Empty heroin bags litter the streets.
Parents do not feel safe letting their children outside to play, even in broad daylight.
Residents are hesitant to walk outside alone after dark.
A steady stream of vehicles cruise the streets 24 hours a day to make drug deals.
Older residents are becoming scared to live alone.
SWAT teams occasionally visit to conduct a drug bust.
Sounds like a typical hardscrabble inner-city neighborhood in Detroit, Chicago, or even Boston.
It is not. It is actually happening in a Mashpee neighborhood tucked away between Route 151 and Johns Pond. Specifically, in the area of year-round and seasonal homes—some well-kept, some not—bordered by Ninigret Avenue and Algonquin Avenue.
Many Mashpee residents refer to the neighborhood only as the area “behind Dino’s,” a popular sports bar and restaurant on Route 151.
Among the higher profile crimes in the area in recent years include a drug-related shooting on Ninigret Avenue, and a search of a Metacom Road home after the owner was arrested in Falmouth after police found her to be in possession of 235 Percocet pills, nine grams of marijuana, and $10,000 in cash. In June 2013, the same Metacom Road home was also the scene of an incident after a man fled there with five people after brandishing a firearm at Dino’s. Mashpee police apprehended the suspect, along with a Smith & Wesson .22-caliber handgun and a significant quantity of heroin hidden in a window well behind an outdoor shower at the home.
This year, there has already been a heroin bust, involving the Massachusetts State Police Drug Task Force, on Mohawk Road; a rape and assault at a Huron Avenue home; and one-hour standoff with police at an Algonquin Avenue address, after a resident of the home, a male juvenile, fled there after an armed robbery of a drapery shop next to Dino’s on Route 151.
Earlier this week, on a nearly perfect summer evening with a placid Johns Pond as a distant backdrop, a group of neighbors described how they are constantly living in a state of fear due to the criminal activity that has, in effect, been holding the community hostage.
The neighbors all requested anonymity, fearing retribution from the inhabitants of what they say are four or five trouble houses located within a short distance of their homes. Residents who have complained about the illegal activity and drug dealing in the past have suffered property damage, and have even received verbal death threats.
While all of the neighbors praised the Mashpee Police Department for its efforts to stem the tide of drug activity in the area, they did express concern for a court system that in some cases has placed arrested drug dealers back on the local streets within a day.
The neighbors described a bold scene on nearby streets where hand-to-hand drug sales begin as early as 5 AM, even during snowstorms, with one man describing the area as being like an “all night Dunkin’ Donuts."
Neighbors are also upset about the screaming, foul language, and bloody fights that often move from the trouble houses and onto the street. A parent in the group said that her young daughter has often asked what certain drug terms mean, and that the 7-year-old makes sure that the doors and windows are locked in her house before she goes to bed at night.
“It’s an awful thing that’s happening with opiate addiction,” one neighbor said with a tone of compassion, noting that some of the drug buyers look very “clean cut,” while at the same time wondering if people entering the neighborhood to purchase drugs are “casing out” other houses as potential robbery targets.
“I can’t even let my children walk the dog around the block alone,” one concerned parent added.
The situation has even affected summer rental properties on the south side of Johns Pond. According to one neighbor, a family renting a waterfront home for a summer vacation left early due to the drug activity and bad behavior, and asked the owner to return the money they had spent to rent the cottage.
“If things don’t change soon, we’ll have to sell our house and move,” one woman said, fearing for her family’s safety.
Mashpee Police Chief Rodney C. Collins declined to comment about ongoing investigations in the neighborhood, but did acknowledge the concerns of local residents.
“If there is a serious problem of this magnitude, we are generally aware of it. And in this case we certainly are. It is fair to say that we deploy our patrols in targeted areas of concern,” Chief Collins said.