(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)
A recent police operation led to a number of arrests in South Boston, as the Boston Police Department continues its response to drugs and violence in the neighborhood.
Operation Halloween, which was conducted by BPD’s Drug Control Unit last week, led to the arrest of 14 individuals in the D Street Housing Development for possession of drugs and outstanding warrants, said BPD.
“Part of the arrests is to change the mindset,” said Lieutenant Detective Robert Merner, who is in charge of BPD’s Drug Control Unit. “We know we can’t arrest our way out of this problem, but what we’ve heard is that it’s not OK to sell drugs in South Boston anymore.”
Merner said the unit has been targeting people selling prescriptions drugs, such as Oxycontin, in addition to heroin and other substances. While clearing out the dealers is an important aspect of the work, Merner added that it’s also about quality of life for residents.
“They [drug dealers/addicts] bring an element into these neighborhoods,” Merner said. “We use the unit to not only combat the drug crisis in the city but all the activity that goes along with drug use.”
Since April, when BPD stepped up efforts in the neighborhood after a string of drug related murders, close to 85 individuals have been arrested on drug related charges, according to BPD.
From car break-ins to muggings, Merner said drugs affect a number of aspects of life in the neighborhood.
Vehicle theft and larceny have dropped in the neighborhood since 2011, but burglary, aggravated assault, and robbery are slightly higher than last year, according to data released by BPD.
Of the 14 arrested last week during the operation, 12 hailed from South Boston. The majority of people arrested during the operation were arrested for possession with intent to distribute. The youngest arrested was 18 and the oldest was 39, the majority were under the age of 25.
“I think we’ve had a pretty good effect, but it takes constant maintenance,” said Merner.
The community will have its chance next week to let BPD know if the problem is in fact getting better.
A meeting, similar to one held in June, has been scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Condon Community Center on D Street. Merner will be in attendance along with representatives from BPD. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.