It was a loaded handgun discovered in the bushes by a toddler that pushed several Beachmont neighbors over the edge and sparked them into action.
Eileen Mundis and several neighborhood friends on the marsh side of Beachmont were enjoying a nice Fourth of July about a year ago when the fruits of increasing crime in their neighborhood nearly gave them a tragic harvest.
“My husband was playing ball with our three-year old out in the yard when the three-year-old found a loaded handgun in my bushes,” said Mundis. “Someone stashed a loaded handgun right outside my house. My three-year-old found it – moved the bushes to get his ball and there it was. It’s things like that. If one of our boys had picked it up and decided to play with it, it could have been a disaster. Thank goodness my husband was there. That’s when I really started thinking about this.”
Now Mundis and her neighbor, Jamie Ferrell, have collaborated their efforts and are pushing to start a neighborhood watch program in Beachmont that they hope will be the model for a citywide effort.
They said they’re tired of seeing brazen drug deals, dumped cars and violent crime coming further into the neighborhoods from Beachmont Square.
“We want to take back the community,” said Mundis. “I’m tired of seeing drug deals at the end of the street, dumped cars and people’s cars getting broken into. If people learn Beachmont is going to step up to this stuff, maybe these criminals will stop trying to do this stuff here. Now, they feel they can come to Pearl Avenue, do whatever and book it to Winthrop. We want to stop that. We don’t want them coming in.”
Said Ferrell, “One neighbor told us she is catching drug dealings in the daylight – taking down their license plates and they don’t even care. They’re brazen. We’re putting the message out there that we’re not going to let our neighborhood be taken over.”
The group points to a series of armed robberies in and around Beachmont Square over the last few months, as well as frequent drug deals that have been ongoing for some time.
So far Mundis and Farrell have been making the rounds to neighborhood events and going door-to-door to sign up Beachmont residents.
They said that they’re interested in people who want to be active and people who just want to be informed and keep a watchful eye.
Today, April 7, they will have their first organizational meeting at the Revere Police Station Community Room at 7 p.m. However, they plan much more activity in the coming months as well.
Already, there are more than 40 people on board with the upstart organization.
“The word is out there that we’re wanting to get this started,” said Mundis. “We’d love people to come to our meetings regularly, but your not going to be excluded if you can’t make meetings. We will keep people up to date and send out e-mails about things that are happening.”
Farrell said you don’t necessarily need to be really active to be active in a neighborhood watch.
“We’re not looking for people to be out confronting people doing something wrong,” said Farrell. “It’s just keeping you eyes open and having somewhere to go if you have an issue. You can be involved and not know you’re involved. If you see a suspicious car and write down the license plate number, you might hear that your neighbor got robbed and that plate number might be useful.”
Police Chief Terence Reardon is fully behind the effort and has assigned Officer Gerard Salvati to be a contact for the group.
“This is a tight-knit neighborhood and we all like to watch out for each other,” said Farrell. “That’s the kind of place this is and we want it to be. It’s not the kind of place where you can kick in a neighbor’s door and no one says anything about it.”
Any resident or business from anywhere in the city interested in a crime watch is encouraged to attend the April 7th meeting. Those interested can also call Mundis at (781) 286-7654 or Farrell at (781) 289-7088.
Those interested can e-mail organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org