Bed-Stuy community, local cops meet over crime uptick

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The corner of Lexington and Marcy avenues, the site of recent shooting death of 29-year-old Lateek Poindexter. Photo by Alex O’Connor

Bedford-Stuyvesant community members huddled with top local police officials Thursday to voice their concerns about crime and quality of life issues.

The meeting took place just days after the May 31 drive-by shooting death of 29-year old Lateek Poindexter near the corner of Marcy and Lexington Avenue in the jurisdiction of the 79th Police precinct. The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have yet been made. 

Male Democratic District Leader Henry L. Butler
Female Democratic District Leader Kenesha Traynham-Cooper

Bed-Stuy Democratic District Leaders Henry Butler and Kenesha Traynham-Cooper convened the community meeting with officials from the 79th, 81st police precincts along with public housing cops from Police Service Area 3 to address the seemingly uptick in crime.

Among the complaints Butler read into the record included from senior resident, Sharon Lyon, who said the problem was with late night gatherings. “Stop these gatherings, late gatherings certainly to me would curve the crime activities, shootings etc.. As a senior, I can’t even go to the store after a certain time due to these gatherings.”

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) tenant leaders and senior citizens expressed the most concern with one tenant association leader, who didn’t give her name for fear of possible retaliation against her family, pleading for help to see more police patrolling the development.

“And we need to do something about it quickly. Because this has been going on for years. And these, these kids and I’m saying kids, we’re talking about 14-15-16-17 year-olds that you cannot talk to, and they’re very violent. And a lot of stuff is going on so bad that people cannot even come out of that building without getting run into or from somebody running from somebody,” said the tenant leader.

PSA 3 Captain Omar M. Birchwood, who commands 22 NYCHA developments over five precincts, acknowledged community concerns about two recent double-victim shooting instances (one involving teens) that were “thankfully” nonfatal, but said felony crime was down overall for the year in his command.

“Overall crime and shootings are also down in the five commands we’re covering, but just for Community Board 3 alone the 79 and 81 Precincts, we had seven shooting incidents, which was the same time as last year.”

Within the last 28 days at the 79th Precinct, 8 shooting victims have been identified, compared to 4 at this point last year while 3 homicides for the year is the same as in 2021. Two of the three homicides this year occurred in April and May, one greater than at this point last year. 

Compared to their own performance, the 81st Precinct did better with 5 shooting victims within the last 28 compared to 4 at this point last year. At this point last year, 6 homicides were recorded compared to 4 this year, representing a 33% decrease.

81st Police Precinct Deputy Inspector William E. Glynn commented on recent trends, “Citywide and really across the country, crime is headed in the wrong direction. What makes up the bulk of that crime increase is property crime here and the first reason is property crime. It’s burglaries.”

Burglaries are up more than 50% compared to last year in the 81st Precinct.  

Bed-Stuy residents also called for the need for young engagement over the summer and responsiveness to “quality of life” issues.

Among these complaints were disrepair of public spaces and utilities, like street lights and cameras, or the enforcement of double parking, excessive noise and congregations of people that directly or indirectly involve the public safety. 

“Yes, Marcy [housing development] needs cameras, especially on the Flushing and Park Avenue sides. Noise complaints regarding my particular building goes unnoticed. Cops come late and don’t patrol long. Why have Marcy Houses not gotten our cameras yet?” 

Deputy Inspector Timothy J. Skretch of the 79th Precinct said the precinct puts a priority for addressing quality life complaints. “I say it all the time. You have to tell us where you want us to be and what we need to be doing. And that sometimes that necessitates a 9-1-1, a 3-1-1 call,” he said.

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