The Countdown to Tragedy or Hope

“It’s been 21 days since our last shooting.”

approved logo orange on top black sosThis should not be something to be proud of, but in the often bullet ridden street of Crown Heights, Brooklyn it is. For the community organization Save Our Streets Crown Heights this is a milestone. More often than not gunplay affects the lives of the residents in one of the most violent neighborhoods left in this area. Spanning from just past Utica Avenue to the edge of prospect heights the crime in the 77th Precinct is not on level with other parts of Brooklyn, East New York for example.

S.O.S. though is not patrolling all of Crown Heights, they work from Atlantic Avenue, Eastern Parkway to Kingston and Utica Avenue. This small district keeps the volunteers busy. Working with local Clergy and Police to bridge the gap between the community and the authorities, they serve an important purpose. There have been 10 murders this year in this small district and many of those have been in the S.O.S. district. According to their website there have been no less than 13 community rallies in places of shootings or murders, with close to 20 victims being rallied for.

For their small range in a larger Precinct this is huge, so many victims of gun violence in 2013. It seems they are working against the odds and may not be helping decrease the crime, but it has. According to a report from CNN, community policing does have an effect. They report:

“If you stake out a piece of territory like SOS has, basically a two square mile grid, we can suppress shootings here. We can lower the sosnumber of shootings here and the outreach team here has done that,” said Alan James, program manager at Save Our Streets Crown Heights, a community based project fighting gun violence in one Brooklyn neighborhood.

Besides community policing this organization offers education for single parents on how to keep their children out of gangs and drugs, has art and education programs for the youth, who often don’t have enough space to play and just be kids, and many other programs.

Two Square miles may not seem like much, but if there are 13 community rallies of gun violence-often with multiple victims in a year yet over, this is huge. The ongoing fight in the community against violence shows that this is not a neighborhood to be given up on. While the year is not yet done, Save Our Streets Crown Heights is not either.

Follow S.O.S. on Twitter @SOSCrownHeights

Facebook for S.O.S.


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