After taking over the command of Area A-1 in March, Captain Tom Lee made his first appearance at a quarterly meeting of the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Safety Committee Thursday.
Lee, a 30-year veteran of the Boston Police Department (BPD), joined Sgt. Tom Lema, Safety Committee Chair Paula O’Keeffe and around 25 neighborhood residents at the Firehouse for the informal “meet and greet.”
“Folks here are lucky here in terms of crime,” Lee said, citing an approximately 14-percent decrease in violent and property crimes in the neighborhood from last year. “We’re seeing decrease overall from the previous year, which is also good.”
According to Boston Police, 87 violent and property crimes on Beacon Hill were reported between Jan. 1 and May 17 of this year as opposed to 101 during the same timeframe in 2011, while the number of incidents citywide has climbed to 1,135 from 1,049 last year.
Lee said a noteworthy arrest took place on Mount Vernon Street at around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when Officer Stephen Pasciuto tackled an accused thief on a bicycle after the suspect and two accomplices allegedly stole an iPhone from a 20-year-old man. Pasciuto was reassigned to Charles Street beat officer last month after being transferred from the position last summer.
“I’m a big advocate of keeping the same officer in the same neighborhood,” Lee said.
While the overall crime is low in the neighborhood, Lee said quality-of-life issues remain prevalent, particularly instances involving the estimated 6,200 homeless in Area A-1.
“We are their police, too,” Lee said, adding that the homeless are more often victims than suspects. “It’s not a crime to be homeless. We try to help these people out.”
In response to a question on how to reach Boston Police directly via cell phone, Lee advised residents to call 617-343-4911.
“Trust your instincts,” Lee advised those in attendance. “If something doesn’t look right, call.”