Improving Public Safety in Massachusetts

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In light of the President’s recent press conference on national security and last year’s incidents of hate in our district and Massachusetts, I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss a new pilot program I and Senator Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) got into the 2018 budget for nonprofit organizations at high risk of a terrorist attack.

The Target Hardening Amendment supports vulnerable nonprofit institutions like community centers, museums, Jewish daycare centers, churches and more with funds for upgrades like cameras, security training, and bulletproof glass. Physical security enhancements like these were previously only available to select organizations in designated urban areas through a Federal program from the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. My and Senator Creem’s initiative will see $75,000 in funds for Massachusetts communities that are ineligible for the federal grant, such as Marblehead, Swampscott and Lynn. Residents in every community deserve protection.

We filed this amendment in response to the past year’s surge in hate crimes in Massachusetts and across the country. From the vandalization of the Holocaust Memorial and menacing letters sent to a Wayland mosque, to bomb threats at Jewish day care centers and Nazi symbols on the Marblehead Causeway, it was abundantly clear that we in Massachusetts needed to take tough, decisive action. I am so proud of how we came together at the Rally Against Hate, and I'm looking forward to seeing this program implemented swiftly.

We cannot allow innocent lives to continue to be threatened with hate-filled violence without taking action. Terrorism of any kind aims to destroy our most cherished values – our liberties, our freedom of religion, our freedom to assemble. This measure will go a long way to protecting those virtues and improving public safety in our community.

Preyel Patel