Boston to permanently clean out crime-ridden ‘Methadone Mile’
A tent city located at a Boston, Massachusetts, intersection will finally be cleaned up and cleared out by authorities on November 1 after years of criminal activity, including illegal drug use and violence.
Democratic Boston Mayor Michelle Wu issued an ordinance to take down the tents and ban camping at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Blvd. She noted that the encampment’s residents have been notified that they must leave the area often referred to as “Methadone Mile.” Individuals attempting to move into the encampment have been prevented from putting up new tents.
Those living on the street have been encouraged to utilize the city’s shelter system. Wu noted that many of the individuals residing at the intersection are struggling with drug and alcohol addictions or mental health conditions. City staff have been in the area 24 hours a day for months to provide assistance, she added.
In August, Wu said that even outreach workers “are not feeling comfortable” or safe at the intersection any longer with crime on the rise. According to the mayor, the intersection has become a hot spot for drug trafficking, human trafficking, and violence.
“There is no magic wand in a very complex, long-standing challenge that cities around the country are facing with the opiate crisis, homelessness, mental health, but we know that in Boston we have a very good sense of not only who it is that needs services, but also how to most effectively connect people with those services,” Wu stated.
The Boston Herald reported that since Wu took office in 2021, the daily homelessness population at Mass and Cass has dropped from nearly 200 to approximately 80 to 90.
Wu aims to permanently clear out the dangerous area by first allowing police to remove the tents and tarps. Homeless individuals in need of shelter will be connected to housing services. Police Commissioner Michael Cox stated that the department will maintain a “heavy” police presence at the intersection.
“We want to make it clear to the people who come to the city with a different intent, whether it’s to sell drugs or criminality, or to victimize the people that are in these areas, we’re not going to allow that,” Cox explained.
City Council President Ed Flynn aims to see a “zero tolerance” approach regarding the camping ban.
“We have rules in place, and people need to follow the rules,” Flynn told the Boston Herald. “If they break criminal laws, they need to be arrested and prosecuted.”
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