It might be the license plate number of a strange car, or the time of day when a stranger arrives for a 30-second visit. For residents, it’s something out of the ordinary. But for police, it’s a key piece of information in an investigation.
It might be the license plate number of a strange car, or the time of day when a stranger arrives for a 30-second visit.
For residents, it’s something out of the ordinary. But for police, it’s a key piece of information in an investigation.
“It could be a piece to a puzzle,” Quincy police Lt. Pat Glynn said. “One extra thing that we were looking for to make something (we received) 10 tips earlier into a case.”
More residents are picking up the phone and telling police when they think something in their neighborhood looks wrong. And it’s leading to arrests.
Residents near Grove Street in Weymouth told police of the frequent visits to George Terrio’s home, leading to his arrest Wednesday on multiple charges, including possession with intent to distribute marijuana, cocaine and Suboxone.
In Quincy, Glynn, who heads the city’s drug unit, cited the arrest earlier this month of three suspected drug dealers in Houghs Neck. That case was bolstered by neighbor tips, followed up by two months of police surveillance.
“We don’t know what goes on in particular neighborhoods,” Glynn said. “Unless they give us a buzz, we don’t know about it sometimes.”
While some tips fizzle out, police would rather have the information than not.
“Something as simple as a license plate, people think it won’t be that important, and it’s like gold,” Weymouth police Lt. Rick Fuller said.
In some communities, tipsters are hard to come by. After a double murder in January, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz looked at the crowd on Nilsson Street in Brockton, asking people to step up and tell what they saw.
“It was frustrating, knowing some of the people in the crowd had the information I needed just as I was talking to them,” he said.
While an anonymous tip won’t hold up in court, witnesses provide key details for prosecutors and police that can lead to surveillance, evidence, warrants and arrests.
“The community is never going to be able to heal unless we get rid of the crime,” Cruz said. “And we can’t get rid of the crime without evidence to prosecute the case.”
Officials are fighting a “no-snitch” attitude, he said. But residents still want to have a safe neighborhood.
“Unless people are willing to take a stand in community, I don’t know when that will come to a resolution,” Cruz said.
Those who do call are taking ownership of their community, Glynn said. Residents are sick of seeing crime, a direct correlation to more drug activity.
“People are frustrated,” Glynn said. “The public’s frustration is our benefit because more people are calling us.”
Reach Patriot Ledger Allison Manning at firstname.lastname@example.org.