Boston Common is a historical treasure in the heart of our city and — despite repeated official pledges past and present — it remains a disturbing and dangerous black eye that has many neighbors up in arms.
“The amount of drug activity that I see is so prevalent I’m almost surprised if I don’t see it,” said a 27-year-old medical student who lives nearby and brings her black lab, Zoe, to the Common several times a day.
“I see people shooting up. I saw someone smoking crack the other day. I see deals going on all the time,” added the student, who didn’t want her name used.
Yesterday, after a teen was shot at dusk the night before, Boston cops had a heavy presence at the sprawling Common — far more, regulars say, than they usually see.
But regular parkgoers tell me that’s not usually the case. The scent of weed wafted across the lawn all day as children were pushed in strollers, people walked their dogs and workers took lunchtime strolls. There was a syringe stuck in the ground by a tree trunk between the popular tennis courts and baseball field.
Drifters and vagrants camped out with suitcases and a big group congregated by the Brewer Fountain by the Park Street T stop as droves of commuters briskly walked by at the end of the work day.
In the afternoon, four cops approached a group of young men and women, handing one man a ticket for smoking. The ticket didn’t specify whether it was for cigarettes or marijuana — but the recipient told me he doesn’t smoke cigarettes.
Retired state police trooper-turned-dog walker Lisa Mula said the drug use has gotten worse since mounted police patrols ended.
“This park has gotten much, much more dangerous since they pulled that mounted unit out of here,” said Mula, who stepped in and called the cops after a homeless man was robbed over the winter while she was walking a dog during the day. “If there was someone in the Common, it may not have occurred.”
Mula said she’s complained to park rangers about bike messengers who speed through the park, but hasn’t seen any change.
“We have daycare centers come in here with little toddlers. They’re in here every day. God forbid one of those kids steps out onto the pavement when a bicycle goes by,” Mula said. “I’ve almost been hit by a bicycle walking a dog.”
Mula said she can “pick out” the drug deals.
“It’s pitiful,” she said. “You’ve got tourists coming down here and they’re expecting this lovely park.”