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Police, pols: More ‘snitches’ needed to stop C’Hill, F’Greene shootings

Police, pols: More ‘snitches’ needed to stop C’Hill, F’Greene shootings
Photo by Jason Speakman

Gun violence is on the rise in Clinton Hill and Fort Greene, but local police didn’t even realize the problem was so bad until recently because residents weren’t reporting the crimes, claims the neighborhoods’ top cop.

“We had problem areas that looked totally fine on paper,” said Capt. Peter Fiorillo, commanding officer of the 88th Precinct at a town-hall meeting about the escalating violence on Wednesday. “We just weren’t getting complaints.”

There have been 15 shootings that wounded 18 people in the precinct this year — compared with eight shootings injuring 12 people during the same period last year, according to police data.

But authorities can’t stop the bullets flying until more community members take pride in pointing the finger at local lawbreakers, said officials.

“Snitching is a badge of honor,” said Public Advocate Letitia James, who appeared at the event alongside Borough President Adams, echoing statements they made at an anti-gun-violence rally outside Borough Hall earlier this month.

The Beep, a former lieutenant, said parents need to search their kids’ rooms to make sure crime is not beginning in their own homes.

“Too many times I’ve heard, ‘My baby wouldn’t do that,’ ” said Adams. “Then we find out that ‘your baby’ was the king head of the whole operation.”

Full house: Concerned residents packed Emmanuel Baptist Church for a town hall on public safety in the wake of shootings in Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Photo by Jason Speakman

The police department must also assign more manpower to the precinct, said James. The neighboring 79th Precinct, which covers part of Bedford-Stuyvesant, had a comparable 17 shootings this year but has twice as many officers as the 112 who serve the 88th, she said, and the department needs to close the gap.

“That is unacceptable,” said James, who lives in Clinton Hill and represented all three neighborhoods as a councilwoman.

The two precincts have roughly similar crime rates, but the 79th Precinct serves almost 40,000 more residents, according to police data.

Police brass said more officers are headed to both beats. For more than a decade, police have sent most new academy graduates to the highest-crime neighborhoods in the city, but this year, it is doling out rookies across all 98 Brooklyn precincts, said Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez. So far, the department has assigned 10 new officers to the 88th Precinct, and 33 to the 79th, he said.

But the lawmen didn’t agree that more squad cars on the streets would stop the shootings. They say it is only a handful of nogoodniks engaging in gunplay, but their officers can’t collar the crooks without the help of law-abiding residents.

“The police have a saying — ‘100 percent of the crime is committed by 10 percent of the people,’” said Gomez. “And they are ruining it for all of us.”

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at hmaccormac[email protected]local.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @HMacBKPaper.
Reaching out: Nicholas Heyward Sr., whose son was killed by a police officer in 1994, made an emotional appeal to the police.
Photo by Jason Speakman

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