Thin blue line a little thicker; Neighborhoods process trauma.


Byline: Scott J. Croteau

The following correction was published in the Telegram & Gazette on May 18, 2012:

Worcester Police Officers John C. Baizley and John P. Murray were shown in a photo on the front page of yesterday's Telegram & Gazette walking toward a tactical response area. Because of a photographer's error, the officers' names were transposed in the caption.


WORCESTER - People walked dogs and jogged yesterday in the muggy mid-afternoon air, while children played at the Midland Street School playground, their voices echoing off a nearby building.

It was the kind of normal, everyday serenity that residents are used to in the Lovell Street and Newton Avenue neighborhoods.

But the calm and sense of security were helped, in part, by a heightened police presence that has been part of the neighborhoods - less than a mile apart - since two fatal weekend attacks. Both neighborhoods have been designated by the Police Department as tactical response areas.

The designation brings added patrols - both cruisers and foot-beat officers. Traffic Division officers also play a role, checking for speeding and other infractions, while members of the Anti-Crime Team keep a close watch on the areas at night.

"From residents, we hear they like to see the increased presence and the police officers walking around," Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said. "When you have a shooting or a homicide, it is traumatic for the neighborhood. Part of our strategy is to be in the community where these incidents take place, for multiple reasons."

Patrick Logan was at Newton Square Pizza yesterday, looking over renovations for the business he plans to open soon. He looked across the rotary toward the scene where 25-year-old Nestor Ramirez was fatally shot inside an apartment at 5 Newton Ave.

That kind of violence is rare for this area, Mr. Logan said.

"There are a lot of people walking around here, people walking their dogs, it is really nice down here," Mr. Logan said. "At the same time, you are going to get nervous because it is something serious, then at the same time, you kind of have to remember it is rare around here and it is nice down here overall. It is really too bad something like that had to happen."

On Lovell Street, 21-year-old Kayla Maxwell walked her dog. She lives a couple of doors from the three-family home at 326 Lovell St., where 32-year-old Javier Maldonado was killed, and his wife and an 18-year-old woman attacked so severely...

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