community struggles as more drug dealers move into Chinatown
By Tingting Zhao
Bar owner Reggie
Wong says he combats crime on his own by doing what he
a “drug watch.”
On the afternoon of April 7, Reggie Wong, 62, stood intently at
the corner of Tyler and Beach streets in Chinatown, watching.
He greeted people he knew, but he was not in the mood for chatting.
He kept looking around attentively, staring in particular at a
building across Tyler Street.
“I’m watching the drug dealers,” Wong said. “They
often do deals
in that building.”
In Chinatown, residents and businesses complain of an increase
in drug activities this year. According to Bill Moy, a leading
member of the Chinatown Safety Committee and a business owner,
drug dealing is among the biggest safety challenges facing Chinatown
and its residents today.
It’s a situation particularly troubling the neighborhood.
On one hand, the community is fighting high-end housing developments
that are pushing out Chinatown’s less affluent residents.
And on the other hand, there appears to be erosion of safety gains
that resulted from the crackdown on Chinese gangs and the closing
of many sex shops associated with the old Combat Zone.
The Combat Zone, Boston’s former Red Light
District, was concentrated between Downtown Crossing and Chinatown
in the 1970s.
Chinatown residents fought for years to rid the neighborhood of
the porn business. The sex clubs are now almost entirely gone.
In addition to the police crackdown a decade ago on the Chinese
gangs, which were notorious for violence and running underground
gambling, Chinatown has been proud of a safe resident and business
community during the past years.
After noticing the rising drug activities, in collaboration
with police, the neighborhood is increasingly trying to do something
about it – everything from pushing for more patrols and greater
public cooperation in calling 911, to aggressively keeping drug
dealers out of stairwells and public bathrooms.
drugs come crime