Police Discuss Recent Robberies and Road Rage on Charles St.
In a meeting Wednesday Boston police officers gave neighbors the lowdown on crime trends for November.
In a community meet and greet Wednesday Boston Police officers shared updates on some of this month's more serious crimes in Beacon Hill.
At the Hill House District A-1 Capt. Bernard O'Rourke and Community Service Officer Sgt. Tom Lema shared statistics and trends and discussed what's been done and what still needs to be done to make Beacon Hill a safer place.
Two Robberies at Knife-Point in One Month
O'Rourke discussed to robbery incidents in depth -- both were originally reported in our police logs here and here. The first, a robbery at knife-point on Chestnut St., occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at around 11:30 p.m.
The victim, a 39-year-old Beacon Hill resident, was robbed and threatened with a knife in the area of Chestnut and Willow streets. His iPhone and wallet were stolen by two men. The suspects escaped and the victim went to the Charles St. 7 Eleven to call the police.
"Banks cards and debit cards were taken and they were used in Brookline," said O'Rourke. "So Brookline made some arrests." Right now, O'Rourke explained, the suspects are claiming the cards were given to them by someone else, so Brookline Police are in the process of following up.
"Thankfully these robberies are very, very rare on the Hill and we definitely have some suspects," O'Rourke said.
Another robbery at knife-point occurred on Sunday, Nov. 14 at around 9:30 p.m. on the Boston Common across from 36 Beacon St. The victim stated that a man sitting to his right on a bench in the Boston Common held a knife to his side, pulled his jacket over his head, stole his wallet and iPhone and took off, O'Rourke said.
No arrests have been made yet in this case.
Serious Road Rage on Charles St.
O'Rourke described the month's third violent crime as a case of "road rage." A 60-year-old man is accused of hitting a woman in the face with his cellphone on Charles St. at 10:15 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 8.
The man was attempting to exit Charles St. in his vehicle but had been blocked in by a woman's car. He then got out and kicked her car, explained O'Rourke. She came out and asked him why he was kicking her car and a verbal altercation eventually led to physical assault.
Several witnesses on Charles St. say the man punched the woman in the face while he was holding his cellphone. He was arrested on the scene for assault and battery.
Slow and Steady Increase of Robberies on the Hill
O'Rourke went on to describe several minor incidents such as an attempted break-in at the Upper Crust Pizzeria that resulted in damage to the door but no stolen property.
A laptop computer was stolen from a home on Phillips St. on Nov. 15 and the perpetrator climbed in through an open window. A stool was left standing next to the window, O'Rourke said, issuing a warning to resident to lock their windows, even on warmer days.
In another incident perpetrators shattered the glass windows at a residential building on Myrtle St. to get in and steal an expensive stroller left sitting in the entryway.
O'Rourke said the uptick in robberies is "something that concerns us." The police captain said he recalled years past when the Hill would average six to seven robberies a year.
"If you look at the numbers across the board we're averaging one robbery per month, one assault every other month and 3.7 burglaries per month," he said.
Five Car Break-Ins in November
Car break-ins at West Hill Place, on 141 Revere St., on Charles St., on Beacon St. and on Grove St. have police urging residents to take all valuables out of their cars.
Three laptop computers, a GPS and an airbag were stolen in this month's car break-ins, O'Rourke said.
"It's the most preventable crime there is!" he said, noting it takes a thief less than 30 seconds to break into your car and swipe a computer or GPS and run away.
Sgt. Lema drew attention to larceny, otherwise known as shoplifting, on Charles St. He said that the numbers have gone down slightly since the summer spike but noted that a lot of incidents are still going unreported. He urged business owners to contact police about all shoplifting cases.
Crosswalk safety drew quite a bit of attention from residents and police alike, with residents complaining about constant violations and police saying they're aware of the problem.
"Beacon St. is pretty much at the top of the list for the number of complaints," O'Rourke said.
Police Urge Residents to Take Precautions
But while police work on redoubling their efforts to keep the streets safe, O'Rourke said that most crimes can be prevented if residents remain aware, alert and take precautions.
"If you see somebody in the neighborhood that doesn't appear to belong it's more than likely they don't belong," O'Rourke said.
Criminals prey on susceptible individuals -- those with iPods on and headphones in, not paying attention, he said.
Resident Concerns: Speeding, Graffiti and Kids Drinking
The small group of residents on hand at Wednesday's meeting expressed concern about a number of issues, all of which the police officers pledged to follow up on.
A Beacon Hill resident who lives on West Cedar Lane Way said she's noticed an increasing number of kids drinking on stoops and leaving the cans and bottles out the next day.
A parent raised concerns about speeding on Myrtle St. by the Myrtle Street Playspace. "Someone's going to get hit," he said, urging police to lobby the city and have speed bumps put in.
O'Rourke said it's very difficult to get speed bumps put in on urban roads but police would look into the problem and consider setting up speed traps in the area or putting up warning signs about children playing.
A resident of Anderson St. expressed frustration over constant graffiti tagging on her street and on Phillips St. She said the tag "TLA" is graffitied all around the area and as soon as she paints over it, it pops up again.
O'Rourke encouraged her to keep painting over it no matter how annoying it gets. "If it's left unchecked, you're going to get more and more of it," he said.