Cops converge on Flatbush ‘shooting gallery’

Cops converge on Flatbush ‘shooting gallery’
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

A Flatbush “shooting gallery” is getting some extra attention by some state-of-the-art robocops.

An NYPD “SkyWatch” has been placed at the corner of E. 21st Street and Newkirk Avenue last week in the hopes to both deter criminal activity within its eyeshot.

At the same time, added patrols have been placed along Flatbush and Newkirk avenues in an attempt to tamp down an escalation in violence.

Officials said that three people — including a 13-year-old boy — had been shot on Newkirk Avenue since July 4.

“There have been a number of shootings in the area, so we just want to let the people know that we are around,” Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, the commanding officer of the 70th Precinct, said Monday. “We want to take a proactive approach to the situation.”

Police say that a young man was shot on Newkirk Avenue on July 4. Then, at 1 am on July 27, a second man was shot near the corner of Newkirk Avenue and E. 21st Street, police said.

A cruel pattern began unfolding a few hours later when a 13 year old was shot in the back during a heated exchange at E. 25th Street and Newkirk Avenue at 10:30 am. All three victims survived, police said.

The apparent uptick in violence led Rodriguez to request the extra patrols and the SkyWatch, where video cameras mounted on a 12-foot high platform can record activities stretching for blocks in every direction.

The added resources have been helpful: several arrests were made over the weekend, Rodriguez said, although he couldn’t provide us with any hard numbers.

According to NYPD crime statistics, 1,111 felony crimes have been reported to the 70th Precinct this year as of July 24. On the same date last year, 1,058 crimes — far fewer — had been logged with the Lawrence Avenue station house.

But shootings have been down: 22 shootings had taken place in Flatbush and Midwood by the end of July in 2010. Twenty shootings had been investigated this year, Rodriguez said.

Anyone with information regarding the three shootings that have taken place on Newkirk Avenue is encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at (800) 577-8477. All calls will be kept confidential.