The subway shooting in Sunset Park that injured over 20 people was the biggest thing that happened in Brooklyn this week. Thankfully, no one died, and the shooter was apprehended the next day. But yesterday, just around 5:30 pm, there was another shooting, this time just outside the Atlantic Avenue Barclays Center station, where a teen got shot. What lessons do we take away from it all?
While Mayor Adams keeps blaming everyone else for the shootings, saying it's a national problem, his only real campaign promise was that he'd deal with the increase in crime that Mayor Bill de Blasio frequently blamed on the pandemic. But despite Adams's rhetoric and traditional approach to policing, crime is not going down in the city.
While murders are down, major crimes have risen 42% since he took office three months ago, compared to last year, which was already higher than the year before.
Major crimes were also up in Brooklyn, which is split between Brooklyn North and South. Almost a third of all murders in the city took place in Brooklyn this year, concentrated in a handful of districts.
While major crimes were up by 32% in Brooklyn North, and more total crimes were reported, murders were down by almost a half compared to the previous year and the year before. Murders were reported in Precinct 75 (4, down 40%), Precinct 73 (2, down 60%), Precinct 77 (2, same), Precinct 79 (1, down 70%), Precinct 81 (3, up 50%), and Precinct 83 (1, same). Since murders may be the only statistic hard to fudge, Brooklyn North is doing something right.
Brooklyn South seems to be another story. Major crimes are up 49% in Brooklyn South, with murders up 27% year on year and 68% higher than two years ago. Hate crimes have doubled.
Most of the murders in Brooklyn South were in central Brooklyn - Precinct 67 (East Flatbush, 7 murders, up 250%), Precinct 71 (PLG/Crown Heights, 3, up 50%), and Precinct 62 (Bensonhurst, 3, up from none). Precincts 68 and 76 each reported one murder, and Precincts 78 and 69 each reported two.
In March, after the crime was up 59% year on year in February, NYPD boasted that "the new Neighborhood Safety Teams will further enhance the NYPD’s efforts to stop the proliferation of illegal guns, stifle gang activity, and suppress the violence caused by these unlawful actions. The deployment of these specially trained officers and supervisors will augment the ongoing work of patrolling the city’s streets, subways, and public housing developments, 24-hours per day."
The March report showed a 36.5% increase in major crimes, despite the deployment mid-March of 218 of the more than 400 officers headed for the NYPD’s new Neighborhood Safety Teams, Mayor Adams's version of the infamous plainclothes anti-crime units, to focus on reducing gun violence. In the two weeks the officers were deployed, including to Brooklyn's 69th Precinct, they made 121 arrests, including 25 for gun possession in the 30 precincts and four Police Service Areas that accounted for 80% of the city’s shooting incidents in 2021, cops informed. Except, as City and State first reported, most of the arrests were for non-violent crimes such as drug possession and driving with a suspended license.
The subway incident points to a "public safety network with clear gaps," the New York Times reported. William Bratton, the city’s former police commissioner under Mr. Giuliani and Bill de Blasio, told the paper that it's only been three months, but that if Adams “doesn’t start to show progress by July, and particularly if crime keeps going up month after month, then he owns it.”
Will more policing mean smarter policing? Maya Wiley argues that we need the latter.
Big news today from the Mayor on expanding the Gifted & Talented programs across the city. For the 2022-23 school year, the education department plans to add 1,000 new seats across the city for gifted programs launching in third grade, as well as add 100 seats in kindergarten “gifted and talented” classrooms, Chalkbeat's Christina Veiga reports.
"Admission in kindergarten will continue to be based on teacher recommendations — a change that began during the pandemic — in lieu of admission based solely on a test administered to preschoolers. Education department officials said the shift has resulted in a more diverse group of incoming kindergarteners this year, but have not responded to numerous requests for demographic information.
"In third grade, the top 10% of students in each school will be invited to apply, based on grades in four core subject areas. Currently, third-grade programs rely on teacher recommendations and other factors."
However, few other details were available and the program would still offer seats to just 4.6% of the city's public school students.
More Crime & Politics:
In other New York political news, Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin resigned after being indicted on campaign finance charges. There is now much more scrutiny on the four women, three from Brooklyn, running for the position. Last week, I talked to Ana Maria Archila, who is the only candidate seeking to redefine Lt. Governor's role if elected. Another Brooklynite, Diana Reyna, who was a deputy to Eric Adams when he was Brooklyn Borough President, is running as Tom Suozzi's (D) running mate, and Alison Esposito, former Commanding Officer of 70th Precinct, is running on Lee Zeldin's (R) ticket. Quanda Francis, who most recently ran for Mayor, is also running for the position.
As I was bicycling back from Sunset Park on Tuesday to Flatbush (CitiBike, please put more e-bikes around the steep ridge that cuts across Brooklyn!), I went through Borough Park, and since I was nearby, I decided to check in on the Culver El development. I will admit that it's become a bit of an obsession now.
The units, large, affordable condos, were completed two years ago, and when I last wrote about them in September of last year, they were unoccupied. They are still sitting empty as of this week, despite the crushing housing crisis in this city. I'll follow up again after the holidays.
Brooklyn's democratic party establishment seems to be moving to crush the progressive faction within the borough’s Democrats at any cost. The key to that is control over the 42 unpaid district leader positions. People in these generally elected positions determine party rules and vote on key endorsements of judges and political candidates.
Retaining a majority of support from district leaders is essential for party officials to get their priorities enacted. Edu Hermelyn resigned from the $190k job in the administration to run for election this June to retain his unpaid district leader post in the 43rd Assembly District. (Akel Williams is challenging him.)
A staffer in Bichotte’s Assembly office, Sabrina Rezzy of Brooklyn Heights, is challenging longtime Bay Ridge district leader Joanne Seminara, and Pinny Ringel is running against another dissident, David Schwartz.
Cherry blossoms are everywhere in Brooklyn, but nowhere more spectacularly than in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
Tomorrow is the beginning of Passover, and Sunday is Easter. May it be peaceful for all.