A community struggles as more drug-dealers move into Chinatown
By Tingting Zhao

Keeping the neighborhood safe

Like Wong, others in the community are working on their own or with police in an effort to combat the increasing drug problems.

The McDonald’s at Washington and Kneeland streets, an active area for drug activities, locks its bathroom doors to keep drug users out of the restaurant.

The Chinese Economic Development building at 65 Harrison Ave. uses an alarm system to block people from using their stairway to do drugs.

Moy, unlike Wong, does not believe gangs helped keep the neighborhood safe. He said they brought their own forms of violence and trouble. But he shares Wong’s commitment to stopping the growth of drug and related crimes.

“Not any individual can do it,” Moy said. “In a group, we can do something.”

The Chinatown Safety Committee, an organization including businesses, residents, police, and officials from Tufts University and Emerson College, meets once a month to discuss safety problems and ways of combating them.

Ideas that have emerged from the meetings include asking for more on-site police, educating the residents to call 911 and removing homeless people.

Moy believes that the rising drug activities, to a large degree, are a result of the rising loitering homeless population in Chinatown. He is working to ask for more police resources and to move the homeless out.

“(The homeless are) not good for safety. It’s not good for the quality life of Chinatown. It gives Chinatown a poor image,” said Moy. “(The homeless) are responsible for a lot of problems.”

People stand in front of the Saint Francis House at lunchtime.

Chinatown has three homeless shelters. The Saint Francis House, a day shelter on Boylston Street, attracts 400 to 600 people for lunch every day. The area surrounding the building serves as a hub for drug transactions, according to the police.

According to a survey by the Saint Francis House, 32 percent of its guests admit to problems with substance abuse and 12 percent are ex-offenders.

Although the shelter has programs and activities to keep the homeless inside its building, according to Laura E. Miller, the development associate of the house, it can do little to prevent them from loitering on the streets of Chinatown. Not to mention trafficking drugs on their front steps.

Miller said the guests of the house increased 11 percent this year after growth hovered at 8 percent for several years. “It may be the economy,” she said.

On the other hand, Moy said the police should put more resources into Chinatown.

“If they put enough resources, we can bring it under control,” he said.

Next: Help from the police

Inside this story:

Chinatown Home
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


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