By Mary Pevear
For the Transcript
Crime prevention must become a community effort, Chief of Police Terence Delehanty told residents of Winthrop’s Precinct 5 during a meeting to air community concerns at the Cottage Park Yacht Club on May 19.
“Please watch your property, and your neighbors’ property, and ask your neighbors to do the same for you,” Delehanty said. “It’s a better community when the community is involved,” the chief added. “It’s a safer community when the community is involved.”
Delehanty directed the meeting, which was also attended by Fire Chief Paul Flanagan, Director of the Department of Public Works David Hickey and Precinct 5 Councilor Russell Sanford.
At the meeting, Delehanty discussed crime prevention, and challenges facing the police force. Residents expressed their concerns largely traffic and construction related.
Crimes in Precinct 5 were similar to those reported in the other five precincts. Vandalism, illegal dumping, suspicious subjects, and domestic violence were among the reports.
Crimes must be reported. More complaints lead to more action. “Crime statistics are very important for administrators and supervisors of the police force,” said Delehanty. “Crime stats give us a direction to send the police officers when we need them and where we need them.”
Delehanty noted that a majority of grant money is now data driven. “If we can pinpoint our data through the statistics we can get more money and deploy forces appropriately to solve more problems.”
Delehanty discussed the appropriate uses of E911. The service should only be used in emergencies. When dialed, the line can generate money for the community.
“The 911 grant is based on volume. We encourage its use.” The more volume 911 receives, the more money the town is grated. Last year Winthrop was awarded $32,000 in E911 grants.
Shannon Girard of Winthrop Street urged that Winthrop’s reckless drivers be penalized. With two small children, Girard pleaded for residents to slow down.
Delehanty responded by assuring Girard he would set up a black box in the area. The black box records data that the force uses to pinpoint problem areas.
Similar complaints included motor vehicle violations in crosswalk areas, and the necessity for added stop signs in busy intersections. Parking enforcement was also mentioned. Delehanty took note of the complaints.
David Hickey talked about Winthrop’s ongoing construction projects—particularly the pipe work on Putnam Street, and the development of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s walk in clinic in the building formerly occupied by Family Dollar.
This followed one resident’s complaint that the projects have resulted in increased traffic and have failed to honor their proposed completion dates.
“Its going to be a trade off, there are going to be some busy moments just like there were when CVS opened down the center,” Hickey explained. Like CVS, the clinic will probably boost Winthrop’s economy.
Hickey expects the clinic to be for Winthrop residents only.
Hickey also discussed Winthrop’s upcoming construction projects. Over the next two summers the Revere and East Boston town entrances will undergo “a real face lift,” according to Hickey.
The DCR will develop a park off of Revere Street that will likely include a parking lot, planting beds, a pathway, and a lookout area. A new bridge will be constructed at the East Boston entrance.
Developed by Chief Delehanty precinct meetings have encouraged community involvement. “We started the meetings because we do need help,” Delehanty said, “We don’t have as many officers as we once had.”
Budgetary threats pose the greatest challenge to the police force, explained Sanford.
These changes have had a rippling effect—impacting crime statistics. “An increase in drug use did come at the same time that we were laying off police officers,” said Delehanty.
The Winthrop Police department is devoted despite its smaller budget. “The town managers have been very supportive. The council has been very supportive,” Delehanty said. “ They take public safety very seriously and they are looking at every avenue and every dollar trying to put more people on the streets.”
The partnership formed between department heads has made the community involvement Delehanty discussed possible. “I don’t think we’ve ever enjoyed this much cooperation amongst department heads,” Delehanty commented.
Questions, concerns, or reports can be made on the Winthrop Police Department’s website.