Thursday, July 14, 2011


The recent mess in the point continues to be a hot topic. One resident took great offense to my assertion that the entire neighborhood is to blame for allowing it to continue. She chastised me for writing about something I know nothing about. Of course, she then admitted to being the exception that proves the rule when she said, "So how do we do that? Get more people to care? Cause frankly, nobody except the people who live in 1 or 2 buildings in the point even give a remote shit."

One or two buildings of people caring is the biggest problem the point faces. One or two buildings of people can't be expected to face a crowd of hundreds rioting in the street. At the same time, the police can't be effective without some support from the neighborhood. I feel really bad for those who do care. I considered buying into the same building that most of them live in, and I thank God that I didn't. They are in a no-win situation at this point.

At least a few of them have been trying for years to get some help from the city, and one of them shared their correspondence with me.

This first string is from a Point resident to the mayor, police, head of the Point Neighborhood Association, and Ward 1 Councilor Bob McCarthy, who has a proven track record of not responding to concerns from Point residents. The author asked that I not include his or her name, as one of their neighbors just had their tires slashed for speaking out. (Klassy!)


Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 16:59:42 -0400
Subject: Fwd: Crime, hatred, and racism alive on Harbor Street: HELP!!
From: (Harbor Street Resident 1)

Dear Mayor, Police, Councilor,

I would like to point out the below email that I sent in 2008 regarding the problems on Harbor street and in the point in general.

Over the past 2 weeks, the police have likely been sick of hearing from me. I have called pretty much every night, multiple times a night between 12-4am, to report RIDICULOUS fireworks. Nothing at all has changed since I wrote this in 2008. My husband also sent a similar email in 2006 and again in 2008.

I don't know what else to do. I can't take it anymore. I can't sleep. I have a job and I haven't been able to sleep in weeks and I have to go to work every morning. I can't work from home because the fireworks go off all day too. My dogs are about to have a heart attack. I wake up in a panic 4-5 times a night to the sound of explosions next to my 3rd floor bedroom window. It's not fair to people in our neighborhood to have to live like this.

Things did not have to get as bad as they were on the 4th. We gave the police AMPLE opportunity to come and cite or arrest these people for the 2 weeks leading up to the 4th. One night I stood outside in front of the crowd that was lighting off fireworks and called the police in front of them and described which of the people in the crowd were actually lighting the fireworks so you could arrest them. Nothing happened. In fact, the crowd laughed and one guy came by on a bike laughing and said "The cops ain't never gonna come! They ain't gonna do nothin!". I went inside because I felt unsafe. We don't need the police to get to know people, we need you guys to arrest people when you have the opportunity, when they are doing something arrest-worthy, before things like this happen. I don't understand how the police weren't prepared for this, it happens EVERY year and our emails each year are proof.

We would love to organize some sort of meeting to have a chance for our voice to be heard so you can understand what our life is like living in an area where we are getting very little police help, and also so we can hear what you (all of you since you patrol, live in, or represent this neighborhood) are planning to do to make this stop.

Pretty soon the people who live in this neighborhood who actually care are going to be driven out. Some already have been. We are considering moving as well. The neighborhood will only continue to go down from there. We stayed out of town on Monday night because we knew this was going to happen- because it does every year. Nothing new. We need police on the street way more often so you know what's going on.

I've said it before and I will say it again. Sergeant Rocheville, you and your team are welcome at any time to come and sit on my floor porch and observe the neighborhood. I guarantee you will see a lot. It's eye opening what people will do when they don't know that you're up there. Please consider it.

I look forward to discussing with all of you.

Harbor Street Resident #1

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harbor Street Resident #1
Date: Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 12:08 PM
Subject: Crime, hatred, and racism alive on Harbor Street: HELP!!

Dear Mayor, Police, Councilor:
I am writing to ask for your help.
I am a resident of Harbor Street. We have lived here for 2 1/2 years. My husband and I are law abiding. We pay taxes. We clean up our neighborhood. We are friendly to our neighbors. However, in the past few months, the following things have happened to us that greatly affect our quality of life:
  • Our new car was damaged. It was keyed down the side, and the runner lights were stolen and the wires cut. Almost $400 worth of damage.
  • We planted flowers in our courtyard- they were promptly stolen 3 days later.
  • Our neighbor was jumped right outside of our house.
  • Two of our neighbor's cars had the tires stabbed out in the same night.
  • Our building was broken into, and someone's property was vandalized.
  • I have seen remnants of fireworks, that are about the size of a coconut, on my car windshield and hood every day for the past 5 days
  • We were told, last night, by a gang of about 30 teens and 20 somethings congregating in front of Mark's market at 43 harbor street, that we "white people" need to "get out of this Spanish neighborhood". That we don't belong here. Also that we are "f*** faggots", and that it's their neighborhood, not ours, and they can do whatever they want here. We were also told to "call the f**** cops" because "they aren't going to do shit to us anyhow" and to "tell the cops we said hi".
We are clearly unwelcome in this area. Last year, we came home from work to find the words "NO CONDO" spray-painted on the side of our building.
What can we do?
Between Thursday and Sunday, it was like a war zone on Harbor street. I did not feel safe coming out of my house, and when we did, we were threatened. My husband and I called the police 4 times this weekend, and I only saw the police actually respond to ONE of my calls. And when they did, nothing changed on the street. This went on until after midnight last night, and started right back up again this morning with fireworks at 4am. In more than one instance, a group of people stood in the middle of the street and stopped traffic while the others lit bottle rockets in the middle of the road and the cars honked, unable to move down the street. Last time I checked, stopping traffic to light bottle rockets in a congested area is not legal.
Last night I called the police in a panic. These people were setting off fireworks in between buildings, right next to cars, near kids- fireworks so powerful that they caused at least 5 car alarms to go off when they exploded. We have BABIES in our condo units. I have dogs who are afraid of fireworks and were cowering in our office, shaking. I understand that you guys must get a lot of complaints about fireworks, but what happens on Harbor street is RIDICULOUS and UNACCEPTABLE. When a police officer finally drove by, I didn't even see anyone get out of the car. I counted- there were over 30 people congregating in front of 43 Harbor street causing trouble. Are you guys as scared of them as we are? What can we do? If you, the police, are not going to protect us, who is?
What has to happen for us to get a prompt response from police? Does another person have to get jumped? Does someone have to be raped or stabbed? I don't understand how it's acceptable for an entire neighborhood of troublemakers, I guarantee most with extensive crime histories, to congregate in one area and disrupt the entire street without being told to break it up? Every time I walk by these people when I am walking to my car, I get a snide sexual remark from them. They are intimidating. Based on their prior behavior, I am sure that at some point they will act on their threats to us and someone is going to be hurt.
What else should we be doing? We have changed the locks on our doors. We have installed a gate (that people ignore). We call the police every time something happens. Do we need to go to the newspaper?
Last night's incident sparked me to write this email, but there are a number of other issues on this street that need to be addressed. If you were to sit on my front porch (and I'm happy to invite you up if you'd like to) for an hour, I guarantee you will see a drug deal. I have witnessed them in front of 15 Harbor street, in front of Mark's market, and in the house next to our buildings. What can we do to stop this? I have also seen fights, people so drugged out or drunk that they cannot stand stumbling down the street, dogs with no collars or leashes running around the neighborhood. One day recently I was walking my dog and saw 2 used condoms on the sidewalk down by 15 Harbor. Classy, Salem.
I would love to know what else we can be doing to be heard, to make this stop. I am becoming afraid to walk down my street. The hatred in our neighborhood is disgusting and unacceptable, but I feel like by doing nothing we are fostering this behavior. And if I try to do something or say something myself, I become a target of their violence. I would be happy to be a more vocal resident of this street, but the Point Neighborhood Association meetings are held at 6pm. Most of the people in our building who want to attend these meetings work in Boston and catch a train home that does not get into Salem until around 6:30 or so, so we can't make it. Can we make the meetings a bit later so everyone can attend?
I am begging for some help here. We should not have to live like this. Please listen to us. Please help us get this neighborhood cleaned up.
Harbor Street Resident #1

It's disturbing to see that these problems have persisted for so long. I'm especially disturbed to see that neighborhood residents would spraypaint "NO CONDO" on the side of a newly redeveloped building. That's the kind of ghetto mentality that is really hard to overcome. When the residents resent people who buy into the neighborhood, and want to improve it, the neighborhood is doomed.

Another Harbor Street resident responded to the above thread, and copied the same officials.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harbor Street Resident #2
Date: Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 2:49 PM
Subject: RE: Crime, hatred, and racism alive on Harbor Street: HELP!!
To: Harbor Street Resident #1,,,,

Thank you for addressing this! It is very true that we feel unsafe in our own homes, walking in our street from the early morning commute because all you see is alcohol bottles and needles of drugs, until the evening coming back where all the screams and drunks yelling is out of control. It feels so unreasonable that these people who have done crimes and created such problems for the community, have given the right to live in the heart of the city so close to the downtown and highly touristic areas. How are they so privileged to live with our tax money and get more of life then any of us who are trying to rebuild this neighborhood and be responsible? Everything around the city seems to be rebuilt, retouched and recycled, how come the Point is still lacking the so much needed development? 

I also hope that there will be some response from the city's officials. We should consider a petition and collect people's vote and signatures for it. 

Thank you,

Harbor Street Resident #2

I think the simple answer to the question posed, "Everything around the city seems to be rebuilt, retouched and recycled, how come the Point is still lacking ...," is would you invest? It appears that anything you try to build up will be torn down by the deadbeats and their enablers.

This problem apparently goes back even further, as this 2006 email shows.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harbor Street Resident #3
Date: Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 2:23 PM
Subject: Again
To:, David Cody <>,,

To whom it may concern,
Below is a forward of an e-mail that I had sent in 2006, the year I moved to Salem. I've written many other e-mails since then, however this was the first. Since that e-mail, none of the issues that I have pointed out have been effectively addressed what-so-ever. I know I am one of many in my neighborhood who consistently call the police concerning fireworks in particular. Fireworks not only cause an excessive amount of disturbance and are dangerous, they are very much illegal in MA. Police have the right to issue citations, confiscate the fireworks and arrest but choose not to. Why? There doesn't seem to be any hesitation with ticketing for a parking violations or anything else. Why is setting off explosives in a residential area acceptable? Not to mention the littering that comes along with it? The police really seem to believe the badge is actually some kind of deterrent in my neighborhood. It's not. It could be, if the laws were actually enforced. Those responsible really think the police are a joke. Every time I call to report the fireworks problems in my neighborhood I've gotten "We'll check into it..." "We're limited and have other priorities..." or my personal favorite, "It's been going on for 20+ years and it ain't gonna stop now"

I couldn't help but notice that the police found themselves in a bit situation this past 4th. So, now maybe we can agree the constant phone calls police have received weren't just exaggerations? I hope that this incident isn't referred to by police as just a "4th of July problem". For those who live in the Point, it's the entire summer. I realize that the police can't just arrest everyone. However, they can ticket and they can confiscate the fireworks. They can at least do something real to enforce the law and send a message. THEN maybe the badge might become an effective deterrent once again. Btw, "community cookouts" don't work either.

I have attached some photos of my street that someone else happened to take this past July 5th.

Harbor Street Resident #3
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harbor Street Resident #3
Date: Wed, Jul 5, 2006 at 7:31 PM
Subject: Harbor Street

Dear Officials of Salem MA,
I am a home owning, taxpaying, law abiding, voting citizen on Harbor Street with major safety concerns for my neighborhood as well complaints about the living conditions.
It sickens me that my Street (Harbor) along with Ward Street seems to be a safe haven and playing field for destructive individuals whom have absolutely no consideration for anyone else that live nearby. The most obvious example of this behavior lately has been the relentless use of explosives at all hours of the night. I use the term "explosives" because "firecrackers" would be an understatement. These aren't just sparklers or small poppers. These are M80s and mortars. If these were to go off  beneath a car or close enough to a home who knows what could happen. I have no idea why such illegal activity is not treated with the same respect as if it were a pipe bomb or any other dangerous explosive device. It is nothing new that during the 4th of July and throughout course of the summer there often will be cases of illegal fireworks. However, last night (4th of July) and all the previous nights/mornings, this summer, have been completely out of hand in "The Point" neighborhood. This activity is so expected but yet nothing is done to prevent it. Every morning I leave for work and walk by all the debris left behind from the night before knowing it will still be there when I return and start up again in the later hours. It's terrible. I can't be the only one who hates living in these conditions. Broken glass and paper cylinders are everywhere. Nearby Derby Street nor any other street in Salem doesn't carry this caliber of destructive behavior and littering. It seems that a blind eye is turned towards Harbor Street and Ward Street. Why is this? Why don't the patrols focus where the problem areas are? What is happening in the McEntire District or Pickering Wharf or any other part of Salem that is taking up the all the time of our officers that basic patrol and follow up does not take place on Harbor Street or Ward Street or Salem Street or any other Street in the "The Point"? These are the problem areas. Is there no noise ordinance at all here? What about curfews? Why are kids allowed run repent at 1am? Or regulations on public alcohol consumption and public drunkenness/ disorderly conduct? Or drug use for that matter? Its all alive and well here on Harbor Street. When random cars pull up and one person hops out, runs inside, then runs back into the car and takes off throughout the day and night…To me it seems a bit suspicious. Bags are hung on all the trees on Harbor Street. Could this be a gang territory sign? May be worth checking into. It just seems a little more than just random littering when every tree is marked with a plastic bag. I've called the police numerous times to report these disturbances. Maybe that isn't the proper way to do something about it. If not, what is? I'm sure I'm not the only person calling in either. A quick drive down Harbor doesn't cut it. In fact the "Riffraff' cheer and laugh when the cruiser drives by. It's a joke to them. They know nothing will happen. The minute the cops pass by, its game on again. I can't help but wonder how certain obvious drug hangouts are never searched nor busted. Motorcycles racing down Harbor Street, then up Ward Street and back down Harbor again, is ever present as well. One of these days someone may be injured or killed. Does something terrible have to happen followed by a "What could have we done to prevent this?" in order for change? I don't think its right to have to just deal with all of these issues on a daily bases. Like many of my neighbors, I've had enough. I realize the tourist spots don't exist on Harbor Street or anywhere within the 'The Point". Does that mean it's not worth cleaning up or protecting? That's the message that folks who work everyday, pay taxes, abide by the laws and actually vote but happen to live in "The Point" are being sent. What can I do to help change all this. I can write more letters if need be. I can keep calling the police. I'm really starting to get discouraged though.
Many Thanks,
Harbor Street Resident #3

If nothing else, it's entirely clear that these hooligans don't fear the police, and don't fear the neighborhood. So how do you solve a problem like this? It's interesting to note that police can't actually arrest someone for fireworks possession. All they can do is confiscate and fine. So get creative. Can they arrest for noise violations? Disturbing the peace? Creating a public nuisance? Littering? Vandalism? Find something.

Lest you think that there was peace between 2006 and 2011, here is an email that Harbor Street Resident #3, above, sent in 2008, with the 2006 email above attached as well.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harbor Street Resident #3
Date: Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 9:43 AM
Subject: 2 years later


Below is an email I sent 2 years ago concerning fireworks and various other problems in my neighborhood, or at least the neighborhood I live in.

The past few days, ESPECIALLY YESTERDAY, have been filled with the noise of fireworks, that not only set off car alarms, cause damage and litter in the process, but scares the hell out of young children & pets as well as increase safety risks. Not to mention show a blatant disregard for any laws surrounding the use of explosives/ fireworks. I'm not talking about little bottle rockets either. Whatever caliber of explosive being used,... M80, quarter stick whatever. It's like a grenade going off. I've called the police many, many times. Same response every time: "OK we'll send someone out." No one ever shows and if they do... they just park somewhere, then drive off. No confrontation or questioning or anything. Occasionally you'll hear something through their PA.

After being fed up enough with the lack of action being taken, I decided to peacefully confront the large group hanging out in front of Marc's Grocery that were setting these explosives off. I asked them if they'd would mind knocking it off. I have two dogs that are freaking out and I know fellow tenants who have babies as well. I would also hate to see one of these guys blow their hand off or something. They asked me who the hell I was and I responded with.."I'm a taxpayer." I also mentioned that I had called the police. With the help of many insulting words I was told that I live in a "Spanish" neighborhood, and because I am not "Spanish" have no right to say anything and that, in so many words, should leave and that I am a list of other things which I won't mention. Just a guess, but I don't believe I was very popular in this situation. They also mentioned that the police will "do nothing" and are pretty much worthless. I walked away as the their aggression increased towards me yet appreciated the fact that we agreed on one thing.

I am not the police. I shouldn't have confront troublemakers because the police won't. Simply parking on the corner of the street and barking through the PA doesn't do anything. Confrontation needs to actually happen. How about questioning them about the complaints or ticketing them?..Confiscate the fireworks? Something? The police have no problem ticketing me if I accidentally park on the wrong side of the road for the supposed "street cleaning" that never really seems to happen. Why can people be ticketed for setting off explosives in the middle of road? At one point traffic was backed-up while a line of roman-candles were going off in the middle of the road. Nothing has changed at all in 2 years.

Thank you,
Harbor Street Resident #3


Note again that the Pointers show a complete lack of fear of being arrested. Why? Because they basically won't be. 300 people in the streets on July 4th, and 4 arrests. Point made.

Finally, a fourth Harbor Street resident confirmed that their tires were slashed in retribution for reporting illegal activities.


From: Harbor Street Resident #4
Date: July 8, 2011 3:36:19 PM EDT
To: Harbor Street Resident #3
Subject: Re: Again

I’ve been on the phone numerous times with the Police.  On the night of the 4th of July (it was insane here) I was threatened by some street thugs.  To make a long story short, they told me that the location of their fireworks stash was reported to police, and that their friend was arrested because he was caught with the stash.  They accused me of tipping off the police and threatened me bodily harm.  I told them I didn’t tell the police anything, but they knew I had been calling the police with noise complaints so they didn’t believe me.  Anyways, the next day my tires were slashed.  I feel totally hapless with the whole situation.  Honestly, I know the police don’t care, and will never care until someone dies or gets seriously hurt.

Harbor Street Resident #4


It's a good question. What will it take for the city/police to care? Will it take a serious injury or death? What about the rest of the Point? When will the rest of the residents in the Point stand up to those who greatly reduce the quality of life for all? Does someone have to die? I certainly hope not, but it wouldn't surprise me.

I feel truly terrible for the hard working people who invested in the Point with the hope that it would be the start, not the end. They're truly stuck in a terrible situation. Solving this problem requires the Point to grow a sense of pride of ownership. How that happens I don't know. The city can't solve it for them, but they could certainly help more. Solving it requires consequences not just from the law, but from a large group of fed up residents. Not sure where this small group cultivates it. As for the city, why isn't there a cruiser permanently station on Harbor Street? That seems to be a hotbed. If you keep officers there, and it moves, move the officers. Why aren't there foot patrols? We're all lucky that nobody died on the fourth this year. Are we really ready to take that chance again next year?



Apparently there IS a tentative deal for the VFW to buy the Ward 2 Social Club for $500,000. Supposedly the potential deal is due to financial problems with the social club. It definitely raises some interesting questions. If the club is sold, what happens to the money? It sounds like there are outstanding bills, but they can't be that big, right? Where does the rest go? Does the board of directors get a cut? Is it true that the board is 90% members of one family? How have things turned so far for the club that was touting its own success in 2008?

What of the VFW building? One commenter suggested that the Hawthorne Cove Marina is interested. Located in such proximity to the boatyard that would make a lot of sense. There is not a lot of indoor space for the marina. The VFW building would allow them to operate it as a function hall or clubhouse. Would they need a liquor license? Not sure how that works for private clubs. If so, I guess the VFW and Ward 2 would both have them, and it sounds like the Ward 2 one would potentially be available.


  1. Well, honestly, WTF do you know about being poor and living in a shitty neighborhood? Maybe people are too scared to say/do anything. If everyone is to blame, that should include your white ass too.

  2. Does G's lily-white ass really have to be dragged into this mess, Anonymous? I would hate to see it despoiled so late in his life!

  3. Wow. The racism. What makes you think I'm white?

    As for being poor, I assure you I've been there. Heck, I'm not far from there now. You don't have to be rich to give a shit. Try it some time.

  4. Here is G's true story, Anonymous:

  5. You are a bad man, Blatty!


Don't forget, keep it klassy!