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Jan 4, 2018

Fighting Gangs in Boston-Area City

In part two of our series on community policing in U.S. Cities, we take you to Boston, Massachusetts where News Five joined a team of journalists from Central America on the U.S. State Department sponsored reporting tour. The journalists went into communities of Latin American and Caribbean nationals to find out how crime and other social ills are affecting them and how they are working with the law enforcement bodies to address the problem. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.


Scott Conley

Detective Scott Conley, Criminal Investigation Division, Chelsea PD

“We’ve done so many aggressive cases against MS and Barrio 18 in Chelsea that over the last year, some have started to move into Revere. And now they are just starting to see the graffiti and stuff which as we all know is a first sign that the gang has started to get a foothold into that area.   When it comes to MS and 18th Street in Boston, they use mostly machetes when they attack; very few- we have guns but with other street gangs; with the MS and 18th Street, they use mostly guns and knives.”


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

This is Detective Scott Conley. He works with the Chelsea Police Department. Chelsea is a small City of about one point eight square miles just outside of Boston. A recent population survey shows that Latinos and minority groups make up more than seventy percent of the City. Over the years, the influx of undocumented immigrants Latin America and the Caribbean has seen a surge in gangs in this Latino community. To tackle this growing problem from the root, the Chelsea PD does a number of community based activities through its community policing unit. It works closely with children and youth.


Detective Scott Conley

“I think it is important not just to look at law enforcement as one tool to arrest individuals when they commit a crime, but also as a proactive tool and a proactive approach to help individuals before a crime happens; before they choose a life that a criminal would. So it is important that we look at many parts, not just the arrest part.”


And to help them ensure that the number of arrests decline and crime goes down in Chelsea, the Police do a number of activities to build the relationship with the community; they participate in festivals and even church service in the community. The Chelsea PD also partner with non-profits and other organizations, like Chelsea Collaborative.


Yessenia Alfaro

Yessenia Alfaro, Deputy Director, Chelsea Collaborative

“Chelsea Collaborative, the goal and the target is the incorporation of youth from the age of eleven to fourteen through to twenty-one and instead of them hanging around in a corner or doing nothing, that we include them in this summer employment program that runs through a lottery. It runs through funds through the city that we do advocacy to get those funds so we hire many youths. So, that has been very effective in the community to hire a lot of youths than to be in gangs. But, also, something new that we have seen is that the youths are looking for these jobs.”


And Detective Scott Conley says that the work of community organizations is critical to the work that any law enforcement body does – and should be embraced as partner in the fight against crime.


Detective Scott Conley

“We have to realize that law enforcement can’t be on the frontlines of addressing every social issues in the communities. Law enforcement officers play one role. The community provides all of the other roles. So, we have to work with our schools.  Roca, they do so much work, with individuals after they have been released from jail to integrated back into the community. All of these groups; all of these community groups, when they are successful they make all of our jobs easier. It lowers the recidivism rate. It lessens the number of times the Police deals with a problem over and over and over again.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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