BOSTON - For the first time, Boston is showing residents what it will take to clean up the so-called "Methadone Mile" but skeptical South End residents say a solution can't come fast enough.
Police are now assigned to patrol the area daily on bikes until midnight, and all night Wednesday, there was a noticeable increase in the number of police cruisers.
Neighbors tell Boston 25 News that police there are essentially responding to their every call, including some that are disturbing daily encounters.
"Our camera will get pinged 15-20 times in a matter of hours," said Alexandra Krotinger, a South End resident. "Stumbling and defecating behind cars and leaving behind needles and getting into fights with one another."
The alarming activity in the alley behind Krotinger's home on East Springfield Street is something she says she'll never get used to.
"I look at my call logs and one of those bad days 911 is called seven or eight times," Krotinger said.
And she has surveillance video to back up the bizarre sights and sounds she says have increased in recent years.
People lurking, peering into car windows, throwing things over her back fence.
Four days ago the stakes got higher when she gave birth to a baby boy.
"Isn't what I thought I was going to bring my son home to, and it's not an environment I feel safe in day to day," Krotinger said. "I don't think it's normal to carry mace in my baby carriage."
The new rough outline from Mayor Marty Walsh to address mounting issues in the area commonly referred to as "Methadone Mile" can't materialize fast enough for Krotinger and others desperate for a solution.
"The South End represents 4% of the city of Boston," Krotinger said. "We are taking on [the] burden of not only the entire city, but the entire state, with one of the only methadone clinics."
"There are hundreds of people gathering on a daily basis," said Jonathan Alves, another South End resident.
Alves is among those now cautiously optimistic by the mayor's plan to de-cluster the services that draw an influx of people into this one area every day.
"This goes beyond the city of Boston," he said. "We need other cities and towns in the state of Massachusetts to step up to the plate and open up some services, so they can help their local communities."
Following the rough outline just shared with neighbors to address the problems, the mayor expects to release a concrete plan in a week or so. With the help of a state grant, the city is also planning to nearly double the number of public health workers who connect addicts to services.
The city says it is also hiring four public works employees to help clean up needles, trash and human waste plaguing the area.
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