Seventeen police officers patrol Boston’s Orchard Gardens public housing complex nightly on bicycles, reports the Boston Herald. The Safe Street Team is credited with a nearly 40 percent drop in crime since they were deployed in August 2007. Car robberies are down from 41 to 13. Housebreaks are down by half to 8. It was just over a year ago that a woman, 68, was grazed in the thigh by an indiscriminate hail of bullets – a mindless display of gang violence that typified the need for drastic action.
The bike cops, with their ability to ride up on kids doing drugs, get places that cruisers cannot and make constant contact with residents. They had partners in the local crime watch, which began its own campaign. “Even on my nights off, they call me,” said Sgt. Joseph Horton, supervisor of the team. “I don't mind it at all. This is not an eight-hour job.” As Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick eyes $9 million in law enforcement cuts – including $870,000 in community policing funds – the progress in Orchard Gardens is gravely threatened.