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Neighbor to Neighbor: Let’s not revert back to days of ‘Bully Boys’

For many years, some residents and business people in our communities have tried to work with the police to try...

By Barbara Morris

If you haven’t heard about “The Boulevard Bully Boys,” you will be hearing a lot about them if things keep up the way they have been lately.

For many years, some residents and business people in our communities have tried to work with the police to try to educate local residents, especially young people, about keeping them out of trouble. Many of them closed their ears and mocked all of us for the try. Most of them eventually were no longer seen on the boulevard. Most were “away” — a few (too few) moved elsewhere with their families who hoped to give them another chance away from their “friends”.

For a while, the boulevard’s reputation began to improve. Property assessments rose as a result. Community pride was again being reflected with major business improvements and enthusiastic boulevard patrons.

There is a saying, "If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” The boulevard’s bad historical baggage emerged again — different players, but a similar game. The boulevard again has Big Bully Boys trying to bring this community, (and anyone who doesn’t agree with their warped aggressive attitudes) down. The bullies are middle-school and high-school age, and older. They stride, shoulder to shoulder, walking along the boulevard, discarding their trash along the way. When asked to please stop littering (which is subject to fine), their response is to smirk and drop some more. Some people call that “In your face.” Some call it a “dis” (for “disrespect”) and some call it “looking for trouble.” It is all the same thing.

The next step in this type of attitude has been to steal something from one of the vendor stands, particularly fruit. These are then used as missiles to hurl at someone, or at cars or trucks traveling through what drivers might reasonably expect to be a safe corridor. Not so! Serious accidents have been caused by less than that, and drivers infected by road rage have killed for less than that! Did that fruit pitcher ever think of that? I doubt it. Did the fruit pitcher ever think (or care) that if that missile hit someone with certain health ailments that “prank” might result in serious injury or even death. Tears seldom wash away the results of crime — not even if it is “only mischief.”

We are most grateful for the support of the police officers and Commanding Officer Glen Kotowski of the 105th Precinct. One young man previously known to one of the business owners as a very nice boy, was warned several times that he had been pointed out as one of the major troublemakers. His denials, punctuated by his disrespectful attitude, did not convince anyone of his innocence. He was warned to stop, warned to stay away from anyone trying to get him into trouble, warned, particularly, against illegal activity against someone of a different race

Many years ago, this community was applauded for the way integration took place here. I was one of the ones who spoke out for equal rights. I felt, and still feel, that anyone who is law-abiding and respectful of the right of others should be welcomed anywhere in this country. “White flight,” as well as the flight of many black families, took place when minor and then major crime moved in.

Let’s really try to be good neighbors and support the police before things ever get out of hand again.

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