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  Sunday, March 1, 2015
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xtra xtra!
SRO Crowd at Second Crime Watch Meeting
By Rick Winterson

     The second Crime Watch meeting featured a panel of experts.  The theme was “Drug and Alcohol Awareness”.  The auditorium in the Boys & Girls Club was filled to the doors with an attentive crowd.


     The auditorium at the Boys & Girls Club was filled to capacity with an estimated 250 attendees at the second Crime Watch meeting of 2006.  It was standing room only, but they listened attentively for a full two hours.  The theme: “Drug and Alcohol Awareness”.  A powerful and well-informed panel had been assembled by the Chairperson, state Rep. Brian Wallace.

     That drugs and alcohol are serious problems in South Boston can no longer be denied.  It is especially serious among young people in our neighborhood.  Citywide, most emergency medical calls for overdoses are for addicts aged 40 to 50 years old.  Here in South Boston, emergency medical calls are most frequent among 15- to 25-year-olds.

     Brian Wallace first introduced state Sen. Steve Tolman.  Tolman reiterated the problems we face by mentioning that New England leads the nation in heroin abuse, and that Massachusetts is the “hot spot” in the six New England states.  He stated, “We have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) on our streets”.  He then pointed to many state measures in process, such as sober high schools and an increase in beds in treatment centers, and promised his and Rep. Wallace’s efforts would continue undiminished.

     Tony Pettigrew from the DEA spoke of the coming of methamphetamine (“meth”, “speed”, “ice”, “crystal”, “crank”, whatever) into this area.  It can be made from locally obtainable ingredients, but he warned that most of it is produced cheaply in bulk in Mexico and simply mailed here.  He brought with him a booklet entitled “Ecstasy and Predatory Drugs”, which is available through the DEA.

     Judge Ziemian described his Drug Court that deals with high-risk offenders.  It is becoming a model throughout the nation.  Newly-elected City Councilor Sam Yoon spoke from the floor.  He assured the crowd that Crime Watches work, referring to his own experience with the successful Crime Watch in Chinatown.

     Capt. Paul Russell listed the three steps he sees in combating the local drug problem: prevention, intervention, and enforcement, which is the job of the police.  He urged parents not to let their kids drink and not to leave harmful medicines in the medicine cabinet.  This leads to peer pressures to make even worse choices in their young lives.  He also mentioned that youngsters are coming here from the suburbs.  They aren’t up to any good.  The Captain asked for tips regarding any unusual situations via an anonymous line – (617)343-3736.

     Jack Leary from the Courthouse complimented South Boston.  His hometown of West Roxbury isn’t putting in nearly the effort we are here.  While we have lost perhaps 100 people to drugs, we have saved a far greater number.  South Boston has the largest 12-step program in the country.  He assured everyone that help can be obtained, although tax-supported programs are in many ways a rip-off.  He concluded by stating, “No one should be allowed to profit from killing our children.”

     John McGahan of the Cushing House talked of sub-teenagers becoming involved in the drug scene.  We have to get to children early, even in grade school.  He also made the point that many who use also sell, which makes them criminals at a very young age.  Andy Ward from the South Boston Collaborative thanked elected officials for their support so far.  He emphasized that treatment begins with prevention, and “Prevention is dialogue.”  Shannon Seaver-Rojas concluded the panel presentations by describing the services of the Job Corps Services at the Laboure Center.  

     After several questions and answers, the Crime Watch meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.  Everyone commented on what a productive meeting it had been.  Despite the many warnings, there was a feeling of optimism that, given time and constant effort, the problem can be solved.

Top Of Page

Rep. Brian Wallace opens the second Crime Watch meeting:

To r.: Collaborative Director

Andy Ward, Cushing House Director John McGahan, Probation Officer Jack Leary, Sen. Steve Tolman, BPD capt. Paul Russell, Career Specialist Shannon Seaver-Rojas