How will a gambling casino change Taunton?
South Coast crime rate to zoom, Tribe takes town it owned owned
This column recently examined the most dangerous cities in Massachusetts. The SE Massachusetts region represented well, with cities like New Bedford, Brockton and Fall River all scoring high rankings for crime infestation.
The two southeasternmost (I like to invent words for my column now and then) cities in Massachusetts- Barnstable and Plymouth- are actually peaceful places when compared to their South Coast rivals. Plymouth, while having a large population, has a low population density... it's just a very large cowtown with a few business districts. Barnstable is a wealthy town with a small ghetto section that has to scrap to keep up with the crime happening in half-her-size Wareham. We have it fairly good in my reading area.
That South Coast/Cape Cod crime balance is about to tip even more radically as Taunton prepares to get a casino.
If you sell drugs or turn out whores, the Tauton casino will be like a direct monetary stimulus package for you.Taunton is a city of 55,000 souls located on the Taunton River. It was taken from the Wampanoags by means both fair and foul. It once had a prominent enough silver industry that the town is still called Silver City. She's 40 miles south of Boston, 20 miles east of Providence, 10 miles north of Fall River, and 25 miles west of Plymouth. The main ethnic groups are Irish, English, and Portuguese.
She used to be a mill town, but mill towns sort of fell out of favor in the last century. Taunton has modernized their manufacturing base to reflect new technologies, but the rest of the town's economy has been relatively depressed.
They seem to have found a way to revitalize the community, as the former Wampanoag landlords will assert their ancestral rights to build a casino there. They have selected a 53 acre spot in an industrial park, near the Silver City Galleria.
The casino will create a lot of jobs in the community, from construction to blackjack-dealing. Gas stations and other local businesses should prosper as the traffic flowing by them increases massively. Restaurants, bars, liquor stores, convenience stores and the like should be thrilled to see a casino coming.
Property values- which should initially lower as the quality of life in town drops- should bounce back some as formerly unemployed people who would be losing their homes in this rotten economy instead keep their houses, thus taking the bank-sale bargains out of the average home price figures.
heck, even the Mafia will tell you that one of the sure-fire ways to decrease crime in a town is to five the people of that town's good jobs. Most crime is born of desperation, and the employed are less desperate than the poor.
Of course, another group who will be pleased to see the casino arrive will be the local criminal element... the Mafia included.
Taunton already had a high crime rate should go through the roof.
If you sell drugs or turn out whores, , the casino will be like a direct monetary stimulus package for you. Trickle-down economics will work as a brief torrent as local toughs prey on drunken tourists. Those tourists will exact their own revenge as their cars spill out onto the streets after being plied with firewater. Street-fighting, already a specialty of the town, will grow exponentially as tourists come and go. The mob will assert themselves in all facets of the casino's existence, from the construction unions to loan-sharking the gamblers.
Taunton already had a high crime rate before, and this casino should put it through the roof. Taunton has a 109 officer police force, and the casino will tax it mightily... and any increases in the force will tax the citizens mightily. EMT services will be stressed as the hearts of many a blue-hair will be tested by the slot machines. Massive DPW activity will be needed to prepare dismal Taunton for a massive influx of traffic.
Will the benefits of having a casino outweigh the costs? Will Taunton be wantin' in the long run? Only time will tell. Just know that as a rough economy improves, a tough town is about to get much, much tougher. Taunton is, in a funny way, rolling the dice with their future.