Boston police are stepping up patrols in the Downtown Crossing area after a series of incidents involving juveniles who have allegedly engaged in vandalism, theft, and assault in the busy commercial district, officials said Wednesday.
The latest disturbance was Monday evening, when four juveniles were arrested after allegedly attacking a young woman in the area of Winter and Washington streets, leaving her with a large bump over her eye that required treatment at a hospital, according to police. Some of the assailants later punched, kicked, and spit on responding officers, police said.
The woman told police a group of teens started calling her a “white [expletive] with braids.” The woman said she identifies as Hispanic and started to walk away when one of the girls pulled her by the hair, she told police. The others began to punch and kick her.
George T. Comeau, marketing and brand activation manager for the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, a group that advocates for businesses and residents in the area, said his organization is working with authorities to address the situation. “We are working closely with our partners in City Hall, the Boston Police Department, several city agencies as well as our local business and commercial property owners to assess this situation and respond accordingly,” Comeau said.
Police said that Macy’s department store on Washington Street has also been a site of frequent disturbances in recent months.
“This particular location has been a constant highlight area for radio calls involving juveniles,” police wrote in an April 8 report detailing a fight among teens at Macy’s. “These radio calls have consisted of juveniles actively destroying furniture and various merchandise. These calls have included juveniles using weapons, such as tasers and knives, on customers milling about attempting to purchase merchandise.”
In late March, four youths attacked an 81-year-old man at the McDonald’s on Washington Street, police said. Shortly after 9 p.m., the man told officers, he was eating a hamburger when the group accosted him, snatching his burger and tossing it to the ground. One of the juveniles struck him on the head, he said.
Later that night, another disturbance was reported a few blocks away at the Silvertone Bar and Grill on Bromfield Street. In that case, four juveniles walked into the establishment and tried to buy alcohol but were denied service due to their age, the report said.
They were offered candy and asked to leave but refused, at one point spitting at an employee, according to the report. A female juvenile allegedly brandished a knife and lunged at a witness in an attempt to stab the person, the report said.
The youths were eventually led out but returned and threw a cone at a window above the door, shattering the glass. They also threw a 20-ounce soda bottle that caused a glass door to shatter, according to the report.
Two nights later, on March 23, there was trouble at the Black Seed Cafe on Tremont Street, where police officers saw two juveniles kick someone who had a bloody nose. One of the juveniles told police they had asked the victim to buy them ice cream, and an argument ensued when she declined and at one point used an expletive and a racial slur, police said.
Last week, another incident took place at Wolfgang Steak House Boston on Washington Street. Two weeks earlier, three juveniles had stolen a bottle of wine from the restaurant after they were denied alcohol service. When they returned April 15, an argument broke out when staff told them to leave. One juvenile male threw a San Pellegrino bottle, shattering a glass door.
Rosemarie Boardman, chief financial officer and co-interim CEO of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, said it’s “important to note” that violent crime downtown is down 21 percent from 2021 and 29 percent from the five-year average, according to police statistics. The only crime that’s up this year is retail theft, she said.
“We, along with many of our commercial property owners, businesses, and residents are aware of several isolated incidents of criminal conduct in the Downtown Crossing neighborhood over the past few weeks,” Boardman said. “We support the city’s efforts to pursue a juvenile criminal process as well as take steps to address any trauma and mental health issues that may be placing these youth at risk.”
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.