The cost of policing the Occupy Boston encampment in Dewey Square is starting to worry some local officials:
City Council President Steve Murphy, who chairs the councilís Public Safety Committee, said a multimillion-dollar overtime tab could be a devastating blow as the city struggles with its fragile bottom line.
ďItís a lot of money, and youíve got a tough economy for the city to deal with,Ē Murphy said. ďWe just canít let this thing continue and have it potentially break the backs of the public treasury here in the city of Boston. Weíve been adversely impacted by the downturn in the economy as well.Ē
Murphy said top Boston Police Department brass estimate the OT bill for the protests could come in at up to $2 million if demonstrators continue to live in the tent city on Dewey Square through Oct. 31. BPD spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said the department had no official estimates yet of the overtime cost. She also said itís too early to know what impact the protests will have on the BPDís tight budget.
What's odd about this two million dollar figure is that it's identical to the number New York City is throwing around. I am surprised that the New York number is so low and the Boston number so high. At the Occupy Wall Street events a large police presence has clashed frequently with the protesters while in Boston there has been just one instance of a large police action.
If the cost for these protests pans out as projected it would place the Occupy Boston "event" in the same neighborhood as some of the major sporting events the city has hosted in the last decade. The 2008 Celtics parade alone cost $380,000 to police. The estimated cost of just the 2004 Red Sox parade was over $750,000, though much of the cost was picked up by private business in exchange for sponsorship opportunities. The 2007 Red Sox World Series run cost the city approximately $1.5 million, only $684,516 of that was covered by the Red Sox and private business, leaving the city on the hook for $815,484.
Watch for cost concerns to be a talking point against these protests as they continue.
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