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Bullets Across Bed-Stuy

How are we, as residents, prepared to deal with the rise in gun violence?

Bed-Stuy, what’s going on?

Yes, we all know as temperatures rise, generally so does crime.

But the crime spree that has taken ahold of Bedford Stuyvesant in the last month harkens back to the Bed-Stuy of old, in the 80s when crime levels were at their highest.

In the last seven days alone since July 3, there have been more than a dozen shootings across both precincts. And even more disturbing, many of the shooters’ victims were children.

On Tuesday, July 3, a double-murder/suicide cost the life of a woman and her 7-year-old grandson, as well as the shooter himself, who took his own life.

The next day, on July 4, there were reportedly six people shot, and that was in the 79th Precinct alone (does not include the 81st Precinct).

Then, the next day after that, the morning of July 5, another man was shot and killed on Jefferson Ave.

The next day after that, on July 6, a Bed-Stuy mother was arrested for the murder of her 7-year-old son.

Then on Sunday, July 8, a gunfight at the Roosevelt Houses led to a 3-year-old boy being shot in the leg in the crossfire. His only crime was being a kid who dared to play outside in the courtyard.

Today is Monday, July 9. What’s next?

People worry, complain, and are saddened and angry over the rising levels of gun violence in the neighborhood. Fewer police and foot patrols, fewer outreach programs available for teens and far fewer jobs are just a handful of the many factors given for creating what appears to be a perfect crime storm.

However, that still does not answer the question, “What’s next?” When will the community step up? New faces have populated the neighborhood in record numbers over the last decade.

Yet the ones you see at the community board meetings, police precinct meetings, tenant association meetings and block association meetings, are more or less the same ones that have been active for the past 10-20 years.

Let’s say, looking at historical precedent in this country (Depression-Era), it may be another four or so years before we begin to see a real, impactful return to a strong economy.

So, that means that unless there is intervention at the ground level, things will only get worse before they get better, unless something is done.

What do you think is the best way to respond to the rising tide of crime in the neighborhood?

Should it take place at the legislative level, where elected officials get involved in passing more stringent gun control laws? Should it start in our churches, since Bed-Stuy has the highest concentration of religious institutions in the entire city? Or should it start with the residents becoming more involved in block watch programs or volunteering in a mentorship capacity?

Either way, something needs to happen, or absolutely nothing will change. Tell us what you think in the comments.

Sara July 09, 2012 at 05:21 PM
The only thing I can think to curb this crime spree is a stronger cop and neighborhood watch presence...I just don't know though. This is so scary and very sad.
Kourtney July 09, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Oh wow this is just awful. There is going to need to be an increase of police in this area to help control the violence.
Sonia July 09, 2012 at 06:53 PM
This is so sad; I love the suggestion to build the community up during this time through the local churches. It is nice to see an article mention a solution, instead of only focusing on the problems.
Evelyn July 09, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I think the answer may be a combination of all those solutions. when I lived in bed stuy there was a strong police presence and the pasters and preachers were involved in neighborhood affairs..and with tougher gun laws ppl will think twice before acting crazy
BedStuy Bred July 09, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Things will only get worse in BedStuy as the Black middle and working class (mostly civil servants) that were once the backbone of the community continues to leave. Things will get worse because they were the violence interrupters. They were the ones that have the relationships with the underclasses and serve as peacekeepers, sources of inspiration, advocates, and yes the buffer zone for the gentrifiers. Increased police presence will work for White people, not for Black people, because the police won’t take the time to differentiate between the decent Black folk and the criminal element. The hoodlums will target the decent Black folk because they know the repercussions will be less than if they target Caucasians. The most tragic group will be the Black newcomers because they will be targets of the abandoned Black folk, the police, and their Caucasian peers who won’t take the time to differentiate them from the “locals.”
mario patrick July 09, 2012 at 09:13 PM
People want more police but they don't want the police to stop anyone or give tickets for what people consider to be low level violations. You cant have it both ways! Either the police do there job with the support of the community or the community continues to fight the police and nothing gets done. This arrival speaks of children getting shot but children are doing the shooting. Its an unfortunate situation that starts with a strong home life.
sally July 10, 2012 at 05:18 AM
we can't have police investigating illegal arms owners without having them give us tickets for loitering? we can't have stop and frisk look for guns without arresting people for marijuana posession?
Dennis Jones July 11, 2012 at 11:33 AM
When the community believes it CAN have all it desires to make it better, you will see the combined effort to solve your problem...I worked as a police officer in bedstuy through the 80's and 90's more police doing the job of saving your quality of life is apparent and necessary. You can't take the lesser road because you feel more police will only give you more bad interactions. The condition of a clean neighborhood remaining clean rest on the strength the community has to stay in control. Unite and demand a better servicing police force.
John July 12, 2012 at 02:02 AM
You do realize that all police officers aren't white...right?
L.F. Kipenzi Hansley-Dobson July 16, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Also Bedstuy Bred Unfortunately true,true, true. I will continue to actively fight all these elements and advocate for our community the best I know how.

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