example, in the case of both the Humphreys Street garages and the Harrow Street garages, the first step in the police investigation is to make contact with people at those sites and where appropriate perform an FIO or field investigation observation where data is collected about events and the people.  This documentation establishes the groundwork for further investigation.  If we are to do this in a way in which we use city services to help compost the goals, we need to have the situations documented."

He went on to give the example of how much work was necessary in making changes to establishments with liquor licenses.
"I'm sure you've heard the stories about Packy Connors and The Breezeway.  In order to get their hours rolled back by even one hour was by documenting the problematic activity there - incident after incident after incident – crimes inside the bar, crimes outside the bar, guns and shootings, stabbings, drugs, fights, everything you could possibly imagine.  When we are dealing with the city, things are not going to move as fast as possible.  Some may seem like a very minor issue at the time but it is the overall record that can make a big difference."

El Frutero
Note:  This store was not an issue from the April meeting but it has come up as a point of discussion in May.

According to one resident, "The people who used to hang out in front of Camilo now have taken residence in front of and inside El Frutero, just across the street.  Hanging out in front of a grocery store," she said "doesn't look as bad as hanging out in front of a liquor store.  So we've made progress."

The question becomes:  Is there anything else going on?  "At least two of the people who moved across the street from the liquor store are petty drug dealers.  By changing their location, are they impacting the store and its customers?"

Officer Fernandes told the group that El Frutero has installed the KENO game in its store which, based on how the game is played, encourages waiting around.  "How can I enforce loitering when loitering is encouraged?  So I come around and these kids already know that all they have to do is buy a ticket and and show it so that looks like they're playing the game."
Note:  Upham's Corner News spoke with Mohamed, an owner of El Frutero.  Their store has had the KENO game for about two weeks.  "Does that cause people from the neighborhood to hang out in your store?  Is that a problem for you?"

Mohamed said: "No.  We cooperate with the police.  We don't want these guys hanging out in the store.  There is one chubby guy who has come in here and we've told him in no uncertain terms that he is never to come back in here again.  The police,"  he said "are welcome here anytime."
No Loitering Signs Officer Fernandes said he has "contacted Graphics and they are making signs for no trespassing and no loitering for all the businesses.  I will personally provide them with the signs and all they have to do is post it up.  We need people to make those calls to 911 we need people to be placed in the 'no trespass' list.  Otherwise the level of enforcement is very limited."

Graffiti Busters
Officer Fernandes has also made contact with the Graffiti Busters and will be identifying all of the spots in Upham's Corner that need graffiti removed.He'll be getting the necessary owner approvals and then GB will come in and clean up the business district.
City parking lot For years and years, the City parking lot behind the businesses on Dudley Street was free public parking, completely open. 

The city lot has now been restricted to two-hour parking - Monday through Saturday - 8 AM to 6 PM.  This situation was introduced by Elias Monteiros who works at Dorchester Bay, many of whom are directly affected by this new parking restriction because they park there during the day. 

The reaction of the group was disbelief and perplexion. 

Rev. John Odams stated:  "It is very evident that in doing this, the City officials have not paid any attention to the community.  Upham's Corner has been saying for years  that we want people to park in the parking area behind the businesses on Dudley Street.  For years the refrain has been 'people do not use the parking lot.'  How can we change that?

Now the refrain will be 'people do not use the parking lot' but for a different reason - They get tickets. "

Apparently the businesses such as CVS and Brothers Market are also concerned.  They certainly didn't make the request to change the parking.  Several members of the group have begun reaching out to BTD and the elected officials to get help correcting the situation.

Neighborhood Walkthrough
One resident was adamant about a suggestion made in the April meeting.

"I think we should schedule a neighborhood walkthrough in Upham's Corner - just as we are right now.  Let's get up and let's go do a walk-through.  Let's walk together and let people know that we are here.  That would be a really appropriate use of the meeting time.  We could have a meeting while we are talking."

Another resident said a walkthrough was a wonderful opportunty for residents who do not attend neighborhood meetings to have a say in the area where they live.  "A walk through the neighborhood is a form of transparent participation in community activity.  You can just join us and let your voice be heard."

Ultimately, the group decided to schedule the walkthrough for June 21, 2011 6:30pm, meeting at City School.  The results of the walkthrough would then be discussed at the following meeting (along with the other issues that SNI is working on).

Invitation from Matt Feeney via Email, May 25, 2011

Hello Everyone,
On behalf of the Uphams Corner Safe Neighborhood Initiative, I would like to invite you to an opportunity to come out and meet some of your neighbors while taking a walking tour of the community. 

We will be meeting at the City School (Ramsey St. off of Dudley St.) at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21 and walking through the community to identify areas of concern for the residents.

Whether it be pot holes in the street, nuisance properties, graffiti, or issues with city services, please join us in spotting these issues and becoming part of the solution. Please feel free to bring anyone who wishes to attend as the more people we have, the better it will be!

Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Prostitution Matt Feeney advised the group that the DAs office is going to be pursuing prostitution on Blue Hill Avenue vehemently - from 99 Blue Hill Ave all the Way up to Grove Hall. 

"Prostitution," he said "is not a violation that tends to generate jail sentences."

"They get probation; they get stay-aways. So prostitution disappears in the area where it is targeted and reappears in a different area. The community needs to be aware of the situation so they can be on the lookout for prostitution popping up in their neighborhoods."
Meeting format Residents raised a concern with this month's meeting agenda which didn't have much to do with last month's issues. 

"In last month's meeting there were at least four issues that came up that were not included in this meeting's agenda.  We need to start this month's meeting with the outstanding issues from last month, with reports on how much progress has been made."

Another resident said he wants SNI to be able to demonstrate a track record.  "If you don't finish the issues from the prior month, how can we demonstrate we are making progress?"

Mr. Feeney agreed that he would change the format to better track the focus of the group.
Cape Verdean Mother's Support Group
The VIP coalition report was given.  Of note is the formation of a support group for Cape Verdean mothers who have lost children to gang violence. 

"We last met on May 11 at the Kroc Center, and it went really well, and we are planning to do it again in late June.  There were 13 families present.  We are looking for conversation, looking for the families to be able to feel comfortable speaking about what happened to them and taking steps to help them heal their wounds."

One particularly helpful, yet small, step was the formation of a phone tree. 

"They have done something that is very helpful for them.  They created a phone tree.  They're using this to keep in contact with each other.   Everybody's in charge of one person to check up on that other person.  Also, if they need to be connected with a counselor, that we are connecting them to the health center."
Main Street Several people wanted to know why Upham's Corner Main Street is not attending the SNI meetings?  Are they working with the businesses on the issues of loitering and trespassing? 

Rev. John Odams who is on the UCMS Board spoke up.  "To give you an honest answer, we are in transition with our one staffer.  Zachary Cohen is leaving.  So at this point outreach is not a primary concern. However, this is an issue that will be discussed at Board meetings when the new Executive Director is onboard."

City Parking Lot Problem City Parking Lot Problem
Both sides of the parking lot behind the businesses on Dudley St have had "2 hour" signs put up recently.
City Parking Lot Problem City Parking Lot Problem
The signs are placed at frequent intervals throughout the area.  Close-up of sign.

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