Boston Police told Chinatown residents and business owners that they will soon be assigning six officers to Chinatown between 2 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. - two to keep guard over the Chinatown Gate and four on bicycles to patrol the neighborhood as bars in nearby areas let out and people pour into Chinatown for food.
In a Zoom meeting called by the Chinatown Neighborhood Council, BPD District A-1 Captain Robert Ciccolo said he was already working on plans to bolster security in the early morning in Chinatown when two men were beaten and shot on Beach Street around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday - the fourth early morning shooting incident in the neighborhood this year.
In addition to the extra officers, Ciccolo said he will try to have an officer monitor security cameras in Chinatown during what he called the "witching hour" and will use a video board at Tyler and Harrison to alert would be trouble makers that there are cameras all over keeping an eye on them. He added that he also plans to work with the licensing board to educate Chinatown restaurant owners about the necessity to cut people off when they've had enough to drink and to call police at the first sign of trouble - two of the incidents this year, he said, started as arguments inside restaurants that might have been quelled had participants seen police arriving.
Meanwhile, two men pulled from a rolled over, flaming minivan in Sullivan Square after the Sunday shootings were ordered held without bail until at least a dangerousness hearing on Friday for the shootings, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
Bunton Mickey Ven, 23, of Lowell and Alexio Carmello Marquez, 24, of Beverly - initially listed as a Florida man - were charged with beating their two victims, then shooting them around 2:30 a.m. at Beach and Hudson streets, prosecutors charge.
Ciccolo said the fight grew out of a dispute between two groups of young men, one mainly from the Lowell area, the other from the Dorchester/Quincy area.
He said these are two common denominator in all the violent incidents this year - the suspects are young men who are not only not from Chinatown, they are often not even from Boston.
"They are coming to get something to eat after leaving bars," in nearby areas, he said.
Theresa Tsoi, co-president of the Chinatown Business Association, said Chinatown restaurants, still nowhere near their pre-pandemic business levels, are now losing even more business as news of the attacks spread. She said restaurant professionals from other parts of the city who would typically head to Chinatown after they close up for a bite to eat "are not coming to Chinatown anymore. not until they see Chinatown is safe."
Chinatown resident Susan Chu, however, said that people need to be careful not to give into hysteria. Chinatown on the whole remains safe, she said, and police have to go out of their way to assure restaurant owners they will not get in trouble if they call 911.
Other residents said that people who may not speak English well, or at all, would have trouble communicating with 911. One Edinboro Street property manager said that when some of her tenants have a problem that needs a police response, they call her, but that when she then calls 911, she's dismissed because she's not right at the scene.
City Council President Ed Flynn, whose district includes Chinatown, said the neighborhood simply needs more police - and that BPD needs more Chinese-speaking officers.
"We do desperately need more police presence in Chinatown," he said.
Ciccollo said he already has two Chinese-speaking officers assigned to Chinatown on the shift that ends at midnight and that BPD currently has a new officer who also speaks Chinese.
But he also asked residents for help. "This is not ever going to be something police can do alone," they need the "active participation" of residents and business owners, he said.
In addition to immediately adding more officers in the early morning, Ciccolo said that, in the long term, if residents are interested, BPD could look at extending its ShotSpotter system, which uses sensors to detect the sound of gunfire, to Chinatown.