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Uphams Corner Safe Neighborhood Initiative August 28, 2012

Summary of August SNI Meeting

Three residents attended the SNI meeting and no one was present from Inspectional Services.  Andrius Knasas substituted (very well) for Matt Feeney from the DA's office.  Officer Miller reviewed select items from the police report.  Residents discussed quality of life issues, in particular, the fact that some businesses open til 11pm or later are keeping the neighborhood "noisy" and problematic until late.

Everyone felt it would be a good idea to get late open businesses including the Check Cashers, Paraiso Restaurant, the chinese restaurant, Camilo Liquors and the Dublin House to attend the SNI meetings to listen to resident concerns.  The September meeting will be a walk through with the location as yet to be determined.

Sparsely Attended Meeting

The August 28th meeting of the Uphams Corner Safe Neighborhood Initiative took place on the 4th floor of the Dorchester Bay offices.  The meeting was sparsely attended with 9 people present of which three were residents:
  • Two police officers
  • One Dorchester Bay employee
  • Main Street Executive Director who lives in Roslindale
  • One person who lives in Newton
  • Andrus Knassus from the DA's office (Max Feeney did not attend)
  • One resident from Monadnock Street
  • Two residents from Groom Street
Inspectional Services provided a two-page report dated July 26, 2012 regarding property issues from the past.  However, the report was not discussed since no one from ISD was present to provide an update.

Officer Miller provided a five page police report with a continuing presence of some problem properties including several on Wendover Street.  Mr. Knasas stated that although Uphams Corner is not free of crime, that shootings continue here (Columbia Rd by Holden St, Dudley and Humphreys, along Columbia Rd close to Pilgrim Church), yet the number of guns being picked up is small compared to some areas of Roxbury.

Turning the Page with the Judges

Mr. Knasas was pleased to announce that the DA's office has turned the page with the judges.  Instead of people violating quality of life issues such as public drinking or indecent exposure being fined, or the suspect being let go for time spent in jail, the DA's office is now getting a "continuance" in many cases.  That means the problem person will have to return to court in 30 days for an examination of recent behavior.  In the DA's opinion, this is a much more effective way of handling quality of life issues.

Part of the conditions established in court for some of these cases includes a requirement to "stay away," for example, from a liquor store or other area where problematic behavior is occurring.  If the individual does not, then there are grounds for escalation.  Prior to this, the "fine" which the individual could never pay anyway, failed to alter behavior.

In addition, many of these individuals are being required to perform community service so they have to participate in the Community Service Bus events.

Monadnock St behind the Businesses. 

Alcoholics and vagrants continue to sit on the retaining wall just behind the nail salon at the corner of Dudley and Monadnock Street, drinking, hanging out and sleeping.  Can anything be done to remove these people? Mr. Knasas and the police discussed what they are allowed to do and how effective it is in cleaning up a problem area.  People present agreed this location was an eyesore.  However, getting the owner of the building that houses the businesses to secure the property with, for example, a fence to the property line is not likely since he lives in Florida and is difficult to reach.

Quieting Down the Community

Not many businesses on the Dudley side of Uphams Corner are open late.  The more that close early, the earlier the community will settle down "for the night." 
  • CVS closes at 10pm
  • Chinese Restaurtant open late
  • Paraiso open late on weekends
  • Check cashing open until 11pm Monday - Saturday.
  • Camilo Liquors closes at 11pm.  It used to close at 10pm.  No one knows when / why the hours were changed to 11pm.
Everyone agreed that Camilo tends to attract problematic behavior into Uphams Corner until closing time.  If they were to close earlier, Dudley Street would quiet down earlier.

On the Stoughton Street side, (Dublin House) Yaz's is open well past midnight and has an active crowd Thursday night through Sunday night.  Some people suggested that the Dublin House patrons are often problematic.  Last year there was a shooting.  Other "impressions" are anecdoctal and need to be backed up by police reports.

People present agreed that the owners of Camilo and Dublin House are very nice people.  Everyone felt that having them attend an SNI meeting would be a good idea.  Max MacCarthy agreed to speak with them about attending.

SNI has agreed on a format of walking one month then meeting the following month.  While last month's meeting was cancelled, the next meeting (September) is scheduled as a walk through.  The exact location is not yet set.  One resident suggested that the group's continued emphasis on the same section of Uphams Corner was doing a disservice to the community.  All walks have been in the NW quadrant, north of Dudley Street and west of Columbia Rd with a little bit of the business district thrown in.

As one regular SNI attendee remarked the following day, "It's not an Uphams Corner SNI. It's a Groom Street SNI."  Perhaps that may help to explain why the attendance is low.

Comparison with Grove Hall NRT (Neighborhood Response Team

The Grove Hall NRT under the organization of Project Right has been very effective in dealing with serious issues of crime along Blue Hill Avenue.  The Uphams Corner SNI and the Grove Hall NRT function somewhat differently.
  1. The Grove Hall NRT meets every two weeks, alternating walking and meeting
  2. Project Right serves as the focal point for taking calls, emails and other forms of communication regarding current QOL issues
  3. Where the group walks is ALWAYS different and depends on what issues have come up since the last walk
How the Uphams Corner SNI differs includes the following:
  • Attendance at walks is good but not at meetings
  • There is no coordinated follow through from one meeting to the next
  • There is no single place where a resident can call to register issues
  • The only option is to attend a meeting
Identifying one part-time person to coordinate SNI issues would make a huge difference but the DA's office says there is no money for this.

Posted: August 28, 2012     Nancy J Conrad

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