Community Alert

Mayor Menino Launches First-Ever “Constituent Response Team”Effort uses innovative technology to coordinate cross-collaboration among city agencies to address quality of life issues Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced that the City of Boston in conjunction with the Boston Police Department (BPD) will implement a proactive, data-driven approach to address recurring quality of life issues in Boston through interagency and community-based partnerships. This latest community policing initiative known as the “Constituent Response Team” (CRT) will proactively identify and analyze recurring quality of life issues through new technology that will compare data through computerized mapping. The BPD will analyze data from multiple sources to examine trends and patterns in citizen complaints for minor crimes, nuisances, social disorder such as loitering, unruly youth, public drinking, loud music and also physical disorder such as abandoned buildings, graffiti, litter and vacant lots. The CRT is compromised of the officers from the Boston Police Department as well as representation from the Public Works Department, Transportation, Department of Neighborhood Services, Code Enforcement, the Parks and Recreation Department, Graffiti Busters and Basic City Services. “This is another great example of how Boston is one of the most innovative cities in the country,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “We have made tremendous strides in reducing crime and this new technology will provide us additional detailed information to pinpoint where we need to concentrate our efforts and improve the quality of life for all residents.” Through computerized mapping and other data manipulations, these analyses will focus on identifying the places and people that generate a disproportionate amount of citizen complaints for quality of life issues. Data on recurring quality of life issues will be collected from BPD incident and arrest data for minor crimes and disorderly offenses, BPD citizen calls for service data, complaint data from the Mayor’s Hotline that are relevant to social and physical disorder concerns, and information reported by City Hall Neighborhood Liaisons and BPD Community Service Officers (CSOs). Police Commissioner Ed Davis stated, “We have experienced great progress in crime reduction across the city. The issues that we hear about most frequently from community members focus on quality of life concerns. We believe that disorder directly effects crime so it makes sense to closely coordinate city services by having police officers function as eyes and ears in the community when it comes to addressing these issues.” When disorder “hot spots” and repeat address locations are identified, CSOs will be mobilized to make repeated connections with community members in the area. Through community meetings and individual visits, the CSOs will facilitate working partnerships with Boston residents to deal with recurring quality of life issues. CSOs will also advise Boston residents on the array of services available from City Hall to address these quality of life concerns. CSOs will be more proactive educating residents on the processes needed to access these services such as contacting the Mayor’s Hotline. CSOs will also make requests on the behalf of residents and ensure that identified problems are rapidly addressed by the appropriate city agencies. The CRT initiative will also include bi-monthly interagency meetings hosted by Boston Police District Captains to review trends, patterns, and recurring problems. Particular attention will be focused on addressing “hot spots” of disorderly behavior in the relevant community as well as repeat offenders who generate a large number of complaints. These meetings will be staffed by the appropriate BPD command staff and officers (in particular, district captains, CSOs, and Safe Street Team supervisors), Neighborhood Services staff, Department of Public Works staff, and, as necessary, community-based organizations and residents in problem places. The meetings will develop and coordinate comprehensive interagency responses to recurring problems. The content of the proposed responses will be documented and specific individuals and agencies will be charged with executing key elements of these plans. The Boston Police CompStat process has been highly effective in our efforts to reduce crime. This same system will be beneficial in closely tracking the progress of the CRT efforts. In addition, accountability for implementing responses and alleviating identified problems will be tracked through ongoing measurement of complaints over time as well as through analyses of key activities such as issuing civil infraction tickets, parking violations, and the like. For particular problem places, repeated photos will be used to ensure that physical disorder is alleviated. A senior City Hall staff person will serve as the overseer of the initiative and will ensure that responses to identified problems are addressed in a timely manner. Residents will help drive the work of the CRT, which will focus significantly on service requests logged through the Mayor's Hotline. Last year, the City of Boston launched a state-of-the-art tracking system for all constituent requests. Constituents can log requests by calling the Mayor's Hotline (617-635-4500) or by visiting the City's website (; both are available 24-hours a day. This fall the City has also launched the DataHub, which allows constituents to view daily updates on service requests throughout the city; and, the City will launch its new iPhone application this month, making it even easier for constituents to report service issues.