Occupy Boston keeping peace with internal security

Occupy Boston has created its own security team. Each wears a yellow reflective vest with Occupy Boston spray painted on the back.

Up and down the makeshift sidewalks inside Tent City Square, muffled voices come through the walkie-talkies attached to people wearing neon-colored vests.

These are the members of the Safety Team — the policing patrol within Occupy Boston’s encampment.

On the heels of an incident last Sunday night, when a heroin addict allegedly pulled a knife on protesters and urinated on a tent, the eight-person security team has been trying to keep the makeshift community more safe.

“[The issue of homelessness] and crime here is no different than it is in society in general,” said Devon Pendleton, a protester. “Our safety team is designed to handle internal conflicts.”

Armed with two-way radios, the amateur guards scour the premises, settling arguments and issues within the camp.

One guard donning a neon vest, who declined to give his name, said they are trying to keep the peace by “rounding up junkies and trying to kick them out,” adding that the so-called junkies have continually been a problem.

He said Wednesday night a homeless man allegedly sexually harassed a woman posted at the information tent on Dewey Square.

The team told him to leave camp Thursday morning, he said.

“People wander in here high and drunk and try and get in tents,” said the security member.
But Oliver, 25, said the guards make sure people are safe.

“You’re always going to have drunk a—holes, wherever you go,” he said. “The safety team is pretty efficient. It’s not like this is a junkie haven.”

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.


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