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The 88th Precinct does not have enough resources to fight crime in Clinton Hill, according to pols and police who spoke at a town hall meeting Wednesday convened by Public Advocate (and Clinton Hill resident) Letitia James. Specifically, it has only 112 officers and three or four squad cars to patrol the area at night.

“The 88th precinct is under-resourced,” a story in DNAinfo quoted James as saying at the meeting at Emmanuel Baptist Church, above. “I’ve discovered recently we only have three or four patrol cars to turn out at night. That’s unacceptable.” (more…)

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double shooting on Clinton Hill’s Clifton Place the last Sunday of July has raised local concern for what appears to be rising violence in the area. In response to the shootings, Public Advocate Letitia James has called for an emergency meeting on increased gang and gun violence in the neighborhood.

“As I am sure you are aware, our neighborhood has seen an increase in gang and gun violence these past few weeks,” James wrote in an email, inviting community members and concerned parties to the meeting this Wednesday, August 19, at Emmanuel Baptist Church. For James’ full letter, see Brownstoner’s initial writeup on the meeting.

Local feelings of increased violence in the area are backed by statistics showing significantly increased rates of violent crime so far this year. Statistics from the 79th and 88th precincts, which cover the Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, and Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhoods, show that the number of shootings and rapes in the 88th precinct and burglaries in the 79th precinct have surpassed the number in the same period in 2014. (more…)

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After a spate of gun violence in Bed Stuy and Clinton Hill, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James has called for a meeting this week:

“All,
As I am sure you aware, our neighborhood has seen an increase in gang and gun violence these past few weeks. We have felt the pain in our hearts as too many members of our community have been shot and killed by such shootings. This needs to be stopped and needs to be stopped now.

In light of these recent shootings, I am calling an emergency meeting between all levels of government and the community. We cannot stand idly while such wanton acts of violence happen within a community that has so much life. With the help of our local police the 79th and 88th Police Precincts, lead by Deputy Inspector John Chell and Captain Peter Fiorillo, as well as the P.B.B.N. and P.S.A 3, lead by Deputy Chief Jeffrey Maddrey and Captain Peter Fiorillo, I am certain we can work together to find a way to bring a stop to the gang violence that continues to plague our neighbors, our friends, and our families.

But none can fight this alone. We will need to come together, not with blame, but with a proactive solution that we will then work together to achieve. I need your help to make out community safe again. Please join me from 6-​8 ​pm on Wednesday August 19th at 279 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238, the Emmanuel Baptist Church where we can start our work on a path to heal this community.”

(more…)

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Following a shooting incident over the weekend, a reader sent Brownstoner this open letter to the Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, New York City Public Advocate Tish James and the 88th Police Precinct about ongoing problems with drug dealing and violence on Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill. Thompson and James live nearby, as she points out in the letter; Brownstoner has been writing about crime on this stretch for years. In her letter, she listed the addresses of buildings and license plates of cars she believes is associated with the problems. Brownstoner has deleted these from the letter for legal reasons. Here is what she said:

“Violent Crime Haven at Clifton/Grand

In light of the recent murder and shootings, I am writing in regard to
the frightening, pervasive and constant illegal activity and violence
along Grand Avenue, specifically at the corner of Clifton Place. The
drug trade here is vibrant, enthusiastic, defiant and unchecked. This
is an absolute slap in the face to the neighborhood. It’s Hamsterdam
from The Wire – brazen illegal activity of every kind conducted with
impunity. All of the players seem confident that they can operate with
no consequences. 88th Precinct, what are you doing? (more…)

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There was a shooting about 12:30 am Sunday morning on Clifton Place close to Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill, according to a reader who heard the gunfire. Two people were shot and injured. “We heard six or seven shots,” our tipster writes.

The gunfire came from an SUV near 47 Clifton Place “just after midnight,” according to a story in News 12. The two victims were taken to Methodist Hospital and are expected to live. (more…)

Commenter Pig Three has started an interesting discussion in the Forum about a supposed new NYPD policy to give drug dealers over 40 a free pass.

A New York Post story about the policy doesn’t say a word about the Mayor, but Pig Three blames the administration. Replies in the Forum evaluate de Blasio’s record on everything from universal pre-K to Vision Zero. Here’s the question:

Relief for drug dealers over 40?

Could this possibly be true? (more…)

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Landlords Joel and Aaron Israel were arrested Thursday on criminal charges for allegedly intentionally destroying apartments they own in Greenpoint and Bushwick and lying to the court about it,  the Times and many other outlets reported yesterday. The brothers have been in the news for about two years after reportedly destroying kitchens, baths, gas lines and hot water heaters of longtime tenants at several buildings in Brooklyn to force them out and increase rents to market rate for newcomers.

The cases have been winding through housing court. Criminal charges in such cases are unusual — but then so are the alleged actions of the accused. (more…)

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Instead of helping the small businesses she was supposed to boost, a former director of the North Flatbush BID allegedly stole $85,000 from them. Sharon Davidson was charged Monday with making unauthorized withdrawals over a period of three years from funds reserved for promoting 150 businesses in Prospect Heights and Park Slope, The New York Daily News reported. She pled not guilty.

“North Flatbush” refers to the street, not the neighborhood, by the way. We wonder how the situation is affecting the business owners there.

Brooklyn BID Director Charged with Stealing $85K for Wild Shopping Spree [NYDN]
Photo by North Flatbush BID

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We read with great interest today that the city plans to install a system to automatically detect gunfire in certain high-crime areas. (We suspect ours is one!) “The NYPD plans to install 300 audio sensors in 10 Brooklyn precincts and seven in the Bronx with the highest numbers of shootings as part of the one-year pilot program,” said DNAinfo.

The system will automatically distinguish between gunshots, car backfire and, we presume, fireworks and automatically dispatch officers without a 911 call. We have read about these systems in other cities and we know they pick up a surprising amount of gunfire that goes totally unreported! Most important, they also have been proven to reduce shootings, said DNAinfo.

The photo above shows bullets we found in our walls and a pocket door while renovating and also on our stoop New Year’s Day.

What do you think of this plan? And could this possibly be a more effective and efficient way to reduce gun use without having to resort to stop and frisk?

Also, a note for our regular readers who may be wondering: No, we do not plan on having a “Question” post every single day. Maybe a couple times a week. Like we said, we’re trying a lot of new things, and we’ll see what flies. Appreciate your constructive feedback. Thanks.

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For years it seemed the murder rate couldn’t go any lower, but it just kept on dropping and dropping. Now the City reports it’s up 20 percent since the beginning of the year, vs. the same period in 2014. New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton blamed pot dealers, DNAinfo reported.

Here are the stats, released at a press conference Monday: There have been 54 murders so far in 2015, vs. 45 during the same period last year. Murders involving drugs ticked up 15 percent so far this year. Of those murders, 60 percent were related to marijuana specifically. The head of detectives said most of the drug-related murders are not turf wars, but rather robberies.

Most of the violence took place in only five of the City’s 77 police precincts, including three in Brooklyn: the 67th, 63rd and 75th precincts — aka Flatbush, Flatlands and East New York.

Shootings were also up 20 percent, reported the Daily News. There have been 149 shootings so far this year, vs. 126 during the same period in 2014.

But, the paper continued, crime is down 11 percent in other categories, including rape, robbery, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft.

Do you think this means we’re going to see a serious rise in crime in Brooklyn, or is this just a one-time statistical fluke that will even out later this year? And what do you think of the marijuana explanation?

Murders up 20 Percent in 2015 in Year-to-Year Comparison, NYPD Says [NY Daily News]
Bratton Blames Marijuana for Surge in Murders [DNA]

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The Manhattan D.A. Tuesday announced it has arrested 50 in a sweeping sting for bribery connected to construction and housing in Brooklyn as well as elsewhere in the city. Those arrested included 16 employees of the Department of Buildings and Housing Preservation and Development, 22 property managers and owners (many in Brooklyn), six expediters, two contractors and one engineer.

“Our investigation revealed a widespread network of corruption in the construction industry and among the city workers charged with keeping that industry safe,” said Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters in a prepared statement. “We found that these 16 City employees, including several senior supervisory staff, took bribes to clear code violations, including some that presented real safety threats. Today’s arrests shows that the city and law enforcement have zero tolerance for criminal conduct that undermines the city’s mandate to protect its citizens.”

Many of the schemes involved unregistered expediters who paid off the Chief of Development for Brooklyn construction, inspectors and other DOB employees to dismiss stop work orders and other violations and make sure their buildings under construction passed inspections. Over at HPD, property owners and managers paid off city employees to dismiss an astounding number of violations at many dozens of rental buildings in Bushwick, Williamsburg and Bed Stuy. In two separate cases, HPD inspectors were bribed to evict tenants from two buildings with two separate owners in Bushwick under false pretenses of a nonexistent HPD vacate order.

You can read all the details with the names of the charged here, although unfortunately the document does not list building addresses. Above, the Brooklyn Department of Building at 210 Jeroleman Street.

Do you think the arrests will go a long way toward routing out corruption in Brooklyn construction and housing? Or is this just the tip of the iceberg? Is bribery in the building trades in Brooklyn the norm or the exception?

Arrest and Criminal Charges in Widespread Bribery Schemes [Manhattan D.A.]
Photo by Bridge and Tunnel Club

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We were shopping in Crown Heights Saturday afternoon when we heard about the two policemen shot in their patrol car at Myrtle and Tompkins. A Facebook friend was sitting in a car behind them when it happened, her toddler asleep in the back seat. It seems the police killing that took place in Bed Stuy could have a lasting effect on the city. How do you feel about what happened?

Photo by _elkue2 on Instagram via Gothamist