By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Concerned neighbors, police officials and politicians met last Tuesday night at the Neighborhood Developers office on Walden Street to discuss the formation of a neighborhood crime watch group in the Precinct 2 area.
Neighbors’ concerns about crime and other social issues prompted Precinct 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky and police to organize a meeting for a neighborhood watch group.
An incident before Christmas on Campbell Avenue heightened concerns amongst neighbors. According to the victim, someone broke into their two-family house using a crow bar in broad daylight, around noontime on Wednesday. The burglars then went to the home next door.
“I wanted to start something,” the victim said about organizing a watch group.
Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli said when he began his career he worked in the Shirley Avenue police substation.
“Where it started on Shirley Ave. it’s only fitting to bring it back,” Cafarelli said, adding that he has been in a dialogue to get office space on Shirley Avenue for community policing.
Gerard Salvati, a Revere Community Policing Officer, and Lt. Amy O’Hara run the Citizens Police Academy, promote community policing, and run the Coffee with a Cop program.
“This helps both sides to get to know each other and the community before something happens,” O’Hara said.
Also helping with development of neighborhood crime watches are retired officers Carl Borgioli and Dennis Moschella. Also attending the meeting were members of the mayor’s office; Revere Police Det. John Goodwin; Vanny Hout, of the Neighborhood Developers; Joe Boncore, of Winthrop and a state senate candidate; Joan Mazzola, of Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo’s office.
To combat break-ins police advise residents to lock their doors and their bulkheads. Bushes around the house, especially ones hiding doors or windows should be trimmed. It is also advised to put a house number on the front of your home and on the back where neighbors can see it. Chief Cafarelli said it is common for a neighbor to call for an incident about a house behind them, but not knowing the house number.
“Harden your house,” said Chief Cafarelli, who heads up a department of 100 police officers. “Take back your street.”
Another crime victim shared how a year ago someone in his neighborhood was looking through mailboxes. He also shared how he has an alarm, but someone broke in through a plywood vent covering.
“Once they’re inside they’re out of site,” said Det. Goodwin, adding that gang activity in the Shirley Avenue area is down. He noted that there are 15-16 “kids” in federal prison because of the gang arrests made. “It’s been extremely quiet since.”
Rattling off statistics, Goodwin said from 2012 to now there have been a 40 percent decrease in house breaks. Major crime arrests are up 46 percent and drug arrests are up 10 percent.
“We have been asked to do more with less for the last 40 years and we deliver,” Goodwin said.
Another resident shared how some of her Hispanic neighbors are victims of domestic violence, yet they are afraid to come to the police for help. The victims may be illegal immigrants, have a language barrier or they have a stigma about police officers. Officers at the meeting immediately reached out and reminded the public that they can help if people come forward.
It was also advised that if people use their cell phone (instead of a land line) to call for help there will be a delay. Cell phone calls to 911 are directed to the state police dispatch in Framingham. The call is then transferred to Revere officials who dispatch help. Cafarelli advised people to program in the direct Revere police number into their cell phones, the number is 781-284-1212.