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Boston Police Say Crime Has Fallen, Pledge Transparency at Allston-Brighton Meeting

Boston Police Department Commissioner Michael A. Cox spoke with Allston-Brighton residents about an uptick in mental health-related emergency calls and longstanding burglary issues issues in the neighborhood.
Boston Police Department Commissioner Michael A. Cox spoke with Allston-Brighton residents about an uptick in mental health-related emergency calls and longstanding burglary issues issues in the neighborhood. By Joey Huang
By Jack R. Trapanick, Crimson Staff Writer

BOSTON — The Boston Police Department told Allston-Brighton residents that crime across the neighborhood fell significantly this year at a Tuesday meeting, despite upticks in mental health-related 911 calls and longstanding burglary issues in the area.

The trend is in keeping with that of Boston overall, which has seen decreases in every category of violent crime this year.

The meeting — the first of its kind in Allston-Brighton — was a public version of Compstat, a yearly internal meeting during which department officials compare crime trends and statistics in neighborhoods across the city.

The meeting series is part of an effort by BPD Commissioner Michael A. Cox, who was appointed in 2022 by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu ’07, to boost relations between residents and the police department.

Cox said in an interview after the meeting that his main goals with the Compstat meeting series, launched a year ago, were to “increase transparency” while getting local feedback at the same time.

“We never spend a lot of time getting input or feedback from the public themselves,” he said.

“Making sure that we all share the same information, making sure that we understand what's going on in our community,” Cox added, “talking to one another about how we can all stay safe — that’s the goal.”

During the meeting, Cox also apologized for failing to appear on behalf of the department at a contentious Boston City Council hearing over funding for the Boston Regional Intelligence Center last fall during a Tuesday meeting with Allston-Brighton residents.

BRIC maintains a controversial gang database and has been accused of relying on racial profiling and violating residents’ civil liberties. The council eventually passed funding for the center over the objection of every councilor of color voting against it.

“Half of my job is trying to demystify what we do and how we do it,” Cox said. “I apologize.”

Within Allston-Brighton, officers identified the greatest concerns as residential burglaries, noise complaints — largely from parties by the area’s large student population — and crashes and traffic violations, described as a “constant battle.”

In questions during the meeting, many of the roughly 50 residents in the audience repeatedly raised concerns about burglary threats. Officers responded by advising residents to take the usual precautions like locking doors and windows, noting most incidents involved unlocked windows and doors or unattended cars.

Lyan Albino, a clinician from the Boston Medical Center who works with police, said in an interview after the meeting that the increased mental health-related calls was largely due to the area’s college student population.

Students were both hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic as high schoolers and are more comfortable seeking help for mental health concerns, according to Albino.

“It’s not necessarily a negative thing,” she said. “You’re seeing 911 calls for people who want the assistance.”

“They want to get connected to the variety of services that Boston has,” she said.

—Staff writer Jack R. Trapanick can be reached at jack.trapanick@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @jackrtrapanick.

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