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March 27, 2008



This happened two doors down from my friend's place on Sewall Street. My friend and his wife arrived home ten minutes after the shooting. They're totally freaked out and want to move out of Somerville asap after only moving into the neighborhood a year ago.
What is wrong with the kids today?! This was a 15 year-old shot from a passing car!
There was a shooting near my place (near Walnut Street) several months ago and I'm looking forward to the day when I can get the hell out of Winter Hill (just waiting for the housing market to improve).
I really like Somerville but I don't see anything being done to reduce the crime. Every day I see more and more of these teenage punk kids roaming the streets, getting up to no good. Oh, and the trash seems to keep piling up too.


It was about 4 nights ago that I thought "Hey, I moved to Sewell Street last Winter and generally I like the neighborhood. But if I want it cleaned up I'm going to have to get the other residents together." Guess I should have moved a little faster.

Somerville PD is short-shifted because of the budget so it's time for some community policing. That, and residents getting more involved in local politics.

The fact is - I watched people go in and out of that house (and the house next door to it) at all hours of the night. Everyone sees they are dealing. I guess it's time to document the traffic and let the cops do what they can. It's too bad a kid has to get shot.

The only thing that frustrates me is that we have a bunch of illegals on our street that probably won't care to get involved in any "community action" that doesn't involve MS13. But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and ask em.

They better hurry up and get something done with the old Shaw's on Broadway, because having those empty lots just compunds the issue...


I'm sure once the mural at the Foss Pool gets painted over, these problems will just vanish *poof* into thin air...


jay - I'm not far from Sewall Street, and I agree with your friends; I'm feeling freaked out, too. I'm a renter, and I've been on Craigslist and for the past hour, seeking apartments/houses for rent in the Needham area. I know people will say this happens everywhere, but that's not true. Some communities are too expensive for the drive-by element and their families to afford. Guess I'm going to take that second job I was considering.
Re: the trash. I agree; there are so many absentee landlords and condo owners, not many people care about cleaning up the sidewalk/street in front of their own home.

freshman - if the illegals you're referring to are Brazilian, and you can communicate with them, I'd be willing to wager that they will be receptive to your idea.

it *is* funny

Hey freshman -- I think you are on the money with community policing. I know my Alderman has offered to help our neighbors establish a Neighborhood watch here. We haven't formalized anything yet, but I do know my neighbors watch what's up on our street and we watch out for them. If you set up a meeting, you could invite SPD Chief Holloway and whatever community policeman is supposed to be watching your hood. Good luck.


First, you should report the company who owns those lots to the mayor's office (take pictures and send them. The place is a mess and you got kids going through there all the time - especially on Sundays when the church up the street lets out).

Then you should start up a community action group - neighborhood watch, cleanup the street (trash is really getting to be an issue again). Ask people what they would like to address (safety, trash, etc) and see if there's interest. Then talk to the cops and see if they have anyone who can advise you.

something like this :


Okay, that 'illegals' remark was harsh - I was being a bit cynical. It seems (like Kate said) that the Brazialians are pretty hard working folks - hell I wouldn't be standing out at Foss Park at 8 am on a winter morning. I'll see what we can do.

it *is* funny: Thanks for the info, I've been so busy working and trying to get our condo into shape I haven't even taken time to get ot know the local politicians. Being a first time home owner I never really had a need to. What part of Somerville are you in? Hope things go well for you, this city has some great potential and needs people working to realize it.....

When we moved in we said "well, as long as the neighborhood gets flipped into condos (gentrified) we'll be all right". I know long time residents might not like 'yuppies' moving in (not the right term, but you know what I mean). But it's nice, as an owner, to know other peoples' ass is on the line too (via a mortgage) not just mine.

I'd have to disagree with Kate because the condos on our street are the ones with nice yards and who keep their trash in order. The apartment building yards & sidewalks don't get much attention, but that's their nature. Not to say there aren't people who simply can't afford to buy right now but still care about having a nice's just that I haven't talked to really anyone on the the street.

Thanks for your advice folks.

The book is based on an article titled Broken Windows by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, which appeared in the March 1982 edition of The Atlantic Monthly.[1] The title comes from the following example:

"Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.
Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars."
A successful strategy for preventing vandalism, say the book's authors, is to fix the problems when they are small. Repair the broken windows within a short time, say, a day or a week, and the tendency is that vandals are much less likely to break more windows or do further damage. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less). Problems do not escalate and thus respectable residents do not flee a neighborhood.

The theory thus makes two major claims: that further petty crime and low-level anti-social behavior will be deterred, and that major crime will, as a result, be prevented. Criticism of the theory has tended to focus only on the latter claim.



We are first time homeowners and chose my area in Somerville because we believed it was safe. Boy, were we wrong! Two shootings ending in deaths, our car being broken into, parties from the kids across the street, etc. We have had to deal with more crap in Somerville than when we lived in Cambridge. Of course, when you call City Hall and ask "what are you going to do about this" you get nowhere.

Kate, I am a very considerate condo owner and take care of my house and sidewalk. I keep the trash where it should be and I shovel the snow to avoid lawsuits and tickets from the City. Don't generalize!

Cosmo Catalano

I've lived in Winter Hill, and I have have to say that throughout most of the neighborhood, things feel pretty safe. I walked back to Adams St from Sullivan Station after midnight a couple times when I didn't feel like waiting for the bus, and I managed not to get shot or stabbed.

There's been plenty of crime around Foss Park, and earlier this month a stabbing at Medford and Central, but I can't remember hearing about any serious incidents in most of the rest of the neighborhood. I never had cause to worry about the cleanliness of my building or street, or the attentiveness of my landlord, either.


Sewell St. has been a dump for years. Isnt the old Little League hall a halfway house?


I rented in one of the "worst" places in Cambridge, before buying in one of the "nicest" places in Somerville. I have to say that I am surprised about the differences in cleanliness. Cambridge makes an effort to keep it's streets clean, by having weekly street sweeps. Any car in the way is ticketed and towed. Why can't we do that in Somerville? Somerville is clearly not shy about ticketing cars in general, so why not tow cars that are in the way of cleaning. I think if the city does it's part of regular cleaning, people will make more of an effort to keep things clean.

Also, Somerville should be stricter about when people put their trash out for pickup, and how they put them out. I see many people put bags with rips, etc directly on the pavement without trash cans. That's just asking for trouble. It looks gross when a mess is made. Nobody cleans it up. And it invites rats. Somerville should fine residents that do this. Landlords can pass the fine onto renters so that they get the point.

Ron Newman

I generally feel quite safe walking home at night from Temple B'nai B'rith (Central St, atop Winter Hill) to Davis Square.


sombody, residents put out the trash bags with rips so the rats have an easier time eating. Just ask Alderman Sullivan who led the rat patrol a few months ago.

it *is* funny

Freshman -- I'm in Winter Hill too and generally feel quite safe, but little things happen everywhere -- breakins, vandalism, etc -- but drive-by shootings are rare, thank god. My advice -- contact your alderman, and also get involved in the Resistat program. Details about Resistat can be found on the city website. Bottom line -- get involved and get your neighbors involved.

Ron Newman

Somerville has done some towing for street cleaning, but I'm not sure how much. If they did more, people would be yelling and screaming here about "Tickets Curtatone".

Somerville actually cleans its streets twice as often as Cambridge. Look at the no-parking signs in each city, and you'll see that Somerville cleans each side twice a month, while Cambridge does it once a month.

Ron Newman

And while we're at it, this is as good a place as any to remind everyone that street cleaning (and ticketing) starts NEXT TUESDAY, APRIL 1.


Ron: I know that street cleaning happens twice as often, but my point is that it is not as effective. I have seen them go around parked cars, which means on some streets, the street doesn't actually get clean.


I agree with JMD that Kate's comments are a little too generalized. I am a condo owner and I'm out cleaning up my street a couple of times a week. I even sent a list of the things I've swept up to the Mayor's office to make a point! Some of the neighbors look at me like I'm crazy. I guess that goes show how little they care about the cleanliness of our city.

The trash situation infuriates me. The city came out with the new trash guidelines last year. If they came across trash bags on the street not in trash barrels, the apartment would be given a ticket. They enforced it for about 2 weeks and then abandoned it.
Every trash day I see bags of trash on the curb with holes in them and disgusting 'stuff' leaking onto the sidewalks. I've complained to the Dept. of Sanitation on several occasions but I never hear anything back and nothing changes.

Part of me wants to get more invovled in the community but the other part of me says screw it, I just want to sell my condo, buy a house in the 'burbs somewhere so I can raise my kids in a safe, clean community that listens to the concerns of its residents.


somebody: I agree completely. Residents on my street don't move their cars so the street simply doesn't get cleaned properly. The street-sweepers go right around the parked cars and there's no-one from the city following behind to ticket the offenders.
If the city street-sweeps twice a month yet no-one moves their cars on those two days, then guess street remains filthy for a month!

Ron Newman

How much of this dirtiness is because the city doesn't do street cleaning from January through March? I don't know what Cambridge's schedule is, but I doubt they sweep the streets during the winter either.

I'm hoping everything starts looking a lot better in April.


What Sal put plainly (Sewell St is a dump) is true, but to my eyes that's what half of Somerville is. Technically, it's Winter Hill (according to some) but it's a very different experience there compared to just a few streets up - on the Hill proper (over by Ron).

The annonymous poster made a good point (the Broken Windows reference) - I'm hoping we can get some folks together and clean up the street. It's a good start towards getting people to realize they need to respect the neighborhood.

Of course, the guys dealing drugs at 27 and 21 Sewell Street are the other part of the problem. But we can only keep watch and report back to the police.

Yorktown Street

Where I live, they come around BEFORE the street sweepers to "ticket the offenders"!

Bozo the Clown

street sweeping starts April 1st?? NO FOOLIN' !!


They ticket the cars (whether for street cleaning or snow removal) but they do not MOVE the cars. If a car is parked where it should not be, MOVE THE CAR! Let the cleaners get by!! Drivers need to learn to read the signs about when and where they can park. I live on a street which does not require a parking sticker (this is another issue entirely) and watch people who do not live on my street park their cars and walk away for a day or more-especially in the winter.

BTW-I called city hall, the police and my alderman regarding certain suspicious activity on my street and it went nowhere. I honestly thought the shooting on Walnut Street would have raised some eyebrows and people would get involved but I was wrong.


Where do you guys live that they aren't vigilant about ticketing and towing on street cleaning days? They're completely thorough on my street, year in and year out.

100 Block Broadway Brian

This is most likely, in fact, this is definitely a gang related shooting that was probably planned out. Winter Hill and East Somerville is being over run with gangs and another thing, I'm not surprised this shooting happened by temple street. Temple street is somervilles most dangerous street, why aren't there ever any spd patrols that drive around there!?!?!


dotty gay tried towing for street sweeps, but went about it wrong. no notice, not implemented well, no surprise.

you're right - the car gets tagged, but my street doens't get cleaned. it's frustrating. My solution?? 3 street sweep tags mean you don't give a shit, and you get towed. they've got the little computers and can get the info.

my street routinely has 2-3 cars violating, and that means my little street doesn't get cleaned.
big waste of my tax money. obviously the ticket price isn't getting them out of bed to move it, so tow them after a few. then you will have their attention.


Its been almost 8 years since we bought our home in Somerville's Winter Hill.

Both my wife and I scratch our heads in bewilderment. How did the neighborhood dynamics change so quickly these past couple of years? Crime is up. You read about robberies, shootings, stabbings, assaults each week. Drug use is rampant. Dope is sold on street corners and near our city's elementary schools.

Our city's pols should take note and take action and clean up this mess. The cops have their hands full - but the good citizens need community policing now.

There are plenty of "up to no good" thugs roaming our neighborhood streets at all hours of the day/night. At least give us a greater police presence in the Winter Hill area for peet's sake.

If there are any city officials monitoring the comments on this site - read some of telling, truthful comments posted here. And start cleaning up the neighborhoods of Ward 4 and 5. Here's some local intel - start at ground zero at the Winter Hill Community School and work outward from there -- Medford St, Broadway, School St, Highland Ave -- all streets/roads in between. That would be a good start -- consider it spring cleaning!


Brittain33: I live between Davis and Ball Square. I have also seen the sweepers go around parked cars in other areas. So where do you live that you are so lucky?


I live in Alderman Taylor's neck of the woods and you would think there cars would be towed instead of ticketing them.

Bozo the Clown

welcome to Somerville all you condo buying carpetbaggers. Its old school politics with backroom deals. The last person the city is concerned with is YOU. P.S. pay your taxes.


the majority of the problem is the mystic projects up the street they need to kick the kids out that have been arrested and convicted they are not doing that they fight with ms-13 thats the problem Ms-13 fighting with H-Block thats the gang in the mystic projetcs

Sewell Street is a dump

It couldnt of happened on a better street. Since when has Sewell Street been a good street. What did you expect when you bought there. Shame on those who bought there without doing your homework. The people that live on Sewell street that continue to blog about how bad their street is, are only hurting their investment. Wake up u idiots.

Truly yours,
Neighborhood slumblord!


Yes, we're carpetbaggers. Except you probably don't understand what the hell that term refers to or why your use of it is completely wrong. People buying property in your hometown and trying to fix it up (to live and work here) aren't carpetbaggers.

And what's the "pay your taxes" comment?

I bought a condo in Somerville because its all I can afford - or would you have me be like all these idiots who need a federal bailout now because they signed on for more than they could handle? Or would you prefer an Indian or Chinese absentee landlord buy the property instead? I work 50 hours a week, pay my taxes and keep my house in order.

But I supposed your just a bitter ass who never wants to leave the 5 mile radius you call home. So enjoy your home while it rots and you spend your days ingesting howie carr and listening to the Big Show. There's always next year, right?

Sewage Street

Hey guys, if you bought there, say bye bye to your investment. It's gonna get MUCH worse. More unemployed folks going crazy and finding sick ways of passing time and getting revenge of those few who are still holding things up.

Sewall Street is a great street

Sewall street is a great street, despite its about 100 yards from the projects that are full of filthy hatians, white trash, and brazilians. Lets not forget the highway thats approx 200 yards away. Ohh wait, what about the supermarket thats in your back yard. That wont attract all the losers from the projects! What about all the SHA developments on Jaques Street which is full of retired white trash! Come on will ya! What do you expect could happen. I almost forgot, .....what about foss park which is occupied by approx 150 illegals each morning. Foss park is a great place to take your kids in the summer if you speak portuguese! Actually, I take that back, if you play soccer "its a homerun"! You liberal bastards that are blogging on here and voting for obama should wake up. If Obama gets elected, your whole neighborhood will be infiltrated with drive-by shootings, and people who live on your dime. Keep working 40+ hours a week and upkeep your home, but dont forget to vote for Obama in November. I dont want to hear any shit from you liberal fools. The same idiots that bought condos on Fool Street are the liberals who continue to cause the chaos in this community. The best has yet to come, wait and see!

Ron Newman

Living near a supermarket is usually desirable -- ask folks around Porter Square, for instance. The problem here is that this supermarket is CLOSED, and closed commercial buildings blight a neighborhood.


Ron, the problem is that the guy who posted ahead of you is so far away from reality that his comment about a supermarket maybe the smallest flaw in his "thinking".

"Sewall Street is a great street", are you REALLY twisting this into a game of blame the liberal? REALLY? A kid got shot. A kid got shot in a drive by in OUR city. Did a liberal shot him or a hood with an (illegal) gun? Is this a liberal problem or a conservative problem? Somethings in this world transcend politics. Jackass.

You don't want to hear from "liberal bastards that are blogging". Then go spend your time over at Free Republic where you're one of the smart guys in the room.


Don't say I didn't warn everyone that the place was going down the old crapper - and fast. As soon as the moonbats came in and put out the welcome mat for every lowlife/illegal/criminal - then it was all just a matter of time. So very predictable.

Ron, you weren't born here and you don't own here, so you keep your piehole shut. Keep riding your bike, but this time up/down Sewell street. K?

Cabbie, you just keep drinking the Obama "Osama" koolaid. The guy is a racist and if he gets elected then he wants all whites to pay restitution for slavery. Fat chance of that. His wife and minister like to yell "Kill Whiyey!" in crowds. I hope Lee Harvey pops out of the dirt and rearranges the part in Obama's hair as he did JFK's.

Young Republican

I'm ******* sick of this ****! We need to get the liberals like Ron out of Somerville. The place belongs to us. We are the ones paying most of the taxes. **** all liberals. They are destroying our town. We need to hire more cops, round up all the ******* slimy illegal aliens. We need local vigilantism, it's the only way out of this mess. **** you too, Bill Shelton, with your useless **** posts! Imux should be ******* Mayor!!!


Don't you love the intellectual capabilities of the last two posters? Ahhh... with debaters like that, we should just pack up and go home, because they'll always win with sharp arguments, good research, and strong points.


Prospect Hill.

give it up

will you people give it up already with the "you weren't born here, you don't own here" crap?
a small group of people are creating the impression that new people are not welcome. i understand the issue of people trying to change a city, and that should be addressed whenever it happens. but you lose all respect from me and for your point when you get into that nonsense. So no new residents, and no renters? the citys population must stay the same as when you were in the third grade? People die, you know. they also move. me and many others can't afford to buy anywhere, nevermind Somerville. So i can say nothing because i make crap money and have to have 2 roommates? If you weren't taking up your mom's basement, maybe i could live there and sit around thinking great thoughts all day. Unfortunately, i have to go to two jobs to pay the scum i rent from. I'll try to keep quiet about YOUR city's issues from now on.

Bill Shelton


You don't have to post under another name in order to insult me. Really. I thought that we understood that.

And "Young Republican" strains credulity. I can't imagine any self-respecting Republican writing that.


Bill, yeah... I know that you basically hang out in a free-fire zone, but I actually did not throw any insults at you this time. I beeyatch-slapped Ron and Cabbie a bit, but didn't toss any in your direction. When you write another one of your mainfestos on bending over for the illegals - that will change and fast.

Whoever said we don't welcome ANY new people is a moron. We need and welcome new blood. If you buy here (or rent here for a long time), raise a family, our good neighbors then - of course - you're welcomed. We're just not going to hug the grab-my-buttcheek-for-illegals/criminals/lowlifes like Ron and his fellow PDS'ers. They're freaks and are trying their "social experiments" out in Somerville at all of our expense. These Godless PDS heathens are destroying family values and our quality of life with their campaign for more-drugs, hug-an-illegal, pro-terrorist, drive-thru-abortions and all around moonbat theories.

James Norton

Imux -

Thank you for making me laugh this morning...I should have used that last line in my most recent rant about the PDS. That is, if I wrote it...

Somewhere, someone just dropped their bowl of honey nut tofu and blew apart the theory of the bear in the woods, literally. get the idea.



Somerville (Wikipedia)

Somerville has experienced dramatic gentrification since the Red Line of Boston's subway system was extended through Somerville in 1985, especially in the area between Harvard and Tufts Universities, centering around Davis Square. Gentrification has historical cycles in the city of Somerville due to its proximity to these and many other colleges and universities.[citation needed] This was especially accelerated by the repeal of rent control in the mid-1990s being directly followed by the internet boom of the late 90s. Residential property values approximately quadrupled from 1991 to 2003 and the stock of rental housing decreased as lucrative condo conversions become commonplace. This has led to tensions between long-time residents and recent arrivals, with many of the former accusing the latter of ignoring problems of working-class families such as drugs, gang violence, and suicides. Incidents such as anti-"yuppie" graffiti, (also known locally as "barnies",[4]) appearing around town, have highlighted this rift. The economic clash between several areas of the city of Somerville and its neighboring cities of Boston, and in particular Cambridge, has created a culture of anti-intellectualism and anti-gentry sentiment that has spanned many generations.[5] Symptoms of this include petty crime, and in some cases, violence against outsiders.[6] Recent years have seen the arrival of community groups such as Save Our Somerville (SOS), dedicated to improving relationships between old and new residents and ensuring that the concerns of the Somerville working class remain at the forefront of the city's political concerns. SOS in particular is headed by young residents of the city who claim to desire unity between all residents but also focus on the difficulties that young adults in Somerville face. They enjoy support from a number of well-known, local adults, including elected officials. Many such community-led groups find it difficult to attract wide support as many would-be advocates are forced to move to less expensive towns due to the density of the population and strong economic forces that have made Somerville a very expensive city to live in.

In November of 1997, the Utne Reader named Davis Square in Somerville one of the 15 hippest places to live in the U.S.[10] The article illustrates how Somerville is in an era socio-economic change shared by many other working-class and industrial areas of the country.

sick of the shit

What a sad time it is when your scared to pull in front of your own home without thinking that you might get shot. Time to start thinking about getting license plates of the vehicles that are coming and going and forwarding any info to police Chief of Somerville. Also, I don't think it would hurt to take some photos of people "hanging out" in empty lots and the trash problem and forward them to the media.
Usually people that make a big stink about things get shit done. One last thing - get to know your neighbors that want to to live in a safe neighborhood.

SSG Jean-Baptiste


You are repulsive, scum like you should do society a favor and DON'T reproduce, do society another favor and end your misery as well. Your comments are baseless, devisive, and just plain stupid. You are making yourself look. And I find it wrong of you to describe Haitians and Brazilians as filth. I'm Haitian-American and also a veteran of two wars, (OIF I and OIF II). Everyone readin these posts can clearly the real filth is yourself. People like you are what is wrong with this great country.

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