Chinatown

A 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 calls 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.

Next: With drugs come crime

Inside this story:

1.With drugs come crime
2.Keeping the neighborhood safe
3.Help from the police

Know more about...

Boston Police Area 1
Chinatown Safety Committee
Chinatown Gangs in the News


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