Homelessness and crime in Boston

Someone asked the mayor this question:

www.metrobostonnews.com/us/article/2007/09/25/19/3...

Have other people had such experiences in central Boston? Never happened to me, and I've always been under the impression that Boston is a relatively safe city. Maybe I should worry a little more.

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    Trinity Church

    I don't know anything about drug-using, but the back of the Trinity Church is filled with "people who appear to be without homes" any night of the week; usually 20-30 of them.

    The church, I assume, is by no means going to ask these people to move as it is, presumably, their last and best hope for a night of rest.

    If anyone else has first-hand experience, perhaps you can offer up some information.

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    Boston is a city and there

    By on

    Boston is a city and there is crime and the crime does not occur solely in the "bad" neighborhoods, or for that matter, solely in cities. I lived on Clarendon years ago when I first moved to Boston. Someone was mugged in Copley Square. I was shocked and felt unsafe. I thought crime occurred across the pike in the South End and Roxbury. No, it occurs wherever there is opportunity.

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    Feeling Safe

    By on

    IMO, feeling safe is a false illusion, better that you learned without it happening to you. All of my good friends in undergrad (Northeastern) were mugged. The short skinny guys, that is.

    Unless you are with a police officer, there is always a chance that you could be mugged when you are out in public. Statistics show it happens at night more often. Because during the day, they're breaking into your apartment! ;)

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    Not in Copley

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    Boston does change a bit when the sun goes down and all the suits go home to the burbs. But I have never been harassed* by any homeless folks, let alone seen someone smoking mr brownstone in Copley. It sounds hyperbolic to me. I am not a huge fan of Mumbles, but I think he handled the question well, and even mentioned the winter homeless assistance rather than just tow the line and talk smack about those less fortunate.

    The homeless guys around Inman Square are the worst I've seen. Big, overly drunk old scruffy dudes that just YELL at people and stand in the way, then rant about how they know the Mayor (Curtatone)... it was rather unnerving.

    But Copley, Park St, .. No problems. If anything, I try to make sure the cops aren't harassing them too much!

    *Disclosure: I am male, not small, and don't look like prey.

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    Inman

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    hehe... I know what you mean. But Inman is a border square, and since I lived around the corner in Somerville, I always considered it part of Somerville myself ;)

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    Inman Square

    The Abbey Lounge is in Somerville, but every other Inman Square business is in Cambridge. If you're curious about the city borders, you should join my bike ride on October 18. We may well be going right by where you live.

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    Thanks Ron

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    I'm an unsatisfied Brookline resident these days, but my lady and I may just join your ride on the 18th. Looks like fun.

    Even more, I love bikely.com! :)

    Going to the UPS warehouse by New Wash in East Somer? Is there something worthwhile down those parts? I've picked up a few packages via bike, but didn't particularly enjoy it... although there's less traffic

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    Depends if you like industrial landscape

    Inner Belt should be pretty deserted on a Saturday morning. It's a side of the city most people aren't familiar with. There's a persistent rumor that Bob Kraft wants to build a Revolution soccer stadium down there.

    My apologies to everyone for thoroughly hijacking this discussion.

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    Sounds great

    Too bad I no longer have a bike (and probably don't even really remember how to ride one).

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    Buying a Bike

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    I bought mine on Craigslist for $300 from some dude who fixes up bikes. It's a great place to start, and you could probably get a 10-speed road bike for $100-$300 that would treat you kindly.

    PS. want to see a hijacked thread check out the chuck turner post ;) I guess it's still on topic but malarkey ensued..

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    I bought mine on Craigslist

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    I bought mine on Craigslist for $300 from some dude who fixes up bikes

    AKA, some dude who steals bikes and then "fixes them up"?

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    Craigslist

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    Yep, it was on craigslist, so it must've been a thief. Let's go file a report. Bring your video camera...

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    Not Always

    There are a fair number of Yankee Recyclers out there - people who trash pick stuff, fix it, and sell it.

    We had a neighbor who was making his truck payments from the cash he got from rescuing appliances, fixing them, and selling them. He'd haul home a washing machine or a dryer and replace the belt. I know there are people who do the same for bikes - I've seen them in the early mornings on trash days.

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    Vulnerability

    While there are homeless people who do drugs and mug people and such, the homeless are much more likely to be victims of violent crime than to be perpetrators.

    Sleeping on the street with your posessions makes you vulnerable, regardless of your mental state.

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    Most heartbreaking is seeing

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    Most heartbreaking is seeing elderly women homeless and sleeping on the street. I've offered to give them a few dollars in the past, but they always refuse.

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    Homeless I've Met

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    I've met some of the best homeless folks on the streets of Copley Square. One time I tried buying a bagel for this guy, but he was offended because "how do you know I want a bagel?"

    Turns out he was from England, and couldn't eat bagels because of a complex dental grill, and he said I should ask what he wanted instead. I just gave him $5.

    And actually he needed a good hat, so I gave him the snappy blue North Face winter hat I was wearing. I told him I could always go get another and that it was no big deal. He really appreciated the hat. I think these types of tools and goods are more valuable to the homeless than food or cash. This might be because how often are you in a department store and you see a homeless person shopping? They would probably be kicked out by overzealous bored security guards.

    And there's an older guy in Central Square with a cane that plays harmonica. Him and his brother are nice. But they drink like fishes. I always say to myself, if I was homeless, I'd be a smoking drunk too, because fuck it... so I try not to let that stop me from giving.

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    We All Have Different Buttons

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    It may not be knee-jerk sexism. Perhaps the women just push a different button for that person. For instance, you might feel sadder when you see homeless children. I might feel sadder if I see a homeless WWII vet. If so, it doesn't necessarily follow that we respectively subscribe to ageism and sexism. We all have our backlog of experiences that we draw upon, and what is sad to me may not be sad to you.

    Just trying to keep the peace :-)

    Suldog
    http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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    I'm no scholar on the matter

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    But I'm pretty sure homeless women suffer more than homeless men, stereotypically speaking. Consider the environment of a shelter. It doesn't take much imagination to obtain this "sexist" viewpoint.

    Some sexism is based on reality. The Supreme Court calls this "biological differences". They do exist :)

    (I usually don't touch the topic, but oh well)

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    Actually, I can't recall

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    Actually, I can't recall seeing homeless elderly men in Boston recently. The two women that I have seen within the past year looked frail and in their seventies.

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    Normally we dont

    Normally we dont agree...

    but its true, homeless people are generally not the ones mugging you. Maybe its just false bravado on my part since I, apparently like livevt, am male and not small, but Ive never felt threatened by a homeless person. Even the crazy ones have this sense of harmlessness about them.

    I would ask people who have had friends who were mugged what the mugger looked like. I would venture to say that chances are they didnt have scraggily beards and old coats. Pick pocketing on the other hand, I can see a homeless person stealing from a purse or picking your pocket, but not mugging you for it. Thats a different set of hooligans.

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    Not in Boston....

    ...but back in Downtown Atlanta (such as it is), there was one homeless guy who would actually attack anyone who he thought was "staring" at him.

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    Maybe its the weather? I

    Maybe its the weather? I imagine it must be tougher being homeless in the northern states with the cold winters, snow ice, and wind for four months out of the year. I know every so often Im outside for 12 hours at a time in the middle of a cold snowy snap and cant feel my toes after 12 hours, cant imagine what a few days of that must do to you.

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    Homeless Southerners

    I can tell you first hand that panhandlers in the south are MUCH more aggressive. I am a southerner who has lived up here for a decade, first in the city, now in the burbs. In fact, my husband and I were amazed at how polite the homeless were when we first moved here. Even if we didn't help, they still said "God bless." I've never had a Boston homeless person follow and loudly harass me, and not in a crazy-guy way, but in a you-didn't-give-me-money-and-you're-a-bitch way, as happened frequently in Jacksonville, FL and Atlanta, GA. Those were some mean, angry, aggressive homeless guys.

    There was a guy at the Hynes T stop I developed somewhat of a relationship with a few years ago. I'd give him T tokens and food and he didn't harrass me. Then he just wasn't there any more. I still think about him when I walk over the Pike on Mass Ave.

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    Just Begging for Money

    I've been hassled by people asking for money, sometimes a bit aggressively in Copley Square and on Newbury Street even in broad daylight. Nothing that made me fear for my safety though.

    I've seen homeless-looking people getting into fights and arguements in Copley Square, but amongst themselves, not randomly accosting the passers-by. I guess it's possible though.

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