After an increasing toll of drug arrests and a shooting that lodged a bullet in the Massachusetts State House, police have begun enforcing a nighttime curfew on Boston Common to rid the area of drug dealers and force out the homeless who have long spent their nights on its benches and manicured lawns, reports the Boston Globe. The curfew, from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., will bar people from the Common unless they are passing through. Advocates for the homeless support the new effort to reduce crime in the historic park but fear the consequences for those who find refuge there.
Melissa Quirk of the Emergency Shelter Commission of Boston said “the increase in drug-related activity is really distinct from people sleeping on the Common.” She and others worry that homeless people, many of whom refuse to go to shelters, will scatter to other parts of the city, where it may be more difficult for outreach workers to help them. This year, police have made 319 drug arrests on and around the Common and received reports of 45 robberies, 45 aggravated assaults, and one sexual assault.