Thursday, January 14, 2010

LES crime watch: "if you ask around the neighborhood, you'll find a pretty strong perception that things have worsened over the past year"

At The Village Voice, Graham Rayman takes a comprehensive look at the crime stats in our "crime-free" city, particularly at the 9th Precinct and LES... Here are some excerpts from his article:

Compared to the high-crime years of the late '80s and early '90s, the Lower East Side has far fewer serious reported crimes, according to police statistics. Of the four precincts, only the 9th Precinct showed an overall increase in crime last year, with increases in assault, grand larceny, and rape, and a big jump in burglary. The 5th, 7th, and 13th precincts, meanwhile, all showed overall declines.

On the other hand, comparing 2008 to 2009, there were some increases here and there. Felony assaults in the 7th Precinct jumped by 40 percent last year. Grand larcenies increased, as did rapes. Assaults in the 5th Precinct were up compared to 2007. And the 13th Precinct saw a rise in burglaries.

The number of neighborhood kids 15 or younger sent to the city juvenile justice system rose from 38 in 2008 to 54 in 2009. Typically, about half of those admissions were on robbery or assault charges.

The Voice also obtained misdemeanor arrest numbers for the four precincts, which show overall increases from 2006 to 2008 — largely fueled by jumps in burglary and larceny offenses, along with a significant increase in low-level marijuana busts.

For example, misdemeanor arrests in the 9th Precinct jumped by almost 25 percent between 2006 and 2008, largely as a result of burglary and theft cases. Misdemeanor arrests in the 5th Precinct rose by about 20 percent, largely on theft offenses.

Overall, the numbers present a picture of relative order compared to the bad old days. But if you ask around the neighborhood, you'll find a pretty strong perception that things have worsened over the past year, particularly as a result of these loosely organized groups of teens and young men who identify with a given public housing project or city block.

"We certainly saw an upsurge in the past couple of years of the presence of gangs," says Matthew Guldin, a lifelong educator who retired as dean of students for a Lower East Side high school last June. "You knew it was there. I think some of it has to do with the economic downturn. The crisis always comes first in the poorest neighborhoods. With fewer jobs available for teens, parents being laid off, and schools and community agencies losing funding, there are fewer positive options available to engage teenagers during the after-school hours. And I think YouTube, MySpace, texting, the communications technology, exacerbates it."

Previously on EV Grieve:
9th Precinct sees slight increase in overall crime for year; 74 of 76 NYC police precincts see lower numbers

The Post notes a "90 PERCENT SURGE IN BURGLARIES" in the East Village

In response to recent violence in the East Village: Alphabet City Neighbors


Bob Arihood said...

If you talk to the officers in the street , the ones that actually fight the crime you might get a picture that is notably different from the official statistics . Statistics are just that , not facts .

Because of the procedures followed when making the statistical picture a number of troubling facts get lost and never become part of the official record .

much isn't reported simply because people do not want to be bothered with the complications to there lives resulting from pressing charges .

In short if you want to know whats going on in crime , hang out in the streets . float around the neighborhood and watch .

We've seen and photographed a numer of serious crime events that never made it into the official statistics . .

EV Grieve said...

Indeed, Bob. I know that many people appreciate all your efforts in documenting what's really going on out there.

Bob Arihood said...

Grieve, though we arrived a bit late we covered a big one last night at the Pyramid club . This was a gang fight with members wearing colors and using knives that sent 2 males to the hospital. You won't likely see this event in the newspaper but it was violent and bloody and the fact that it was a gang confrontation is very troubling all by itself .Just how will it be recorded. We've seen events bloody like this that were apparently not recorded . .

Anonymous said...

Interesting Voice article. Thanks. It covers a lot of ground--fairly accurately, IMO--but it doesn't address policing and corruption.

Back in the day, it was pretty clear that the large-scale on the street drug operations were somehow sanctioned/tolerated/assisted(?) by the police responsible for the neighborhood, the 9th mostly. Most of the large busts that made a difference were organized outside the 9th. ASFAIK, most corruption in the 9th was handled by transferring the most egregious cops out, not by sending those cops into the courts.

Over the last 15 years, the big operations have mostly moved indoors and, on the surface, the 9th has looked like an average precinct. However, the recent upsurge in youth gangs looks a lot like the kind of stuff that was happening years ago--some gangs appear to have protection and/or work for other gangs that have protection. Those attacks in TSP in the spring and early summer certainly look like they were aimed at, um, consolidating the drug trade. Why weren't the kids in Bob's photos tracked down? Why did the cops sweep the park and not pick up the kids who did the attacks? People in the 'hood knew a lot of the kids, surely the cops knew them too. Maybe there were mixed motives for some of gang attacks this year but, come on, the police work surrounding them was either brain dead or corrupt.

How about Ave. D right now? Try driving up D around 1am. Wanna buy drugs? Well, those hard looking boys in hoodies can help you. It's completely obvious, in fact it's the only thing going down on Ave. D most nights. Everyone knows about it. The cops don't know about it? They aren't in on it? The Ave. D drug gang seems like a well-organized operation, run fairly quietly, and mostly set up to operate indoors. It's one monolithic operation that does not tolerate other dealers. It's plenty large enough to layout some serious cash to make sure the cops in the 'hood are down with it.

Yes, there are some fine policemen working in the EV. Yes, they have a complicated job. But...but...the 9th seems back to it's old ways.

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