Police & Fire

Mayor De Blasio, CO DiBlasio — Do We Have A Gang Problem In Ditmas Park?

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This morning brought the news of the arrests of 20 alleged gang members in East Flatbush. Will that bring peace to Ditmas Park as well?

Our neighborhood is in the middle of a wave of violent crime far outside citywide trends, or any local violence, in the last decade. Here’s this week’s toll: two dead and two wounded, and it is just Thursday. We are an outsized part of the modest citywide increase in violence: murders have risen by 5 percent in the city during the first six months of 2015, jumping from 165 last year to 174 this year, according to city statistics. Ditmas Park alone accounts for about a quarter of that increase.

Longterm residents are getting flashbacks. “This is getting just as bad as it was in the early 2000s,” Flatbush Development Corporation Executive Director Robin Redmond told our reporter. And they are not wrong. According to the very limited figures the NYPD releases, there were nine murders in the 70th precinct in the whole of 1998. So far this year there have been six per the most recent CompStat, plus the two shooting deaths this week.

Residents are telling us they want more effective policing — beginning with a clear explanation from the 70 of what is going on, and what is being done about it.

According to the DCPI, only one arrest has been made in the shooting deaths this year —  Kyle Reneau, 26, of East Flatbush was charged with murder of Jeffrey Middleton. No arrests have been made in the shooting deaths of  Donel Andrew (03/21),  Sharief Clayton and Ronald Murphy (04/27),  Raphael Kurton (05/26),  Ian Caicedo (07/01),  Harold Abodia (7/13)Adetunji Ajakaye (7/15). Five of them were our neighbors.

We can’t help suspecting that the blasé police attitude has to do with the victims’ own criminal pasts. Is that why the police, and City Hall for that matter, aren’t taking this crime wave seriously? Are we waiting for an innocent bystander to get killed? Obviously a toddler being hit by bullets is not enough.

Meanwhile, neighbors have a reasonable sense that guns are just everywhere. The owner of the Smoke Shop said that when he looked at surveillance footage following Kurton’s death, he “saw at least four kids who had guns.”

In the absence of any official attention to this crisis, we’ve heard different suggestions from community members for what should be done. At the rally following the killing of Raphael Kurton, Borough President Eric Adams said a top priority needs to be addressing firearms in our neighborhood. “We have to make sure illegal guns don’t make it into the streets,” he said.”We should spend the next days organizing how we’re going to create a safe space for our children and families.”

We should form block watches. We should put up more cameras. Better cameras. But what is being done by the police and the city to get the guns off the streets, and stop our neighbors from being killed?

We have heard that there is a war between rival crews going on — a gang war would fit the pattern of why the rest of crimes are relatively low; though the police would not confirm it. “We can’t continue to ignore we have a gang problem,” Borough President Eric Adams told us yesterday.

Mayor de Blasio and Commanding Officer DiBlasio:  Why are people getting shot dead at an alarming rate in Ditmas Park/ Flatbush? And what are you doing to stop it?

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51 COMMENTS

  1. Of course the police are concerned with criminals killing other criminals, but there is a lack of cooperation from friends of the victims. I can’t understand why they choose to kill each other in our neighborhood instead of in their own ‘hood.

  2. This is their “hood” – most of the victims were either shot on their own block or very nearby.

  3. The “blase” attitude by the police?? What are police to do if there is no cooperation from anyone in the neighborhood?? They can’t force anyone to cooperate? Maybe you can do better? I also think it’s unfair to infer that the police are not concerned about the victims because they have a criminal past. The police are well aware that they are not well liked or respected by some of the residents in this neighborhood, which makes things tougher for everyone. With the backlash against the police over the past year, it has changed the way the police are able to do their job. I think the arrest today of those gang members shows how invested the police are in cleaning up our streets.

  4. If Ditmasparkcorner leaned any more to the left it would fall over. It takes some balls to accuse the police of ‘blase’ attitude after supporting the police basher in chief De Blasio all along, and after fawning over a professional victimhood monger like Imani Henry and acting as his mouthpiece.

    “Residents are telling us they want more effective policing — beginning with a clear explanation from the 70 of what is going on, and what is being done about it.”?

    No, not at all. Go read the comments to your own stories posted on your own website. Residents are telling you enough with the touchy feely bullshit, we need stronger and more assertive policing. Nobody is saying “more effective” which means nothing and actually insinuates that people thing the police are not doing their job.

    “what is being done by the police and the city to get the guns off the streets?” This is the peak of the hypocrisy. You rooted for the end of stop and frisk, you contributed to tying up the hands of the police and making it impossible for them to be proactive and now you wanna beat them with a stick for not being proactive? Seriously???

    What a load of ideological drivel. Shameful piece, start to finish.

  5. This is such a fun game! Let’s render the cops unable to do their job and then, after they fail to do their job, let’s BLAME them for not doing it. Oh man, this is more fun than riding the Cyclone.

  6. 100% correct. Why doesn’t Imani Henry devote himself to saving Black lives by getting guns off the streets?

  7. It really isn’t fair to say that there is a “blase” police attitude about this situation. How many people even bother to go to precinct council or community board meetings, or even take time to know that they are there?

  8. The 67th precinct (the largest and under manned/funded precinct) in the city should be part of this conversation as well. .there is a new CO over there working hard but probably needs some heat put on the politicians to help with change. This is a scary time.

  9. Why doesn’t’t everyone think? This same BS happened in Sunset Park. Check the Twitter feed. That is how they communicate, the Gangs, and it is a gang problem. The police can’t do their job when be accused of harassment- Equality for Flatbush- Check for police brutality- Its police brutality when they parole an area. Eric Garner-If you see something- report it- You have the technology- Triangulate the areas as far as iPhones and Androids-this is how the gangs communicate.

  10. Growing up between Flatbush and Ditmas Park, I feel everything is reverting back too 80’s and 90’s. Gang members are allowed to carry their guns out in the open, because Stop and Frisk was repealed. Two and a half month after the Mayor repealed it,A boy was shot in the eye ( rival gang shooting) he was caught in crossfire. Two month later a retired grandmother walking out of the store with her daughter in-law was shot and paralyzed, same thing (rival gang shooting) All on Ave D. That boy could have our sons and our mother in-laws.

  11. Really Liz? What about this crisis of gun violence in our neighborhood do you feel that DeBlasio is concerned with? You think he cares about these teens being shot dead on our streets? I see nothing from him, not a nod to our crisis, nor a shred of recognition that this is a crisis. What ‘we’ do you belong to, you think one or two people being shot every day is just fine do you? Odd sense of we if you ask me.

  12. Good to know Ditmas Park’s own geriatric reactionary is still taking time from Fox News to grace us with his thoughts.

  13. Stray bullets have a funny way of penetrating windows and siding. We know that in days past, and in other neighborhoods, babies have been shot sleeping in their cribs, and little girls killed while playing in their second-story bedrooms. Mothers have been killed sitting on their stoops. Those days haven’t ended.

    I lost any tolerance, much less pity, for gang members many years ago. If gang members felt remorse for the senseless killing of innocents they would turn one another in to the police. Ditto their families.

    Already one child in our neighborhood has been hit in crossfire. Advocating ending violence through art or calming gang members by sending them to community centers is just asking for another child to be shot.

    If police cameras facilitate arrests, and if as people say the violence is being committed by just a few young males, then police cameras can deter crimes in that they get those few young males off the streets. I don’t see that setting up cameras violates anyone’s rights. Worrying that your family will get caught in crossfire or that bullets will penetrate your living space would, I’d think, violate your rights.

    These are vicious narcissists, they have guns, and they are hanging out waiting for some excitement. Giving them a little TLC will get us nowhere.

    (Who’s “us”? The black, white, and everything in-between citizens who know that life is difficult enough with having to tolerate gang members in our midst.)

  14. If this was happening among a population of white teenagers, people would immediately understand the situation demands a temporary suspension of some civil liberties. That is, we need stop and frisk. There would be police driving up and down Newkirk Ave. and searching teenagers for guns. That is what we need to do to stop this immediately.

  15. Cant you still search someone if you have probable cause? If the friggin deli owner can see all these kids with guns just from security footage and they’re hanging out on a corner with high drug traffic and two recent murders wouldnt you be able to stop them and search them (if it’s that obvious they’re packing heat)?

  16. Stop and frisk did very little to get guns out of the hands of criminals — ya know, the NYPD’s own statistics — and just added to the reasons for the community to be resentful and distrustful of the police. I’m actually seeing police now walking beats and interacting with people, chatting with neighbors, rather than just anonymously swooping in from police cruisers. This is a positive change.

    Policing in America began in the 19th century purely as a control device to protect the well-heeled from the ‘dirty’ and ‘easily agitated’ underclasses. We were supposed to have evolved from that point… the police are suppose to “protect and serve” the community; not control.

    I’d be interested to know what “mapledell” would think of stop-and-frisk if he was thrown up against a wall a couple times a year for a quick and harmless “spot check.”

  17. “Gang members are allowed to carry their guns out in the open, because Stop and Frisk was repealed.” That is just a bunch of hyperbolic stupid in the form of a sentence.

  18. “Advocating ending violence through art or calming gang members by
    sending them to community centers is just asking for another child to be
    shot.”

    So, your solution…. Roadside summary executions by the state?

  19. Yes, Name. That’s the problem with all of this hyperbole from the sky is falling crowd. (One thing changed, so clearly THAT is the cause of everything bad in the city.) The only thing that changed when they discontinued stop-and-frisk is the dehumanizing, intimidation-and-control approach that just created resentment and distrust.

    No one has ever called for the police to stop searching people if there was reasonable suspicion. The problem was young men being tossed against a wall multiple times per year just for living in a “bad” neighborhood.

    (And Aaron Lisman’s BS about white vs. black is just that… BS.)

  20. Stop and frisk took 600 guns a year off the street and provided a formidable deterrent. Ya know, simple math and common logic.

    As for how I’d feel, I’ve already replied to that in the other thread, I won’t repeat myself.

  21. Look, I’m not advocating for stop and frisk everywhere. I’m saying that a crisis of violence calls for a crisis response. Just as an intervention is called for in the case of a suicidal person, so is an intervention called for here. That’s the humane response when young people are killing each other. I don’t think my racial comparison is BS. The bottom line, and I challenge you to differ, is that the response would be very different. This would not be allowed to stand.

  22. Yes, but the problem is that now, especially that the media and the court of public opinion has deemed all cops as ogres, it is hard to justify anything as being “reasonable suspicion”. All it takes is one video of a cop trying to restrain someone who is hostile and not cooperating with requests to comply for people to scream “brutality!”. Cops no longer want to put their hand in the fire. If you’re a cop, why bother going the extra mile? One wrong move that is misconstrued, and you could end up on the cover of the newspaper, and could cost you your livelihood. Even if you are doing your job properly.

  23. 600 is a pretty substantial number. Imagine how many lives that may have saved? Also, I imagine that the fear of being stopped probably prevented people from carrying as well.

  24. I suppose if my child were killed by a stray bullet, I’d probably say, Yes indeed, that’s one solution.

    But truly, you probably realize that arts and crafts won’t do it for these guys; but having no solution yourself, you decide to exaggerate what I am saying in order to create an us-them conflict. And I’m saying that these violent young men need to be caught and put away.

  25. At the height of Stop-and-Frisk… In 2011, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 685,724 times.

    605,328 were totally innocent (88 percent).

    350,743 were black (53 percent).

    223,740 were Latino (34 percent).

    61,805 were white (9 percent).

    341,581 were aged 14-24 (51 percent).

    From 2002 through 2013, the total number of times New Yorkers were stopped and frisked was 4,683,205 — OVER 4-1/2 MILLION TIMES over 11 years. An average of 425,746 per year.

    Guns were found in less than 0.2% of stops. Yeah, that sounds like a good outcome when the trade off is humiliation, intimidation and eroding of trust in the police.

    How’s that for math?!

  26. Jesus, B. The “arts and crafts” programs (i.e., after school programs, sport programs, literacy and culture programs) are not for the gang kingpin. It’s to create better, more positive and constructive outlets for everyone else. A place where disenfranchised young men and women can find value, support, role models, etc. So, yeah. Community centers and TLC.

  27. And you can shove the exaggerations, SquareOne. Boo hoo, the cops have to show some humanity and restraint. Oh the horror. Sorry, buck-o. The folks we have hired to “protect and serve” our communities absolutely don’t get carte blanche to approach their job however they feel like. ESPECIALLY when their job involves physical force (up to and including deadly force).

  28. I agree the s-q-f did victimize many innocent people. But at the same time, gun violence in the City was at an all-time low. Now it is on the rise. What is your better solution?

  29. There is not correlation between stop-and-frisk and the drop and rise in gun violence in NYC. There were/are similar trends in all major cities.

    By the way — the stop and frisks are in the 10,000+ range this year compared to 685,000 in 2011. Has the rate of gun violence increased 60 times?!

    The solution is a whole host of things. There’s no single solution that’s going to get us where we want to be — but it definitely does not include victimizing and harassing the people the police are supposed to be protecting.

    Economics is a MAJOR component. We can have all sorts of programs for youth and young adults — all of which are important — after school programs, cultural activities, education opportunities, recreation/sports, etc. But if they get to the workforce and try to be independent and find an economy that just crushes them…. well, what do you expect?

    This isn’t just an issue of the easily caricatured “gentrification” problem. This is a city economy that still serves the top, say 20%, and ignores the rest of the folks that make the economy function. I’m personally “lucky” — my education and career path have scored me a relatively high-paying job, but I couldn’t do my job or have a job without everyone else doing other work. A lot of those jobs are lower-paid jobs, but very necessary. (Including the janitor at the Burger King I sometimes get my lunch… it’s a job that pays less, but it’s not a lesser job.) In my small way, I just fought to fix the disparity for an employee I supervise… she now makes more money. And I am very aware this will affect the possibility of me getting an increase in the near term. And since I’m not in that “gobs and gobs of money” category, there’s a really good chance I’ll be ‘kicked out’ of Ditmas Park in the next couple of years.

    As an analogy — you know that “immigration problem” we have with Mexico? Guess what magically happens when the Mexican economy improves?

    $15 minimum wage? Yes. It would be tough for some businesses, and others would have to revisit their profits and salary structures. So be it. The income disparity is brutal in this country, but especially in this city. This isn’t a ‘gentrification’ issue per se, it’s more obvious really. It’s a couple working 80 hrs combined and still needing either public assistance and/or a second job just to pay rent and eat… and hope neither of them get sick.

    That’s the major, long-term solution. The short- and medium-term solution is community policing that engages with then neighborhoods. Gang units and gang-related program that tackle that specific issue directly. MASSIVE increase in funding for our schools. MASSIVE. Community programs. Enfranchising and empowering young men to be positive, constructive parts of the community… even when it seems crazy hard.

    (To pay for that? I’d suggest stopping our absurd tax subsidies for rich building developers and the wealthy home buyers…. why does my neighbor have a $1.8 million house but only pays $12,000 in taxes?! Oh, and also gets to write those off.)

  30. That I agree with. Kids need to stay in school and do their work — along with their homework for a couple of hours — and after-school programs provide valuable enrichment. But for the guys who already have guns and used them, well, it’s too late; you won’t entice them in. So let’s not argue.

  31. Thanks for arguing my point, dumbass!

    0.2% of 605,328 is actually 1,200 guns they took off the street. That’s DOUBLE what I had indicated, and that’s just one year. Over 4.5m stops that makes it NINE THOUSAND guns.

    Like they say, it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  32. It IS a good outcome. If .2% of the 4.6 million stops resulted in guns being confiscated, that means that about 9200 guns were pulled off the street. Imagine how many lives that saved!

  33. Also, NYC crime statistics for 2014 show that 75% of shootings were by African-Americans. Yet, according to your stats, only 53% of all stops were of blacks. To me, that doesn’t sound like people of color were unfairly targeted at all…..

  34. I’d love to see you put on a uniform and a badge for a week, and see first hand what cops actually have to deal with on a daily basis. It would open your eyes. There are no exaggerations in anything I said. This is coming directly from my friends and family that are on the force.

  35. Your an idiot and when these thugs are in your kitchen…eating you food…your gonna blame the police. Trust. That’s what’s next

  36. Keep passing the buck. There a bunch of wasteless, predatory, parasitic group, and you know who I mean. You can’t polish up a turd

  37. That’s pretty good. I’ll share these numbers with the mothers of the young men most recently killed on our streets. I’m sure they’ll find them deeply consoling.

  38. Holy crap. It sure took you a lot of words there. All you really needed to say was, “I have no answers.”

  39. I find it funny (and by funny I mean disturbing) that there are so many people that are more worried about making people feel bad, than they are about people being murdered on the streets.

  40. Community policing is a good thing, as well as gang-related programs. But these as well as MASSIVE increases in education funding and community programs (which have been funded for years and years) is not a short term solution. 6 people were shot in 10 hours last night. The NYPD needs to be supported and encouraged to return to proactive policing (e.g. less Al Sharpton, E4F, etc and more Bratton), which may include stop. question and frisk, to deal with this ever-increasing problem. The longer term solutions need to go on concurrently, not sequentially.

  41. You seemed to miss the 88% of the stops yielded NOTHING illegal. What exactly is your definition of “unfair.”

  42. YOU seemed to miss that 9200 guns were pulled off the streets in the years that SQF was being practiced. That’s potentially thousands of lives saved

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