Kerry Burke et al., New York Daily News, October 24, 2020
Bullets fly all over New York City — cops count a 92% increase in shootings this year — and in the worst-hit area of all, Marvada Barthelemy raises the son of one of the dead and wonders why no one can stop the carnage.
“There is nothing we can do,” said Barthelemy, 40, an Amazon warehouse worker who lives in the Howard Houses in Brooklyn, scene of four shooting murders so far this year, more than any other city housing project.
Barthelemy’s boyfriend, Jamal Windley, 47, was shot June 22 in one of the East New York project’s courtyards. The shooting and the shooter were captured on video — but so far, cops have not made any arrests.
Howard Houses has 10 tall red-brick buildings set among grass lawns and trees typical of New York City Housing Authority projects of its era.
When it opened in 1955, a Daily News writer hailed Howard Houses as one of three NYCHA projects “rising out of what was once the worst slum area in Brooklyn,” which had been dominated by the infamous Italian and Jewish “Murder Inc.” gangsters.
Gang violence reigns again in the old neighborhood.
“It’s public housing at its worst,” a veteran NYPD Housing Bureau officer said of the Howard Houses.
“There are remnants of drug use in the hallways and stairwells — blood splatter, needles, broken glass,” said the officer, who asked that his name not be used.
Howard Houses is thick with members of the Bloods gang, the veteran cop said.
It’s not easy for the officers to keep up with the shootings. “Every day, it seems like the FIOs (Field Intelligence Officers) are handing out wanted posters for new shootings to cops who are demoralized and burnt out, and expecting them to run out and catch these guys,” said the officer.
Citywide, homicides and shootings are up sharply.
Through Friday, police counted 371 homicides in the city this year. Compared to the same period of 2019, that’s an increase of 34%.
When its data on housing project crime was last updated Oct. 18, the NYPD counted 59 homicides in NYCHA property, up 41% from the same period of 2019
The murder rate is far worse in NYCHA projects than elsewhere. As of Oct. 18, the projects have seen 15.5 homicides per 100,000 people, compared to 4 per 100,000 elsewhere in the city.
As of Friday, shooting incidents are up 92% citywide in 2020, the NYPD says.
Police counted 257 shooting incidents in NYCHA projects this year as of Oct. 18, also a 92% increase over 2019. Sixty-seven shootings were reported per 100,000 NYCHA residents, compared to 12 per 100,000 in the rest of the city.