May 1, 2012
SOUTH BOSTON, Mass. — At a packed community meeting Monday night, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis promised South Boston that in the wake of Barbara Coyne’s murder 2 weeks ago, things would get better.
“This tragic event, this terrible homicide, will be a turning point in the issue of drug abuse here in the neighborhood,” Davis vowed at Southie’s Tynan Elementary School.
Coyne, 67, was allegedly killed by Timothy Kostka, a fellow South Boston resident. Prosecutors say he planned to steal fishing equipment from Coyne’s home, then sell it for money to purchase heroin. When he was surprised by Coyne’s presence, prosecutors add, he fatally stabbed her.
“Your own neighbors’ kids”
The BPD plans to ratchet up its presence on South Boston’s streets to encourage anonymous tipsters and to warn local drug dealers that they’re being watched. But some in Southie said the neighborhood needed an attitude change, too.
“Get your head out of the sand, because it’s not the outsiders doing it.” one man urged the crowd at Tynan Elementary. “It’s your own neighbors’ kids.”
Illegal but out in the open
On Tuesday, outside Mul’s Diner on West Broadway, people said Southie’s drug problem was real — and only getting worse.
“When I was growing up I wasn’t exposed to all that,” said neighbor Katie Jenner. “Like, I couldn’t go buy weed off a 12-year-old like you could now, you know what I mean?"
Another South Boston resident who asked that her name not be used said she lived in Charlestown and the North End for 14 years before moving to the neighborhood. “There’s so much more [drug use] here. You see heroin addicts over there at the Broadway T stop daily.”
“Three of my four children have been in and out of drug rehab for years,” said Paul Brack, a Southie native who now lives in Dorchester. “And I don’t think that the rehabs are getting enough help. They cut the funding, they put them in for three days …. The spin-dry thing is not working.”
Perhaps the BPD’s new focus on Southie will help. But given how entrenched Southie’s drug problem is, it may not be enough.