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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Boston Enforces Curfew to Force Out Drug Dealers and Homeless

From boston.com: After mounting drug arrests and a recent shooting that lodged a bullet in the State House, police have begun enforcing a nighttime curfew on Boston Common to rid the area of drug dealers and force out the homeless who have long spent their nights on its benches and manicured lawns.

The curfew, which will last from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., will bar people from the Common unless they are passing through.

Advocates for the homeless support the new effort to reduce crime in the historic park, which began Tuesday night, but fear the consequences for those who find refuge there.

"There is a general sense that it's good something's being done about the Common," said Melissa Quirk, assistant director of the Emergency Shelter Commission of Boston. "It's an issue that needed to be addressed. But the increase in drug-related activity is really distinct from people sleeping on the Common."

She and others worry that homeless people, many of whom refuse to go to shelters, will scatter to other parts of the city, where it may be more difficult for outreach workers to help them. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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