Residents to witnesses: Please snitch!

The Bronx Park East Community Association took to the streets on June 19 to combat a rash of gun violence happening at and around the Pelham Parkway Houses.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

Police at the 49th Precinct have yet to track down the person who shot the bullet that grazed the forehead of a 20-year-old on Williamsbridge Road, across the street from a Pelham Parkway housing project on June 9.

Now, a group of activists want to make sure that next time, those living in the Pelham Parkway Houses speak up about the violence around them — and help the cops crack down on the culprits.

Scared to ‘snitch’

“We live in this culture of ‘snitches get stitches, don’t be a rat,’” said Kenny Agosto of the Bronx Park East Community Association, which organized a “peace march” with nearby students and seniors Thursday, June 22 outside the New York City Housing Authority building.

The 20-year-old victim and Pelham Houses resident was hanging with a group of friends outside 2355 Williamsbridge Road around 2 am when another group came by and shot at him, according to the police report filed at the 49th Precinct.

Agosto said that locals at the housing complex are afraid to speak up about what they know about the violence.

“It’s the ‘Bronx mystery,’” he said. “Someone gets shot, and there are 50 people outside and nobody will say what happened.”

Truly a danger?

Only a handful of locals actually showed up to Thursday’s “peace march.” Organizers chalked up the paltry turnout to rainy weather, and the state Regents exams held that day.

But police at the stationhouse — which last year boasted some of the city’s lowest rates of violent crime — said that the Pelham Parkway Houses are actually pretty peaceful already.

“The Pelham Houses has had its times of violence, but for the most part it’s been one of the safest houses in our command,” said Det. Vic DiPierro, community affairs officer at the precinct.

DiPierro added that the precinct was devoting extra officers to the complex during the crime-prone summer months, and that locals who witness crimes can call community affairs at (718) 918–2032 with anonymous tips.

“Even one report of a crime there is too much,” he said.

City cameras en route

The houses will also soon have security cameras helping to keep an eye out, thanks to over $4 million in funding secured by Councilman Jimmy Vacca.

Momentum had been building for the cameras since 88-year-old Evelyn Shapiro was killed inside her apartment in 2012.

It was the first murder at the housing complex in 30 years, though police have reported drug dealing and gang activity in the area.

Work began in early June on 375 cameras throughout the site’s 23, six-story buildings, said a housing authority spokesman. Installation is expected to be done by the end of the year.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
Tracy and Emma Alvarado, Chrisbelly Contreras, Toni’Ann Auggins, Celeste Pasian, and Stacy Obeng are all fed up with violence in their neighborhood.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

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