ADT Somerville, Massachusetts

Somerville, Massachusetts: A City Reborn
When it comes to large urban areas, often the convenience of living within walking distance of stores, restaurants, schools, public transit, and entertainment come with the trade off of tolerating higher crime rates and decreased public safety. Somerville, Massachusetts is certainly an exception to this rule. Located just two miles to the northwest of downtown Boston, it is ideally situated for workers commuting to the city, and college students attending one of the surrounding area’s many prestigious institutions. What sets Somerville apart from other cities of its size is its remarkable revitalization in recent decades. Established as a main transit hub and industrial center, it was incorporated in 1872, and immediately drew in a growing community. By World War II, it had reached its peak population of almost 106,000 residents. During the middle of the last century, the city experienced the same sort of post-industrial decline that has been commonly noted around the country in large cities. This led, unsurprisingly, to growing rates of poverty and unemployment, coupled with depopulation, that lasted well into the 1980s. It is only in recent years that Somerville began to see residents, businesses, and stores begin to move back into the area and thrive. Its remarkably quick turn-around can be attributed in part to the tech boom of the ’90s. Many of Somerville’s current residents work nearby in Cambridge, or commute to the city using the T. As jobs became more available, the housing market began to skyrocket. This pushed out many of the city’s historically diverse blue-collar residents, and led to a housing market in which well over 90% of residents are employed in white-collar jobs, making well above-average salaries. As median income began to rise and an influx of students and professionals decided to relocate, crime levels dropped to impressive lows. Currently the city, which had been plagued by gangs and associated violence and drug problems, is known as one of the best-run cities in the state. It has received the All-American City Award twice in the past decade. Residents love its focus on education and the arts, its frequent farmer’s markets and small-business initiatives, and its colorful history. It is a place that they feel safe and comfortable calling home. Newcomers should not, however, be lulled into a false sense of security. Although it is one of the safer cities of its size across the country, crime rates have not dropped off to zero. As with many cities in the area and across the nation, there has been a recent increase in the number of drug-related offenses, and deaths, in the city. In 2015 6 people died due to fatal drug overdose. These and non-fatal incidents were concentrated primarily in the areas around Union Square and Davis Square, as well as the Lower Broadway neighborhood. Despite the city’s agreement to join forces with neighboring cities of Cambridge, Everett, and Watertown to form the Massachusetts Opioid Addiction and prevention Collaborative, the problem continues to grow. It’s important to note that drug addiction does not discriminate. Most people tend to think of young men when they imagine heroin addicts, or dealers. Less than two months ago, however, police arrested two unlikely suspects: a 59 year old man and a 30 year old woman were both charged with heroin trafficking, although a search of their apartment also turned up other illicit substances. Unfortunately this trend may be problematic for law-abiding citizens in addition to those suffering from addictions to illicit substances. Heroin addicts are statistically significantly more likely to engage in criminal activities than those who do not engage in illegal drug use. It is important that residents engage in safe home security practices, such as ensuring that all doors and windows are locked while no one is at home, and helping to keep an eye out for suspicious activities in the area. Somerville residents’ community involvement is one factor helping to keep crime rates low. Several neighborhoods, primarily in the eastern areas of the city, have active Neighborhood Watch programs, giving residents an easy way to collaborate with authorities in encouraging community safety. Those that do not have the benefit of an organized Neighborhood Watch may want to look into establishing one themselves. Others prefer to simply encourage accountability through developing healthy and helpful relationships with their immediate neighbors. Some residents, however, don’t have the luxury of spending their limited free time on meeting new neighbors and constantly evaluating the safety of their properties. They commute to jobs in the city, and often do not return home from work until late at night. Given that most burglaries occur during the day-time when inhabitants are not home, long hours and lack of communication with neighbors can be cause for concern. In those circumstances, it’s a great idea to have a home security alarm system installed. A comprehensive system with security cameras, motion sensors, and all the bells and whistles may seem like over-kill, but having at least a monitored alarm can be as good, or better, of a deterrent to crime than nosy neighbors. Police response times in the city are typically quite low, which helps to increase the effectiveness of monitored home security alarms. Constant advances in the field of home security technology make installing alarms a simple and cost-effective solution. A wide variety of national security companies provide services within city limits, including SafeStreets USA, and ADT Security Services, LLC, although they do not have local offices. When deciding what level of home security is really necessary, it’s important to compare costs and potential benefits. Those who own a lot of valuables often find that it is worth spending the extra money to ensure that they are well-protected, while those who opt for keeping their valuables in a safe-deposit box rather than in the home may find that just a basic alarm will do. Ultimately it’s a matter of personal choice.