Friday, August 19, 2005

Your Weekend Reading Assignment

Your homework assignment for the weekend is to read this article by David Bernstein of The Boston Phoenix. Yes, that Boston Phoenix.

For years, Boston has been one of the least successful cities in the US at catching and prosecuting murderers, and it's only getting worse.


Simply put, the BPD's homicide unit has the worst track record of any big-city police department in the country.

At the same time, Boston's homicide rate continues to rise, in sharp contrast with the trend in other US cities. Nationally, the murder rate is at its lowest in decades and still dropping. But Boston is on track for its highest murder tally since the early 1990s - even though its population has shrunk. Boston had an official total of 225 homicides between 2001 and 2004 - an increase of more than 50 percent from the previous four years. No other US city experienced anything similar.

Thus, the Menino Legacy grows.

But, hey, I know I'll be sleeping more soundly tonight knowing the BPD has all the necessary resources to pull off this latest crime-fighting initiative.

BOSTON - While fans are rocking to the Rolling Stones inside Fenway Park, police officers armed with noise meters will be positioned outside the ballpark Sunday night.

If the noise surpasses 70 decibels on the surrounding streets, Patricia Malone, director of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing, will be alerted, and she will tell concert host Clear Channel to turn it down.

Now, to give you an idea of what 70 decibels sounds like:

80 dB = Noisy office, electric shaver, alarm clock, police whistle

70 dB = Average radio, normal street noise

60 dB = Conversational speech

Note: Fenway Park is located approximately 200 feet from the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The streets immediately surrounding the ballpark will be swarming with idling media trucks, TV news crews doing their "live" remotes for the evening news (and those NEVER generate screaming mobs of drunken wahoos in the background), hordes of people milling about looking for tickets to the show or just coming down to the area to listen to the music from the sidewalk, and of course, the endless cries of "Sausages! Get your fresh hot sausages hee-ah!"

That ridiculous 70-decibel limit doesn't stand a chance. And it will have very little to do with the noise coming from inside the ballpark.