By Ling-Mei Wong
The Chinatown Safety Committee and the Chinatown Resident Association met on July 2 to discuss new developments and report on June’s crime statistics.
The CSC met at Empire Garden. [title?] Steven Chan reported that a new bakery, Top Bread, will be opening sometime between late August and September at 77 Harrison Avenue, the former location of the Bao Bao Bakery. Bao Bao Bakery will reopen across the street at 84 Harrison Street.
Boston Police Department Capt. Ken Fong for District A-1 reported crime statistics for the Chinatown area. In the last 30 days, the police made 89 arrests, 33 of them drug-related. Most of the activity is concentrated around Washington and Boylston streets, close to homeless service center St. Francis House.
In addition to police arrests, there were seven robberies and two armed assault incidents in the Chinatown neighborhood. District A-1 also reported five car breaks, though most of them occurred in the Leather District rather than in Chinatown.
Fong also reported that marijuana dispensary Good Chemistry’s license application was turned down by the state. It had planned to open at the Amazing Bookstore on Stuart Street.
“We don’t want them down here; they won’t add much to the community,” Fong said.
The CSC will not meet in August, but will host National Night Out on August 5 at Tai Tung Village, an annual event to promote community and police partnerships. Its next meeting will be Sept. 3 at the DoubleTree Hotel.
The Boston Police Department gave a presentation on fraud during the CRA meeting at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School. Detective Cary Chin and Officer Bob Luongo of District A-1 urged Chinatown seniors at the meeting to be careful about suspicious phone calls and “blessing scams.”
Luongo warned the seniors about fake lotteries. In such schemes, victims are told that they have won a lottery and must pay taxes on their winnings. One woman lost more than $50,000 before she called the police.
“The old saying, ‘If it’s too good to be true,’ it probably is,” Luongo said. “Our advice is to hang up or call us.”
Chin told residents to call 911 right away and tell the operator to speak Chinese. The 911 service now gives the location of the caller, so operators can dispatch help even if they don’t speak Chinese as well as locate an interpreter.
“Don’t hang up. Don’t be shy,” Chin said. “As cops, if you don’t report something, we won’t know about it.”
Chin also told the residents to be mindful of strangers. Many “blessing scammers” target Chinese elders by saying that a relative has been cursed and they must follow certain steps to get rid of the curse, which usually requires large sums of money.
“These criminals are flying in from China on 30-day visas, I can’t follow them back,” Chin said. “Trust yourself. Call your son, daughter or spouse if scammers tell you they are in trouble.”
Bob Chin, owner of the 213 Harrison Avenue building, sent a letter to the CRA to add 1.5 stories to his building as well as,install fire-safety sprinklers. The plan has not yet been approved by Boston’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins attended the meeting and plans to speak at the August 6 meeting.
This post is also available in: Chinese