Below is a transcript of today\’s Q and A with Captain William Evans, Commander of District 4 (South End and Back Bay) regarding the increased Boston Police patrols on Newbury street.
QUESTION ONE: If I could ask you, sir, when those patrols start, and could you just give us an idea a little bit of the numbers in terms of if there\’s 1 or 2 extra officers per tour?
ANSWER: Newbury Street we’ve had covered for some time, we’ve had officers full time on Newbury. With the holidays we’ve increased the patrols. Double, sometimes triple, just because we do that every year. I think anywhere you look, the shopping areas around the city – Mayor Menino, the Police Commissioner have put extra patrols out there. You see them at Downtown Crossing, you\’ll see them on Newbury St, and you’ll see them on Boylston St.
We realize that people want to see the officers out there, realize that shopliftings do go up, so we do proactively put patrols out there. Anywhere there’s a busy shopping area, you’ll see an increase in patrols. It’s not a reaction to an increase in crime, its done every year.
QUESTION TWO: Captain, can you give us some indication if you’ve had communication with the business owners on Newbury St, are they expressing any concerns about an increase in activity
ANSWER: No, they really haven’t; I want to say about a month or two, we did have a rash of larcenies, and we had a robbery or two at the sunglass place down there, but we’ve proactively reached out to them. I know myself and Councilor Ross walked up and down Newbury St. about a month ago, reassuring all the businesses that, you know, we have a continued presence down there. We have a day walking officer, we have a night walking officer, so I think there’s this perception out there that things have been getting worse down there, but its just not true, you know.
We’re seeing the statistics, and the shopkeepers for the most part were very happy. The night walking officer was something that we put into effect about 2 months ago, and they were thrilled that they had both day and nite coverage down there. They seem to be very happy.
QUESTION THREE: Is there anything that you think the store owners themselves can do to try and perhaps protect themselves against this kind of thing?
ANSWER Well, I think, again, with the holiday season, it’s a busy time, the stores are more crowded, I think they proactively have to keep an eye on who’s coming into their store, and if there’s any hint that maybe they’re up to no good reach out, call 911. I think I stressed that when I met with them a month ago, that if they see someone come into the store that just doesn’t fit, don\’t hesitate to call us. I mean, obviously I think having an extra sales person or 2 might help, because unfortunately a lot of shops down there, I think hire some young females to work the shop. Having, maybe, 1 or 2 store clerks won’t hurt. … (unable to be heard) So there\’s some things they can do more.
QUESTION FOUR: So, the 4 commercial burglaries and 1 robbery that occurred: That’s not any sort of up tick at all, compared to the 2 months prior to that?
ANSWER No. In fact, I would say that things have calmed down. I think we had a little bit of a robbery pattern back in October, September, when we had a few stores that –actually, what happened was there was a shoplifting, basically, where the employee confronted the shoplifter and they might have gotten pushed- that turned it into a robbery. But we’ve had no serious incidents down there for the most part where, you know, it’s just a matter of shoplifting cases gone bad and it turns into a robbery. I would say over the last month or two, our statistics show things have gotten quieter.
QUESTION FIVE: Captain- can you confirm that these new patrols have already started? We were down on Newbury St. for about 3 hours today, saw one officer. Is it more beefed up at nite? Has it already started? Is it being phased in?
ANSWER: We have an officer down there – I don’t want to give the times, but down there full time. They should be down there and we have 2 pretty much covering the length of Newbury St. On days, on 1st halfs, so they should be out there. Newbury St.’s very busy, they’re dealing with a lot of issues down there, they’re taking reports, they’re tagging vehicles, so it\’s understandable that you\’re not going to see them all the time. They’re in and out of the stores, they’re visiting the merchants, so, you know, we try to make them as visible as possible. That being said, you’re not going to see them all the time
QUESTION SIX: Is the night patrol permanent?