A high-profile rape in Fort Greene last Thursday unleashed pent-up frustration from neighborhood residents who say they feel the neighborhood is becoming dangerous — even though statistics show that crime keeps falling.
Residents and elected officials rallied last Friday, one day after the 6 am attack on the woman, who was at the corner of Fulton and St. Felix streets when she was struck from behind and sexually assaulted.
“The nature of that crime was incredibly brutal. It sent shockwaves throughout the entire neighborhood,” said Paul Palazzo, president of the Fort Greene Association.
Captain Anthony Tasso, the commanding officer of the 88th Precinct, which covers Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, said that no arrests have been made.
“But we’ve increased our uniformed patrolman coverage to put more of a presence in the area,” Tasso told The Brooklyn Paper. He added that the investigation suggests that the attack was “an isolated incident.”
Nonetheless, many residents of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have complained to Tasso that the gains in neighborhood security made in recent years are in jeopardy.
“Compstat [the police department’s crime statistics system] is a tool and may say that crime is down, but the eyes and ears of the community are tools, too, and they say that something is going on,” he said.
Last year ended with major crimes down three percent compared to 2007 and down 77 percent since 1990 for the precinct.
But robberies and burglaries both spiked in 2008 compared to the previous year and these property crimes could be contributing to mounting anxiety. There was also a jarring daylight shootout on Fulton Street that killed one man in October.
Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Clinton Hill), one of several pols to appear at last Friday’s rally, reiterated her position that the 88th Precinct “is definitely understaffed,” and believes that shoplifting in the Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls diverts too many police resources away from the rest of the district.
She did say that she was “satisfied” with the police response to the rape last week.
The suspect in the rape is described as a black man with a Nigerian accent who was wearing a dark-colored hat with a scarf covering his face at the time of the attack. Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All information will be kept confidential.
©2009 Community News Group
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