City Dealers Turn Away From Square, Pit

Despite increasing efforts by Cambridge police, drug activity remains a problem in city housing projects, according to police officers and community leaders.

Public housing is still a center of drug use, says Detective Stephen Edwards of the Vice and Narcotics Division.

"Most of the drugs in Cambridge are concentrated in the projects," he says.

Anderson says current law enforcement tactics cause drug dealers to move around from project to project.

"When we put pressure on a particular area, [drug dealers] relocate," he said. "We keep them running.


Drug dealers are drawn to housing developments because it is easier for them to blend in with other residents, says William B. Cunningham, president of the Putnam Gardens' Tenant Council, a public housing development.

"Drug dealers can melt into the crowd near developments," he says. "This is still a place with a lots of working class and poor people."

The methods of the Cambridge police have caused some tension between law enforcement and the community, Cunningham says.

"The theory of the police was "We have to watch and see where the drugs are coming from,' "he says. "But from the point of view of the neighborhood, a million of hits have already been done."

But Fred C. Reece, president of the Woodrow Wilson Court Tenants' Council, says he appreciates the police's recent efforts to reach out the community and to inform people of their efforts.

Anderson says that his department is making an effort to emphasize community-oriented policing such as the neighborhood Crime Watch groups and increased patrolling of wards in order to control drug activity in Cambridge.

"I think the community people in pubic housing have taken charge," he says. "They're totally involved in trying to eradicate the problem of drugs."