As one of the two young black men gunned down on Christmas Eve in Clinton Hill was laid to rest last week about 60 residents and lawmakers decried the continued surge of violent crime in Central Brooklyn. The vigil was held outside the home of Robert Grant, 19 about a block away from where he and his friend Oliver Maitland, 16, were both shot once in the head on Lefferts Place near Classon Avenue just before 9:45 p.m. on December 24. We are sick and tired of our young men being gunned down in cold blood and watching heart broken mothers burying their children, said Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries. Murders are down in New York City, but up in our community, he added. Jeffries urged young people to put the guns down and realize that there are other ways to resolve conflicts that arise between each other. Gang life is not an adequate substitute for family life so its important we strengthen the role that parents and relatives are able to play in the lives of their children, he said. Jeffries also said the tragedy highlights the need for additional police resources in the Clinton Hill community, and particularly in the neighborhoods surrounding the intersection of Classon Avenue and Fulton Street. The mayor and police commissioner announced additional police resources across the city pursuant to Operation Impact, but it doesnt appear there are additional officers slated for the 88th Precinct, said Jeffries. Murder is down across the city, but remains stubbornly high in many of the communities in [Patrol Borough] Brooklyn North, said Jeffries. The same police resources used to drive down homicides in other parts of city must be deployed in our neighborhood to improve the quality of life for our families as well, he added. An impact zone is an area of a precinct deemed high in crime through statistics and then flooded with more police usually rookies just graduating out of the academy. A police source said there was no impact zone in the 88th Precinct because the jurisdiction isnt as large as neighboring police precincts that do have impact zones. Additionally, the source said the precinct has not had a drop of police assigned to the precinct. According to official police statistics, there have been 10 murders in the precinct in 2007 as of Dec. 30 as compared to 11 at this time in 2006. Rapes are up some 42 percent for the year with 10 reported rapes thus far in 2007 as compared to 6 at this time last year. Felony assaults are up almost 13 percent with 159 such crimes reported in 2007 as compared to 136 in 2006. On the other side, both reported robberies and burglaries have dropped considerably. Burglary is down 22.4 percent with 145 reported through Dec. 30 in 2007 as compared to 187 at the end of 2006. Robbery is down a little more than 18 percent with 213 reported crimes this year as compared to 261 at this time in 2006. Overall major crime is down about 4 percent for the year. Both Jeffries and City Councilmember Letitia James also said the city must put up funds for more community centers and after school programs in the same way that they foster and often subsidize luxury housing development in the area. Following the vigil, Grants funeral was held at Brown Memorial Baptist Church, 438 Washington Avenue. Meanwhile police sources said the execution-style murders of Grant and Maitland remains under investigation and no arrests have been made. State Sen. Eric Adams, a former NYPD member, who was also at the vigil, urged the community residents with any information on the vicious crime to come forward. This crime can only be solved with the involvement of the community. Our streets will only be safe when the residents hold criminals accountable by reporting eyewitness information to police, said Adams. Cops are also asking anyone with information regarding these killings to come forward. Tipsters, police said, could receive up to $2,000 for information that lead to the gunmans arrest and indictment. Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. Calls can also be made to the 88th Precinct at 636-6511. All calls will be kept confidential.
©2008 Community News Group
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