Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shooting from the Hip near Codman Square?

The news of a shooting on Lyndhurst street can easily evoke the terrible summer of 2005. Back then, the troubles on this street near Dorchester’s Codman Square included drug-dealing and prostitution. So it wasn’t altogether surprising that the pastor of a church a few blocks away, Rev. Bruce Wall, would occupy a building on the street and put the problems on the map.

As for what happened last night, there's no denying that a 43 year-old man was shot in the neck. How does that matter to the community? To begin with, as The Boston Globe reports, the gunshots were heard by neighbors, and that’s definitely unsettling.

But is it a continuation of what happened in 2005? Not necessarily. By this morning, the Boston Police said the shooting was “fueled by a personal dispute,” and that the alleged shooter, a 27 year-old man from Dorchester, knew the victim. The suspect has since been arrested and was due for arraignment in Dorchester District Court this morning.

As The Globe makes clear, the area has had more violent crime since 2005, including an assault on another pastor. Residents usually point out that most of the street is quite stable, with attractive single-family homes that are, for the most part, well maintained. But there are multi-family buildings near the corner of Washington street—the epicenter of Rev. Wall’s “Hell Zone”—that have a history of problems. These include multiple foreclosure petitions and distressed sales.

If the Boston Police Dept. is correct, the story around last night’s shooting looks different from the configuration of dots in the first news reports. It can certainly be expected the Police Dept. would want the public to think it’s not all that dangerous to walk down Lyndhurst street on a warm summer evening—even if the public remains on guard. It does appear the latest shooting wasn’t a random robbery, or something triggered by the kind of turf war that often takes a toll on bystanders. If there are still dots on Lyndhurst street, they have to be connected in a different way.