Police Chief Steve Mazzie said any criminal activity or arrests that have happened at Encore so far are not outside of anything they expected, and that none of the activity is spilling over to the neighborhoods.
Recently, two Boston media outlets – as well as the Independent – analyzed arrests and crime at Encore since the June 23 opening, and found that there were 161 people arrested and/or summonsed through October.
But Chief Mazzie said it wasn’t anything they didn’t expect, and it certainly isn’t anything that is affecting any other part of the city.
“There was an increase in crime and calls for service because prior to June 23, a casino didn’t exist there,” he said. “In fact, nothing existed there. Do we have calls for service? Are we having some crime, more drunk and disorderly charges? Yes, but it’s really nothing out of the ordinary and something we expected from our research before the opening based on the numbers going there. The problems that are there are really, to us, minimal.”
Encore Boston Harbor said it takes the safety of its guests seriously, and was glad that the collaboration of security, Everett Police and State Police were being pro-active.
“The safety and security of our guests are taken very seriously at Encore Boston Harbor,” read a statement from the casino. “We have a zero tolerance policy regarding any violation of law or inappropriate behavior and work side-by-side with law enforcement to ensure any individuals involved in such behavior are immediately removed from the resort and handled appropriately by Everett or State Police.”
More importantly, Chief Mazzie
indicated that there has been no crime associated with the casino spilling out
into adjacent neighborhoods of Everett.
“We anticipated more calls for service, but the question is what is an acceptable number in calls for service,” he said. “There has been no spillover we know of. Right now, maybe we’ve had a couple of minor car accidents. In other parts of the city, like in Everett Square, you don’t even know the place is there. There have been no impacts.”
The State Police, in a statement, said they didn’t believe crime was spilling over, and said it is important to keep the arrests in context with the numbers of people visiting.
“It is important to keep the enforcement statistics in context of the huge volume of visitors to the location,” read the statement from Spokesman David Procopio. “Another important factor for consideration is whether, generally speaking, criminal offenses are contained to the property or spill into the surrounding community. Our partners at the Everett Police would be the best source of information on this question, but in our experience, illegal activities on the property have, generally, not crossed over into the neighborhoods around the property.”
Most of the crimes found by a report by Channel 5 Investigates included many disorderly conduct charges and assault charges. One charge included a registered sex offender who was “upskirting” (taking pictures up the skirt of a woman) a woman who was gambling, while another charge included a loaded firearm found in an unattended purse.
The Independent also received crime date from the State Police, and noted that most of the incidents happened between midnight and 4 a.m. Almost all of those arrested were from Massachusetts, with only one person from out of the country and only a few from out of state. For whatever reason, a good many residents from Lynn had been arrested.
Surprisingly, there weren’t many arrests for car breaks, something many figured would be a given.
Mazzie said he didn’t consider much of what has taken place there in five months out of the ordinary, and compared it to the opening of any type of mall or even the summer rush on Cape Cod.
“Really, our officers have been goodwill ambassadors just trying to help people who are having a good time and some who have had a little too good of a time,” said Mazzie. “It’s similar to Cape Cod when it swells with people in the summer. What do you think happens to their calls for service in the summer? They go way up. Then it slows down once the season moves to the fall and winter.”
Right now, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has hired an analyst to work with the State Police and Everett Police to document a baseline of crime in Everett before the casino. That analyst and police will continue to monitor reported crime as time goes on, with a report on the effects of the casino to come out yearly. Already, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park have had such reviews, and Encore would likely have one at this time next year.
“We’re taking it month to month and we’ll see what each month and each new season brings,” said the chief. “I think it will take a while to see the real impacts it will have here.”
The State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit (GEU) assigned to Encore Boston Harbor is a task force comprised of State Troopers and Everett Police Officers. The goal is simple — to enforce the law to maintain a safe environment for the employees and patrons of the casino and to assist in preserving the integrity of the gaming operation. The Troopers and Officers in the unit received training in best practices related to casino security and policing. GEU members are first responders to any emergency incident on casino property, and conduct follow-up investigations for any potential criminal act on the property. MSP Troopers and Everett Officers are supplemented on the casino floor by private security employed by the casino.