This corner has been much talked-about, and many of us have complained to the cops. General complaints don't usually get taken seriously, though. Call in a "thugs loitering" complaint and cops will blow it off. Say "there's drugs being dealt at..." and you'll get a shrug. Maybe a patrol car will slowly drive by. But now, ladies and gentlemen, we have something very, very specific to note. It's no longer too "general."
Six short weeks ago, Eric Adams issued a response to our neighborhood concerning what he felt was shrill and ineffective nagging coming from the internets. His well-written, though dismissive, plea sounded a simple refrain - I can't do it alone, we ALL need to be vigilant and contructive in combating crime - All well and good. Neighbors have started to create grassroots task forces, both in PLG and around the Parade Grounds, and have tried to build consensus and get the word out about crime prevention tactics. But remember, we're novices. We're not elected. And we don't get paid to chase bad guys.
Now, please, Senator, Councilman, Assemblyman, Precinct Commander...CALL FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES IF YOU MUST. BUT PUT SOME GODDAMN UNIFORMS ON THE GROUND. NOW.
We're not (all) a bunch of namby pamby yuppies who can't handle a street scene. We live in Brooklyn for chrisakes, and we know what that entails. If we were generally afraid of, say, loitering, we wouldn't be living in Upper East Flatbush. Most of us know the difference between a bunch of friends chilling and talking trash, and the kind of action that leads to violence. Drugs. Guns. Intimidation. Specific toughs "hanging out" with no day job but plenty of purpose. Long time residents and newbies alike can tell a drug corner when we see it. And Flatbush at Maple was a clear front-runner for worst corner, and now, just steps from the Senator's office, we see bullet holes from what could easily have been the worst night by far in the life of some unlucky parent.
Not to pick on you Senator Adams, but your words of just a few weeks ago ring hollow now. You said:
As a point of information, my office has met on several occasions with the 71st
Precinct concerning several alleged drug locations on Flatbush Avenue, some of
which are located near our district office. Due to the sensitivity of the
issue, there is little information that we can reveal to you at this time, but
we can assure you that positive steps are being initiated to address the issue.
Additionally, as you may be aware, we are pleased to inform you that subsequent
to our meeting, one major location, which was housed in an apartment building on
Beekman Place, has been shut down. There are others on the radar of the
Precinct and we have received every assurance that actions are being taken.
I got a 'craaaaazy" idea that just might work: Try putting a couple of friggin' cops on the corner day and night until the dealers get a hint. Try a sting and shut down any businesses on Flatbush that have dealings with dealers. How about two beat or undercover cops strolling up and down Flatbush? Any fool can see the street needs your help...Senator, Councilman, Assemblyman, Inspector. We'll be happy to help in any way we can...I mean, you should keep at us, tell us we're not reporting crime nearly enough, that we're not organizing, or being vigilant, or "working together with you." But in the meantime, take some common sense and elbow grease and do something...and next time, if we get all "shrill" on the internets, or on the phone, or at neighborhood meetings.,.why not take us seriously for a change?
UPDATE: See Senator Adams Comment. The cops have a different version of the story. So I guess it was just guys arguing over sneakers! Whew...that's a relief! Regardless of the "motive," toughs with guns felt emboldened to hold a shootout at a Flatbush store. I frankly doubt that there wasn't some "backstory" involved. Whether you call it "gangs" or "drugs" makes no difference to me. It's the attitude that ours is lawless neighborhood that worries me. But I AM gonna have a hard time letting go of the Maserati angle...