BOSTON — Some were removed in police cars, others by ambulance in what may be the largest police crackdown ever in the area known as Boston's "methadone mile." This sweep spanned multiple days and began just hours after a corrections officer was attacked on his way to work Thursday.
Jackie Burton works at a nearby hospital and passes through the area five days each week.
"I'm very glad to see the police presence, very glad," she said. "And they need to be here every day, not just today."
The sweep that ended with 18 people arrested on day one came just 12 hours after a Suffolk County correctional officer was beaten near a city homeless shelter on Atkinson Street. The officer was on his way to work at the nearby jail when he was surrounded and struck with fists and a metal pipe.
Boston Police shut down Atkinson Street and checked everyone in the area for warrants and drugs.
One after one people were paraded out in handcuffs
Several people told Boston 25 News that they think the incident is a publicity stunt.
Whatever the reason for the cleanup, Thursday was the first time Jackie Burton has felt safe walking to her car from work in eight years. She just hopes the work done on Thursday night lasts.
"I walk through this every day and it’s just terrible," she said.
On Friday, crews were cleaning up the area of Massachusetts Avenue and Southhampton Street. That cleanup included power-washing streets and installing a better lighting system. Officers on bikes removed people loitering in the area.
Authorities say the robbery was the motivation for the cleanup. One city leader said that police and other officials were working hand-in-hand to make sure the area was safer.
"The goal is to make sure the area becomes unremarkable," said Buddy Christopher, a special consultant to the mayor. "Working so closely with police, and the Department of Public Health. It's a jointed effort to make sure we have the maximum result."
"Looks like a lot of people struggling for a place to go," said one man in that area. "I'm looking for help."