Crime / After Dark, Boston
So, after adding tips about pickpockets to my Paris and Madrid pages, I'm now adding one about my home city!
While browsing the racks at Marshalls in the Downtown Crossing area recently, I felt a hand along my hip. I turned to find a hand right inside my bag! I yelled "HEY!" really loudly and the thief sauntered away.
In hindsight I suppose it was stupid of me to go to that part of town with my hobo bag. I would never do that while overseas. And, afterall, isn't our economy just as crappy - if not worse - than ones in other countries?
Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan are crawling with gangs. I lived In the 1 mile district of b-1 which is considered by many top officals as the roughest, gang infested and crime prone area in New England. So If you are white, rich and think your all that i would not walk into that place.
The crime rate in Boston is not as high as it was ten years ago. There are, of course, still people out there with the intent to rob people of their belongings. It can be obvious, such as they will come up to you and demand your money, or suitable, where you don't realize your bag or wallet was missing until later because someone took it when you were not aware. While it has been said many times to be aware of your surroundings especially in large crowds or on a packed subway, there is a more sneaky way where someone can try to steal your stuff. Most people picture a pickpocket trying to grab someone's wallet or purse on the subway, but you can also be robbed while waiting for public transportation.
If you are sitting down on a long empty bench, with other vacant seats around, and someone wants to sit right next to you, I mean so close that it would look like you are friends with the person, be aware. Especially if you have a shopping bag beside you or a purse or backpack. They could be after your stuff, and think if you are unaware, reading a map, newspaper, or texting, you won't notice your bag gone if they get up off the bench, taking your bag, and walk away. You won't realize it until the subway or bus comes and that person is gone. By the time you put two and two together, the individual has gotten away.
This almost happened to me. I had a shopping bag and was waiting for the bus at Haymarket Station while sitting on the bench, and these two older females suddenly wanted to sit right beside me. There was plenty of room on the bench (like 7 feet to sit) and one of them shoved my bag over so they could sit that close to me and was almost sitting on the bag. There were even other benches to sit at, all empty. She than put her hand on my bag. That was when I realized they could be sitting extremely close to me on purpose on the empty bench to try to grab my shopping bag. I looped my arm through one of the handles of the bag, and they decided to get up and walk away.
If you are alone, occupied with listening to music, texting, or reading, loop your arm through the handles and always be physically touching the bag. Be aware of anyone who tries to sit deliberately too close to you.
I like Boston, it's given me some of my most pleasurable moments, BUT it also gave me my least pleasurable moment as a tourist.
I was dropped off at Logan Airport in June, 1997 at the end of a coach tour to catch a flight. I was queuing at check-in with my suitcase beside me. When I reached down to pick up my case to move up the line MY SUITCASE HAD GONE. A frantic search & looking at cases which other people had (hoping to spot the thief) proved fruitless.
I reported the theft to the airport police & asked if my case had been handed in: it hadn't & the police failed to detect or catch the thief. I have no idea if the part of Logan where my suitcase was stolen was covered by recording CCTV, but the police made no offer to review CCTV tapes.
Perhaps if there were more police in Logan Airports passenger buildings, instead of loitering around the police station this awful experience would not have happened.
Logan Airport is close to inner-city areas, unlike most international airports, so I suppose it's more convenient for criminals to hang around Boston Logan Airport than it is at most airports.
I've not flown from Logan since, so I don't know if crime has been reduced, or police patrols of passenger buildings has increased, or if there's a good CCTV system.
Do be careful of the area surrounding Fenway park after dark. Often known as The Fens there are many wonderful parks that are great to visit during the day, however I would warn against traveling alone there at night.
Crime in Boston is pretty low, but always keep your guard up. Boston has much to offer.. great food, history, shopping, and atmosphere! Very beautiful city. But don't venture out of the well-lit, main streets of the city.
The Southwest Corridor is a park running parallel to Huntington Avenue in the Back Bay. The area that runs between Newton Street and the train station is very dangerous after dark. We've lived in the area for 5 years now, and there is a mugging or a beating in this park every week. There have been disputes as to the jurisdiction because it's located in the city but is a state park, so no one seems to patrol there. Also, recent cuts have hurt the already tight security budget.
Do not enter the Southwest Corridor at night.
Be carefeul when you are in Boston, my wife was mugged at the Starbucks Coffee at Boylston Street when she was about to deliver our baby.
Above is a picture with her friend before the incident has happened.
Her credit cards were stolen and charged around USD 2,500, luckily The Boston Police did work very well on the issue and arrested the guy who has illegally used and charge the card, at Cohen's Fashion Optical in Natick Mall.
We would like to express our appreciation to Boston Police Department becouse of their hard work.
Central Boston is generally well lit, but pedestrians should probably avoid Boston Common, the Public Gardens and the walkways along the Charles River after dark. It's also useful to know that the couple of blocks along Washington Street, between Avery and Stuart Streets, are known as the Combat Zone
Nothing really different from typical warnings concerning big cities. Just be carful if you plan to take the 'T' at night (starting at 8-9pm). The East part of town is quite fine but there are some areas west and south of the city that you don't want to hang out at night. When I was there there, I heard on the news that at night some guys actually threw some cords and wires of some sorts in front of the 'T' and that it got out of its rails and caught fire... Yep, there are maniacs everywhere unfortunatly!! :(
Boston is a large city; use your streetsmarts. Also, public restrooms are scarce in Boston: try the Visitors Center on Boston Common, the Fleet Center Commuter Rail Building at North Station, the larger Department Stores at Downtown Crossing and the larger fast food restaurants like Burger King, McDonalds', etc.
I guess every big city has them. I saw these guys when I was walking through the public gardens at night. I didn't try to pet them.