Armed with webcams, cell phones, and a renewed neighborhood spirit, Boston residents fed up with crime are starting neighborhood watches at a surging rate, says the Boston Herald. City residents started 56 crime watches last year , a nearly 25 percent increase over 2009, say police. “We basically took back the street,” Wes Williams said of Wilmore Street in Mattapan, where six neighbors used their own money to buy wireless, mobile cameras to catch wrongdoing.
Wilmore Street was once a cut-through for warring gangs — but not anymore, said Williams, a teacher and father of nine. The street is also better lit, and neighbors are coming out of their houses more often.
“The crime went away,” said Sgt. Tim Torigian, the community service officer at the B-3 police station who works closely with Williams and other crime watches. “I'd like to have one on every street if I could.”
The increase in crime watches has come as major crimes in Boston — with the exception of homicides — have dropped. Homicides increased from 49 in 2009 to 74 last year, but robberies, rapes, larcenies, and car thefts are down. Police Commissioner Edward Davis said increasing the number of crime watches is part of a strategy to open the doors of the department and engage residents.