WCVB reported Wednesday that crime in the Occupy Boston encampment is “out of control” according to Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis.
“(There are) drugs, vandalism and assaultive behavior,’’ he said.
According to WCVB:
A review of police reports related to “Occupy Boston” show an uptick in drug arrests – including a couple who volunteered in the tent city’s free clothing tent only to allegedly be caught selling prescription drugs.
Another man was arrested by police at South Station for selling drugs and gave his address as “Dewey Square, Boston,” when he was booked.
A woman wearing a Navy uniform was threatened and called a vile name by protesters, police said, who added that vandalism and theft are rampant.
In addition to the drugs, vandalism and theft, prostitution is on the rise in the camp, according to police reports.
Not only is crime a problem, authorities say the camp is a “fire trap.”
“Protesters are smoking and disposing cigarettes near combustible debris; there is incense burning; dangerous extension cords and other code violations,” Michele McPhee wrote.
“I believe that many of the tents at the encampment are made of highly flammable nylon or similarly flammable synthetic material…which poses an obvious increased risk of fire,’’ Fire Marshal Bart Shea wrote in an affidavit filed in the Suffolk Superior Court.
As in other cities, the Boston camp is filthy, with insufficient toilets and showers. According to court documents, cat food is attracting rodents while food is being stored in filthy conditions.
Even if authorities wanted to evict the protesters, they cannot, due to a restraining order that prevents an eviction.
As a result, local taxpayers have forked out $723,000 to cover police overtime just to patrol the tent city.
“It’s a significant amount of money. It’s clicking every day. It’s a drain on our financial resources. That money would be much better spent in neighborhoods where there is firearm violence,” Davis told WCVB.
The city is asking Suffolk Superior Court Judge France McIntyre to lift the restraining order prohibiting police from evicting the campers.
“Nothing in the First Amendment allows tying the city’s hands from enforcing applicable fire, health, inspection codes, criminal statutes, and guidelines that govern the use of the Greenway,” the city argues in its case.
Protesters, however, say the First Amendment gives them the right to camp out in Dewey Square.
“I want to have the tools to remove them from the Dewey Square area,’’ Mayor Thomas M. Menino told WCVB.
The Boston Globe reports, however, that Mayor Menino has no immediate plans to evict the campers, but does not want to be hampered by a court order if the camp is deemed a health or safety risk.
The two sides face off in court Thursday.
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