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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Criminal Justice Professor Unveils Community Policing Attitudes in Dorchester

What are the biggest threats to community safety? Depending on where you live, you may be most concerned about drugs, fear of police, or home invasion. Professor Dennis J. Stevens presented results and posed solutions, focusing specifically on Dorchester, at a panel discussion with Captain Robert P. Dunford, commander of district 11, on October 18 at the College of Public and Community Service.

In comparison to other neighborhoods in South Boston, East Boston, Roslindale, and Chinatown, Stevens and his students found Dorchester residents are most concerned about drugs and home invasion. Though the majority polled revealed a particularly high fear of crime, many had great trust in the local police force. Stevens found this trust to be higher than with political leaders; residents polled said they wanted police to accept leadership of city and county services.

Stevens’ goal is to help communities and police work together. He will be comparing these community policing responses with those of other neighborhoods in Boston, as well as in Alexandria, VA, Sacramento, CA, Miami, Chicago, and midland Texas. The research revealed at the presentation will appear in Stevens’ Applied Community Policing, to be published this spring.

The work Stevens has done is one part of Umass Boston’s commitment to examining community safety. In 1991, Paul Evans, commissioner of the Boston Police Department, organized a team of community leaders and groups to form the Neighborhood Strategic Advisory for Community Policing. Gail Hobin, director of Community Relations, served as a board member of this committee and of the subsequent organization, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee for C11, the police district incorporating the Dorchester area. Dunford and the board presented Stevens’ research and recommendations to Evans and others in a meeting following the CPCS presentation.

(This article originally appeared in The Reporter)