A community struggles as more drug-dealers move into Chinatown
By Tingting Zhao
drugs come crime
Smith, 36, an officer of the Boston Police Department, said on
average, he might see about 20 drug users in a typical patrol
from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Chinatown area, boarded by Essex
Street, Tremont Street, Marginal Street and South Station.
more, he said, drug use and crimes, like theft and violence,
usually go hand in hand.
reported 14 violence-related crimes in Chinatown in February
2004. That’s twice the number during the same period last
year. Property-related crimes in February increased to 23 from
9 of last February.
Violent and property crimes, depicted here, increased
between February 2003 and February 2004.
complaints, otherwise known as “quality
of life issues,”
that were reported to the police in
a Chinatown native and the president of the Chinatown Business
Association, owns Reggie’s Bar on Beach Street. He believes
that the best way to fight against the drug dealers is to do
it himself. So he began to openly watch the drug dealers after
noticing more of them on the street.
I stand here all day,” he said. When he sees suspicious
people hang out in the street, he asks or warns them to leave.
asked them, ‘What are you doing here?’” Wong
said. “They said, ‘nothing,’ then left.” Sometimes
drunken loiterers challenge him by talking back. But Wong said
he has no fear of standing watch.
Wong explains, things seemed easier two decades ago, when Chinese
gangs operated gambling parlors in the neighborhood. They ran
their own money-making scams but generally kept the drug dealers
(liked) the gangs,” Wong said. “They don’t
bother the businesses.”
a police crackdown on the gangs and the decline of underground
gambling, the gangs disappeared from Chinatown a decade ago.
gangs kept drug dealers out,” Wong said. “When we
had no gangs, drug dealers moved in.” The problem, Wong
said, has worsened this year.
the neighborhood safe