Posted by: vote4claxton | July 11, 2008

URBANOMICS – Amsterdam News 7/10/08

 

 

 

 

URBANOMICS
by CYRIL ”JOSH” BARKER
Amsterdam News Staff

Thursday, July 10, 2008

 

 
 
 

 

With monies being cut from city programs, and with the mercury rising as summer gets into its stride, reports are already coming in of deadly crimes involving teens. The latest was on Sunday, where a 15-year-old Harlem resident was shot in the torso by a stray bullet. Police report that Nathan Allsbrook was walking home near 127th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard with a friend when a gun someone was playing with went off. Police have not made any arrests. As summer comes in and school lets out, the city is faced with a scene that seems to happen year after year—a crime rate that mocks the temperature gauge. And with a lack of funding by the city for summer programs to keep kids busy, crimes involving young people are on the rise. The recent passing of a $59.1 billion budget is already showing signs of a summer that will leave some of the city’s poorest and most disadvantaged youth with little to look forward to this season. The City Council passed a bill on Sunday that left only $18 million for public housing. As result, half of the 286 community centers in the system will have to close citywide. It would take $30 million to keep them all open. Two thousand summer jobs for youth have also been lost as a result of the budget. The Department of Youth and Community Development is seeing a 20 percent cut. The passed budget could likely contribute to the rise in crimes among youth. On Monday, neighborhood residents gathered at the site where Allsbrook was killed for a vigil. Friends of Allsbrook from school, parents, community activists, clergy and even strangers came by to pay their respects at the somber gathering. Residents offered ideas about giving students summer programs and jobs to cut down on crime. “I’ve known him since third grade,” said Darrin Gaines, 15, a friend of Allsbrook. “We were best friends and we used to tell people we were cousins but we really weren’t. There is no reason this should’ve happened.” Allsbrook’s mother was on hand to receive support from friends and relatives nearly 24 hours after losing her son to gun violence. She thanked everyone for their support during her time of grief and for helping her take care of her son. “I want to give my heart to [the neighbors] for helping me raise my son when I wasn’t available, ”she said tearfully.“ I was in school and I didn’t have enough time for my son and I love everybody. Please don’t for-get my son.” Other speakers said that Allsbrook loved basketball and computers and also tutored other kids on his block. A basketball was passed around at Monday’s vigil for people to sign with messages of thanks and remembrance. Many residents gave speeches about a problem that is all too familiar. “Our Black community has lost a sense of reality and Black pride,” said Dawn Clark, who attended the vigil.“ Black people are exploited and what people don’t realize is that we have a history. We need programs in this community to get these kids off of the streets and they need jobs. Enough is enough.” Assemblyman Keith Wright was on hand to give support to the mother of the victim and spoke to concerned residents about the shooting. He began an organization called Harlem Mothers Save for mothers of victims killed by neighborhood violence. Allsbrook was killed just steps away from the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building where many Harlem elected officials work. Wright said,“ Parents need to step up in our communities. Men have to step up. The hardest thing to do is to raise a young Black boy to become a man.” Allsbrook is one of many victims and illustrates the hike in crimes as summer begins. The NYPD is reporting that from June 16 through June 22,there were 11 murders compared to the nine last year during the same week—a 22.2-percent jump. So far this year, the city has seen a 7-percent increase in murders compared to last year. There have been 238 murders so far in 2008,a jump from 221 last year. During the time of Alls- brook’s death a number of other senseless killings took place across the area involving teens. On Saturday, a Brooklyn teen was shot once in the chest in Flatbush. Police are investigating the shooting death of the 17-year-old male. Police are also still investigating the stabbing death of a 15-year-old Queens girl after a dispute at a bus stop.
In Newark,18-year-old Sujieti Ocasio was shot and killed in front of her home just hours after she attended her graduation from Barringer High School. Police have arrested another teen girl, 18-year-old Nicole Guyette. The two teens got into an argument before Guyette shot Ocasio in the neck.
“The temperature is going up and a lot of people are out on the street not going to school and you’ve got people not occupying time,” said Marq Claxton of 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care.“It goes to show you that we are in desperate need of community intervention. We have to take control of the neighborhoods where we live. Everyone knows about the lack of governmental funding, so if we don’t get that, we still have a responsibility ourselves to secure and protect our own community.” Claxton added that parents need to take greater measures when it comes to knowing about what goes on in their children’s lives. He advises parents to “police their homes” and become more involved in their children’s activities.

 

 

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