It is crazy how some folks find fault with police officers living in public housing. Citizens for Juvenile Justice cited this as one problem with policing in New Bedford. The group forgets the idea is a child of the Clinton Administration's Community Policing program from 1992, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It works.

Police officers residing in public housing units – there are eight currently in New Bedford – can provide a sense of security and stability in what is often a high-crime area. The neighbors get to know the officers, and a trust can develop whereby residents can become confident enough to provide crime-fighting intelligence to the officers.

A constant police presence can also be a deterrent to criminals who might otherwise feel comfortable practicing their craft there. The only people who logically would oppose a police presence in public housing might be those criminals.

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Citizens for Juvenile Justice claims police officers are living "virtually rent-free" in public housing units, units that should be reserved for those in need. The group says by living in public housing, police can "over-police" certain neighborhoods by allowing officers to unfairly surveil youth who reside there.

I'm not sure I am buying any of this, and I am equally unsure why a group that claims to have the best interest of young minorities at heart would want to make their neighborhoods more dangerous. The idea that police are bad and pose a risk to young minorities is a myth perpetuated by people with a political agenda.

Sell it somewhere else because we aren't buying it here.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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