The top priorities for one of the busiest police precincts in the borough involves drugs, gangs and 14-year-old-girls; but not necessarily in that order.
In the past few months incidents of 14-year-old teenage girls robbing and assaulting each other in the 49th Precinct have sky rocketed. The altercations, most of which are occurring around the Pelham Parkway Houses, have even led to one shooting.
“Fourteen-year-old girls are the biggest problem in my precinct,” Captain Kevin Nicholson told a stunned crowd at the 49 th Precinct Community Council meeting last month. “It’s an alarming thing for the police department that these girls are robbing other girls.”
Most of the incidents involve assaults and robberies, where kids are jumping other kids and stealing iPods and pocket money, Nicholson said.
The most recent incident took place on Friday, October 15, when two girls beat up a 15-year-old on Bronxwood Avenue, and stole $100 and an identification card.
The day before that, a 13-year-old was punched in the face on Pelham Parkway South and Wallace Avenues after she left school. The two female teen assailants took the girl’s cell phone and bookbag.
A few weeks before that, an altercation between two girls led to a 15-year-old boy getting shot.
The list gones on and onwith similar stories dating back to April of this year, which is when the spike began, the captain said.
“Since April, I hadn’t seen this at all,” he said.
Community Council president Joe Thompson said that while he is alarmed by the incidents, he is not surprised that girls are now more involved in crime.
With most of the anti-crime programs and community vigilance targeted at males between 13 and 21 years old, girls have been neglected.
“They’ve been off the radar,” he said. “We spend all our time and energy on why boys are in gangs and develop programs just for that, but women play an important part in what happens with young kids. They play an important part of how we react and a lot more attention must be paid to girls.”
He said with the recent spike, he hopes the programs will start being geared towards all teenagers that are at risk for committing crimes.
“Maybe with these new numbers this will be encouraged,” he said.“We have to reprogram our thinking and we’ve got to develop programs and mentors to address those problems.”
Captain Nicholson said the precinct has started implementing a zero tolerance policy when it comes to violent teenage girls.
“If there’s a particular reason to arrest a person, they will be arrested,” he said. “If we don’t’ stop this, it will be a continuing trend.”