Posted by: vote4claxton | October 19, 2008

VIOLENCE IN FAR ROCKAWAY

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2008/10/18/2008-10-18_rockaways_wild_west_housing_project_101s.html

Rockaways’ ‘Wild West’: Housing project, 101st Precinct see crime wave

Sunday, October 19th 2008, 1:23 AM

DeCrescenzo for News

A sharp uptick in robberies and felony assaults at the 1,800-unit Ocean Bay Apartments in Far Rockaway is troubling residents and police.

A recent spike in crime in the Rockaways is causing added misery for residents of a local housing complex already plagued by violence.

There have been 10 homicides so far this year in the 101st Precinct, up from four during the same period last year, according to new NYPD statistics.

Robberies and felony assaults are also up in the precinct, which patrols the Ocean Bay Apartments in Far Rockaway.

Beleaguered residents of the nearly 1,800-unit housing project said the area is becoming like the Wild West, with gun violence on a regular basis.

“It’s very difficult raising kids in a development where there’s shooting every day,” said one mother of four who was afraid to give her name. “I feel like giving up on this place. I’m ready to go. It’s getting out of hand.”

Marq Claxton, a retired cop and cofounder of the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, described the Ocean Bay Apartments as “a fishbowl of violence and apathy.”

“It’s amazing that the front of the projects are at war with the back of the projects,” Claxton said of the gang violence.

Ocean Bay residents said the area had become safer over the last few years because of several Housing Authority initiatives.

However, recently paroled felons have returned to the complex and the violence has resumed, according to locals.

“It’s all gang-related and then there are the retaliations,” said another mother of four. “A lot of them come home from jail and reignite it. The same beef carries on. Some who haven’t been to jail just want to make a name for themselves.”

Community organizers are trying to arrange a gun buyback program for Far Rockaway. Such programs have been successful in other parts of the city, but District Attorney Richard Brown has yet to commit to such a program for Queens.

“No decisions have been made whether we’re going to participate,” a spokeswoman for Brown said. “We’re studying everything about the program.”

Local precincts are dangerously overextended, Claxton said, because the peninsula doesn’t have a dedicated housing police unit.

“How can they be expected to patrol the streets and housing projects at the same time?” asked Claxton, who is mulling a run for City Council. “It’s not done anywhere else in the city. It’s putting extra pressure on the precinct.”

One resident said the elevators have become one of the most dangerous places in Ocean Bay.

“Some of the drug pushers have keys to the elevators,” said the man, who did not want to give his name for fear of retaliation. “They’re holding up the elevators at certain times of night. They turn the elevator back on when they feel like it.”

Ed Williams, head of the local NAACP chapter in Far Rockaway, said that outside gangs are also fighting for turf in the area.

“MS 13 is coming out of Hempstead and into the Rockaways,” Williams said of the notoriously violent Latino gang. “The gangs are a lot more visible now.”

For residents, however, there’s no relief in sight to the violence.

“You got to watch out if a bullet is going to fly at you in broad daylight,” said one mother. “These kids need to calm down and stop the foolishness. It’s like the Wild West out here.”

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