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DA talks safety strategies with Malden City Council

Posted by Matt Byrne  November 10, 2010 10:04 AM

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leone.jpgMiddlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone (right) urged in a speech to the Malden City Council Tuesday night for local law enforcement to remain vigilant and for the community to get involved, after the spate of gun-related crimes committed in the city since Labor Day.

Leone spoke before the council at the request of Mayor Richard C. Howard, who prefaced Leone's remarks with a brief update about security and law enforcement efforts in Malden.

"Althought there has been some recency of incidences, some relating to drugs and all sharing a form of weaponry," Leone said, he believes they were "unconnected and to a large degree unpredictable," he said. "I think there are a lot of things we can do."

Leone laid before the council a host of law enforcement strategies and tactics. He suggested identifying geographic hot spots in communities, targeting "key players" in the 17 to 23-year-old age range who use weapons to solve conflicts, aggressive but constitutional stop-and-question tactics, and a bolstered neighborhood watch effort.

 Leone credited the Malden Police Department, and said that there was no need for outside groups -- specifically the Guardian Angels -- to come into the city to assist in the catching of criminals or the slowing of crime.

Leone also said he surveyed the District Court, where offenders in Malden first encounter the legal system after an arrest, saying that victim and witness advocates "report favorably" about the chief justice there.

"I wish I could say that about all the 11 district courts I work with, but I can say that about Malden," he said.

Leone took questions from the councilors, who prodded him on police involvement in the schools, for which he is a strong advocate, and issues surrounding the T, about which he had a few tips.

"You need to have a presence, whether its undercover or not, to know who's coming into your city," Leone said.

"It's a compulsion issue. You need to compel the T to get control of an issue that's traveling thorugh your community."

Police Chief James J. Holland said he has been in contact with MBTA Police Chief Paul S. MacMillan, and the two departments are working closely to provide more active coverage of the Malden stops.

"He did throw out a caveat, though," Holland said. "The MBTA is already $7 million in the hole. [MacMillan] will do as much as he can do, as much as the general manager will allow."

Holland suggested the council write a letter to T General Manager Richard Davey, requesting the allotment of more resources.

"You'll see some presence maybe within a week, maybe even this week," Holland said.

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