NEW YORK (Reuters) - The neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn, has remained one of the most violent in New York City with a 22 percent increase in murders and nearly 50 percent increase in gun violence this year despite a trend toward lower crime in New York City.
Following is a selection of quotes about the situation:
NEIL WEBSDALE, AUTHOR OF ‘POLICING THE POOR: FROM SLAVE
“The demise of those housing projects is also linked to the plight of the inner city black male in America and the policy decision to allow jobs to go overseas and not to develop that side of the labor force anymore.
“We need massive job creation. We need a serious injection of funds into the inner city to have different kinds of education approach for those kids. We need support for those mothers around child care. And we need to do something to support African American men who are young fathers.”
WILSON JAMISON, GREAT UNCLE OF 15-YEAR-OLD SHOOTING VICTIM
“Funny how guns can get into the neighborhood. And the drugs. ... I’ve laid in the hospital and seen kids paralyzed. Young kids, 15. They will never make love to a woman. ... Now my nephew is laying up there in a coffin and he ain’t coming back from that.”
“It’s not going to get any better because of the next generation. If they’re not fighting about a girl, it’s a snub, or about respect. There’s low self-esteem. And the way this recession is going, there’s no hope.
“It takes a lot of people to make a difference. It’s gotta stop because you’ve got kids coming up with kids.”
JOSEPHINE SPEARMAN, MOTHER OF 31-YEAR-OLD MURDER VICTIM MAURICE
“Parents don’t have any control over their children. That’s what it says to me. At 14, 15, 16, the parents don’t have any control over them. When mines was coming up, I knew every place they were. My kids couldn’t go any place without me knowing where they was going. Now I see kids outside at 1 or 2 o’clock the morning who are only 6 years old. They’re outside by themselves, even with the shooting going on.”
DARRYL ODOM, EX-CONVICT, FATHER OF A SON WHO WAS SHOT DEAD, AND
HEAD OF ‘CHANGE FROM WITHIN,’ A CAMPAIGN TO COMBAT GANG
“Part of the problem is kids grow up seeing how police treat the black community, and in particular young black men. The same people who claim to want to help you are victimizing you. ... This is a prison. The projects are like one big prison.
“The main culprit is the gun manufacturer. They don’t see any profit in stopping illegal gun traffic because that’s its biggest market.”
“We have the police department acting like an occupying force. People in public housing don’t have the same rights to come and go as they please when not breaking the law. Whatever the rationale, it’s unacceptable to turn an entire community into a constitution-free zone.
“This hardball tactic of treating everybody as a suspect is not working.”
JAMIE EVANS, BEST KNOWN AS ‘FLOSS,’ AN EX-CONVICT AND ASPIRING
“Once they turn 14, they think they’re adults. ‘You can’t tell me nothing. I’m a grown man.’ That’s what they tell you. Most of these kids are from broken families. Father in jail. Mother in the street trying to find another man. The kids are living their own life. Nine years and they’re on their own.”
“Our cops are very well trained before they ever get on the streets and they are very well supervised. ... We’re certainly spending the money.
“What you say to the parents is this (curtailing illegal guns) is a federal issue. ... The parents of these kids have to pick up the phone. The spouses of our police officers. Call your federal congressman. Call your federal senator. Call the president of the United States and say I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. This is ridiculous. You’ve got to get guns off the streets.”
“Twice each year, when new police officers graduate from our police academy, we assign most if not all of them to designated impact zones. These are carefully selected areas, some as small as a few blocks long, where we have measured a spike in shootings or other serious crimes.
“We put these officers with experienced supervisors and deploy them in large numbers within these zones. Throughout every phase of this program, we’ve seen reductions of 30 percent or more in overall crime.”
Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Mohammad Zargham