“There hasn’t been a shooting in Roy Wilkins park for years,” said Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Marmara at the 113th Precinct's Community Council’s monthly meeting.
CO Marmara was addressing the issue of the recent shootings, five in total, that have taken place in the precinct over the past three weeks.
One shooting involved a dispute over a parking space. A second involved two cab drivers. The fatal shooting in the Roy Wilkins Park took place on the basketball courts and was between rival gang members. A driver was the target at a shooting on 140th behind the Senior Center and CO Marmara mentioned an uncooperative witness in the shooting on 140th and 181st Street.
Of the five shootings, three remain unsolved.
The recent spate of gun violence brought Councilman I. Daneek Miller out to the meeting. Earlier that day, he stood with members of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus on the steps of City Hall to petition Mayor de Blasio to do more to keep NYC streets safe. They pleaded for the hiring of additional officers. The Councilmembers were responding to an increase in shootings citywide of more than 25%. That night, however, the Councilman’s focus was on the shootings in the District.
“We are addressing the issue of gun violence and how to be safe in the District,” he told residents.
Councilman Miller is working with the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus on “a gun violence task force,” he said. He encouraged residents to join his email blasts to follow their efforts by sending their information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an interview after the meeting, the Councilman wanted to shift the focus from the policing standpoint of the issue, to the community. “Real change comes from us,” he said.
The Councilman recently toured the area with LifeCamp founder Erica Ford. The group promotes Peace as a Lifestyle and has a track record of gun violence prevention in the precinct. “There are a lot of people on the ground, dealing with our youth,” he said.
As Memorial Day fast approaches and the house party season begins, the focus on the youth increases. “These parties can easily turn into a shooting,” said CO Marmara.
Mayor de Blasio has not indicated whether there will be an increase in the number of officers. CO Marmara frequently credits the low crime statistics in the area to impact officers, extra officers put on special detail around the precinct.
The meeting was held on Monday, May 19th at New Jerusalem Church.