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Car Thefts Worry Chinatown

By Bianca Buono
On October 11, 2011

BOSTON, MA- Auto theft is down but community nervousness in Chinatown is on the rise, according to Boston Police,.

The police have sent advisories to shops and homes throughout Chinatown, according to police and the Sampan (Chinatown's local newspaper). In an area known for its tradition and food, tourists and some locals in Chinatown are not expecting to be surrounded by crime. In the past month, there have been five car thefts. "I've lived in Chinatown for two years and it is a safe place," according to Wing Chen, 38, a local employee at BaoBao Tea. "I don't know why this is happening now."

Other locals are more aware of the crime in the area, as it has been a neighborhood of high-crime for decades. Idy Nguyen, 34, an employee at Essex Corner Asian Crafts, has experience with crime.

"It [crime] is very serious. Theft is a major problem, especially shoplifting in my store." When asked about car theft, Nguyen said, "I haven't seen it yet but I have heard other shop-owners expressing concerns."

Although locals seem to see a rise in crime and car theft this year, the opposite is true, according to Angeline Richardson, director of media services in Boston's Police District A-1. "In 2010 from January to September, there were 88 instances of vehicle theft. In 2011, there have been only 60," said Richardson. Crime overall has actually decreased by 16 percent so far since 2010.

Boston Police have posted signs throughout the area, calling it a "citizen alert." Richardson said the signs were posted because there has been a rash of vehicles broken into in the past month and it caught Chinatown's attention. Signs display tips on how to avoid car theft, such as "Never leave valuable items exposed to public view."

Junior Morgan, 31, who worked at the Stanhope Parking Garage on the corner Boylston St. and Harrison St. commented on the sudden fuss over crime. "I worked here [Stanhope] for three months and I never had a problem with auto theft." The only problem that Morgan mentioned was the graffiti. "The graffiti artists are sneaky. I've worked nights and I've never caught them." When asked if he knew if the car theft and graffiti were connected, Morgan said, "I don't really know. I wouldn't be surprised, though."

Police are advising everyone to not only protect themselves from being a victim of car theft but also to keep a look out for neighbors. If someone knows anything about carjacking or witnesses a crime, contact the District A-1 offices by calling 617-343-4911.


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