They’re orange with outrage.
Students in a north Bronx police precinct where shootings have doubled in the last year decked themselves out in orange garb —what they call the “official color of gun violence awareness” — on Thursday June 12 as they joined a local councilman to call for an end to gun-related bloodshed.
“Stop the violence! Increase the peace!” chanted Councilman Andy King (D–Williamsbridge) alongside a pack of local public school kids in front of Baychester Academy at Baychester Avenue and Boston Road.
The Council has named June “Official Gun Violence Awareness Month,” with orange as its “official” color. But locals living in the 47th Precinct have been aware of the danger for many years.
The number of people shot in the 47th Precinct — covering Baychester, Eastchester, Williamsbridge, and Edenwald — shot to 25 this year, compared to 12 shootings over the same time in 2013.
Eight people have been killed in the precinct this year — with five killings in May alone, according to the NYPD’s statistics.
New police outreach
The violence spike has inspired the precinct brass to try new tactics. They launched the “Building Bridges” program to create a database of community tipsters who could help track down offenders.
Cops have also spent the last month knocking on doors to make contact with at least one family on every block in the precinct. Police then send a weekly e-mail to locals with information about crime trends.
That outreach will help create a trust between the community and the police by putting a face on the department, according to the precinct’s top cop.
“It’s important to have a one-and-one with a police officer outside of a 911 call, or someone getting arrested or getting a summons,” said Deputy Inspector Ruel Stephenson. “There’s not one fix, but this is one of the ways we can tackle the increase we’re seeing.”
King: Looking fly
King added that his office would play its part in cleaning up crime by launching a street-cleaning initiative in the neighborhood, embracing the “broken windows” theory of tackling small quality of life issues the city launched in the 1990s that some say helped dramatically reduce crime.
“One of the things we can do is create an environment that we respect,” King said.
King — who has become famous for his sartorial styles — sported an orange windbreaker paired with an orange shirt, orange corduroy pants, orange suede shoes and his signature orange bow tie.