Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

BOSTON LAW ENFORCEMENT CONDUCT CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS TO SOLVE FUTURE POTENTIAL CRIMES

I’ll bet you thought the police had enough to do with solving Massachusetts crimes concerning violence, guns, drugs and the like. Sometimes, when conducting these criminal investigations, the police go undercover to ferret out the “bad guys”. They are out to solve crimes that actually take place.

At least, that is how this Boston criminal lawyer had always heard it to be. It turns out I was wrong.

It turns out that law enforcement must have more time, energy and resources on their hands than I thought they did.

Now, they seek to conduct criminal investigations in venues where there have not been crimes.

Let’s take the Boston Police Department, for example. They have apparently gotten frustrated with laying back, waiting for crimes to take place at parties. Granted, most parties do not bring about such concerns, but we all know that some do. Well, the Boston police have decided that instead of laying back in wait to deal with the crimes as they take place…they are going to be proactive.

Law enforcement are now investigating parties and such events even before they happen. They are using social media, as well as old-fashioned walking beats, to find huge after-hours parties before they happen in an effort to tamp down summer violence.

“It’s about trying to be proactive,” explains Bureau of Field Services Superintendent William Evans. “If we find out about a party, we’re going to visit that house ahead of time. If they have a DJ, they need an entertainment license. If they’re going to serve alcohol, they need a liquor license.”

Evans said police are spotting upcoming parties online, as well as on fliers posted in storefronts or stapled to utility poles.

After all, as he points out, large, late-night parties can spiral out of control and can lead to violence.

Part of the rationale are certain recent calculations. For example, Boston shootings are up this year, with 120 as of June 25, compared with 98 at the same time last year. Further, police have arrested more people on gun charges, with 202 taken into custody so far, compared with 153 last year.

Evans tells a story about a house in Hyde Park last week. 600 people had gathered. Because of the number of people peaceably assembled at the house, apparently police citywide were called in for crowd control.

No word of any crimes having been committed therein by the way.

Still, Evans says that “Whether it’s in South Boston or Jamaica Plain, we want to stay on top of parties that can get out of control”. He adds that police also are keeping an eye on bars and restaurants.

There was apparently an out-of-control crowd outside The Stadium bar last week. While we have no idea what made it “out of control”, we do know that it prompted a massive police response. In fact, officers from the drug and gang units as well as extra patrols were called in.

Perhaps this is why I could not be a police officer. I look at these numbers and think, “Gee, the police must already be pretty busy”. But then again, math and I do not get along so well.

Evans does explain, though, “That [such events] ties up resources across the city.”
Police are urging neighbors to call the party hotline at 617-343-5500 or call 911.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Law Enforcement And The Right To Party

Frankly, I do not understand why the police don’t go further with this. We have covered stories about homicides actually happening at religious services. Bar Mitzvahs for example. And, let’s face it, some of those Bar Mitzvahs are like weddings! Lots of people! Why not line the service with police officers? In fact, weddings must count as parties. Plus, some marriages end up having some kind of domestic violence. Why not start the union out right…with armed police officers on either side of the bride and groom throughout the service and reception?

“So, what’s the point, Sam?”

Two points. One is my own opinion which I think I have made pretty clear. The other, more important point, is what this means to you.

I find that many people still think that if they go about their business and do not look for trouble then they are not likely to be under the scrutiny of law enforcement.

Those days, however, are over.

Most people who either give or attend parties, restaurants and clubs are not out looking for crimes to commit. However, in the guise of crime prevention, law enforcement is making it clear that officers will be on the scene looking for would-be trouble-makers.

And who is it who looks into the shiny blue crystal ball to determine who may be likely to commit a crime?

Law enforcement.

And…word to the wise…they seldom change their minds.

So be careful out there…and aware. Although you have been told that you have certain rights in this country to peaceably assemble and congregate armed with the freedom of speech…don’t assume that the police officers on the scene define those rights the same way you do. And when those officers come to tell you that they are about to limit your access for those alleged rights, you have a choice.

Choice One: Go along with it and forgo the exercising of said rights for the time being; or
Choice Two: Insist upon our rights and likely face criminal charges.

“That doesn’t seem right to me, Sam”.

Me either.

If you would like to see the original story upon this blog is based, please go to
http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/07/boston_cops_crack_down_on_after_hours_parties

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