49th plans march for peace

In an effort to promote unity and put an end to senseless violence, a march will take place in the 49th Precinct on Thursday, October 14.

The march will seek to highlight growing community concerns about four homicides that took place in a three-block radius in and around two housing developments earlier this year: the “Coops” and Parkside Houses.

The 49th Precinct has hiked up patrols the area, and even used a mobile police command center, perched high above the street, to view activity.

Now residents and police will take to the streets for the fourth ‘Unity in the Community’ march, sponsored by the Neighborhood Development Initiatives Corporation, the 49th Precinct Community Council, and the 49th Precinct Clergy Council. The march will begin at Zimmerman Playground at 6:30 p.m. and make its way through the streets.

Similar marches have taken place recently in Van Nest, Lydig Avenue, and Eastchester Gardens.

“In the early part of the year we had four homicides, roughly half of all of the homicides in the 49th Precinct, in a three-block radius” said 49th Precinct Community Council president Joe Thompson. “But the police have been doing a heck of a job, with the captain having brought in the skyview and an radio car during each tour specifically for this particular area. It has brought the situation under control.”

Thompson said that the goal of the march is to bring the community and police together so that they can work to fight crime. This includes help from NIDC, which wants to establish safe corridors for kids and look-outs for civilian protection.

The crime wave last winter included a chase, during which some bystanders were nearly shot. The murders occurred between Allerton and Adee avenues between White Plains Road and Bronx Park East.

Thompson said that he believes drugs play a role in all of the crimes, and said that without the drug-dealing, he feels violence in the community would subside. He also believes it is important that people from various parts of Community Board 11 band together to fight crime. The march will raise domestic violence awareness as well.

“We expect people from different parts of the community board,” Thompson added, “including the Van Nest Alliance, Morris Park Association, and Pelham Parkway South Neighborhood Association. The only way we can expect to get anything done is to have people from different neighborhoods come into a neighborhood that is having trouble.”

Pastor Jay Gooding, of the 49th Precinct Clergy Council, hopes the march will bring together the community, cops, and clergy to fight crime as one united team.

“We are trying to keep the community aware,” he said, “it is through our efforts that we can bring positive change to the community,”

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