If Monday night’s Board of Aldermen’s meeting had a theme, it was undoubtedly related to crime and public safety, as at least four resolutions and orders dealt with the perceived increase in crime in the city, particularly violent crimes.
From an order from Mayor Carlo DeMaria that the city consider restricting the hours at the Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Glendale Square to proposals to increase the size of the Everett Police Gang Unit, close down 24-hour retail operations and institute a youth curfew, the Board made it clear they feel that a crime wave has taken root in the city related to increased drug and gang activity.
Mayor DeMaria, who joined the Aldermen during a discussion about the need to increase the gang unit, took exception to comments made by Alderwoman Mille Cardello, noting that most of the violent crime taking place in the city is not strictly related to gangs, even as he informed the Board of plans to hire 10 new police officers, in addition to the two that are currently in the Police Academy.
Overall, the tone set by the Board is that crime is rising and the city needs to make an investment in police resources to ensure public safety.
However, that is exactly what Mayor DeMaria said he is trying to do in the upcoming budget.
“We’ve called for a list to hire 10 new police officers, we are going to be able to do this without increasing the budget and we are forecasting the need to hire an additional five officers down the road,” said the mayor. “I will be coming before you (at a later date) to seek additional funding to do that.”
During the discussion about restricting hours at Walgreen’s and other 24 hour stores, Alderman Robert Van Campen noted, “As we’ve been talking about crime in the city tonight, these 14 hour establishments are the main thing attracting this element to our city at night. . .we should be looking to restrict these hours, improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and begin to get control of our streets again.”
Van Campen, Cardello and Marchese all noted that several residents have expressed their concerns that they are afraid to walk near Glendale Square and Walgreen’s during certain hours of the night, as well as other areas of the city with 24-hour retail operations.
Marchese took it a step further noting that youth in the cit should be required to be off the streets after an (as yet undetermined) hour each night.
“Whatever we’ve gone through over the past six months (with regard to crime in the city) multiply that by two, now that the warm weather is coming,” noted Marchese.
All four of the Aldermanic articles were forwarded to the Council’s committee on Public Safety, with invitations to Mayor DeMaria and Police Chief Steve Mazzie to attend those hearings.