Thursday, 4:30 PM
Deputy to investigate criminals using the shelters for cover
By Maria Cramer, GLOBE STAFF
Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis is assigning a deputy superintendent to investigate the problem of criminals and ex-offenders who are blending in with the homeless population in shelters and then committing crimes on city streets.
"The shelters might need our help in dealing with people who are violent," Davis said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "Itís out of concern for people who work in the shelters and live in the shelters to make sure that those individuals who are committing violent acts are dealt with."
Shelter employees have said some homeless people, after cashing Social Security or unemployment checks, were robbed by others staying in the shelter, Davis said. Reported drug deals on Tremont and Stuart streets in the Back Bay and recent break-ins along Newbury Street, including at posh stores Valentino and Louis Boston, were connected to people who listed shelters as their main addresses, Davis said.
The deputy superintendent, who has not been assigned yet, is expected to communicate weekly with shelter directors and several community police officers who already work with the homeless. Davis said he hopes that by working more closely with advocates for the homeless, police will be able to drive down the crime rate in some neighborhoods, safeguard shelters, and distinguish between those people who may pose a threat and homeless people who are simply looking for a place to stay.