By Ron O’Clair
Gerard “Jerry” Michaud was the caretaker of the Notre Dame Des Canadiens Church located at Salem Square for many years, and has lived in my building (700 Main St. – across the street from the former PIP shelter) for a long time, as he says 8 years. He has been unable to get a good night’s rest for so long, he has taken to wearing ear plugs in his sleep.
Jerry lives in the room overlooking “the action and hearing the commotion, 24/7/365 since the WPD has failed to address repeated pleas to halt the anti-social lawless behavior keeping poor “Jerry” awake, I thought I would interview him first. My questions are often long and probing deeply into the ground zero atmosphere of rampant lawlessness, this author’s battle to take the streets back, and the indifference heretofore experienced by a certain segment of the veteran officers of Chief Gary Gemme’s troops who acted knowingly, or inadvertently to help the crime wave prosper by lax enforcement of the little laws such as littering and jaywalking.
The answers are all the opinions of the respondents, in their own words.
Q: What brought you to the area of my concern, the 700 block of Main Street?
A: Upon leaving my last address I had to find a p lace closer to my work.
Q: Did you have reservations about moving into a rooming house located in one of the highest crime areas of the city of Worcester?
A: At the time I didn’t know much about the area, or its going ons.
Q: Was I influential in your decision to move into the building?
A: Yes, you were, it seemed to be a good and safe place to live, and also a close place for my A.A. meetings held next door at Unity Hall on the 4th floor of the SMOC building that used to house the P.I.P. shelter.
Q: So, my clean and sober living requirement appealed to you?
A: Yes, it did.
Q: You’ve noticed quite a lot of criminal trespass, disturbance of the peace, assaultive behaviors, littering & loitering of our sidewalks in the past haven’t you?
A: Yes, in 8 ? years I’ve been here, crime and drug activities seemed to have risen.
Q: Do you feel safe walking around the neighborhood – in the daylight? In the nighttime? How safe do you feel outside overall?
A: In the daylight I feel safe, but at night, I’ve been leery and very cautious, as I was once accosted near the Registry of Motor Vehicles on Main Street, at night.
Q: With all the security measures I have in place, and my own ability to handle what happens, as it happens, do you feel safe inside the building?
A: I feel safe in the building, since security measures have been implemented, this includes screening of all incoming tenants, and the “No visitor’s policy”
Q: As your building superintendent, have I done everything possible to provide you with a safe, secure, and comfortable place to reside? And do you feel safe with the “super” being on site 24/7/365?
A: Yes, you have since you involved the police with constant security watch.
Q: What do you think of my “shock and awe” campaign put into effect since the 30th day of July, and the resultant drop in the amount of criminal activity not being allowed by me to continue unabated? By my own efforts to not be intimidated by criminal minded citizens who have come to believe that this area is “their” turf, and they have every right to disturb the peace every night, deal drugs from the corners of Charlton & Wellington Streets, and generally think they are above the law?
A: Your campaign has had an impact on safety around here, especially in drug dealing – however, there is still prostituting going on daily. Your methods; with cooperation with police, has had a great change of scenery at 707 Main Street and the area of Charlton and Wellington streets.