|Police have beefed up their foot patrols around Creston Ave. in the 46th Precinct.|
Editor's note: This story first appeared in the May edition of the Mt. Hope Monitor.
Photo and Story by Giovanny Fausto Pinto
In April, residents within the 46th Precinct saw the coming of spring and three brutal murders.
Following the murders, all shootings, including a brazen teen-on-teen killing during rush hour near bustling Burnside Avenue, local residents fear the situation may only get worse.
“Crime was getting better and now there is no control,” said a 35-year-resident of the area who only wished to be identified as Eddie. “People need to take care of these kids.”
In front of the Pizza shop where Eddie stopped to get a bite to eat stood the stark reminder of violence, a street memorial of candles, flowers, and empty liquor bottles.
“Summer is coming,” he added as a forewarning. “They ain’t seen nothing yet.”
The Burnside incident occurred on April 12, around 6 p.m. when police say 17-year-old Shamal Coles shot and killed 16-year-old Dontae Murray, also wounding another man. According to a police press release, cops patrolling nearby heard the gunshots and after a brief chase apprehended Coles, who allegedly was in possession of a .380-caliber gun. Coles has been charged with 2nd degree murder, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon.
Recently, a large police presence could be felt along Burnside Avenue with numerous cops stationed at various corners, walking the streets, or cruising around in patrol cars.
Despite the infusion of officers, residents remain cautious. An elderly man crossing the street did not want to be interviewed for fear of retribution, a common fear. “You want me to get killed,” he said. “It’s everywhere.”
Less than three blocks away lay the scene of another grizzly murder.
“I was walking home from Church on Sunday at 2 p.m. and I see a guy dead on the corner,” said Michelle G., a local resident, referring to the murder of a Bridgeport, Conn. man that occurred near E. 182nd Street and Creston Avenue.
While the police have not released any motives or leads in that incident, The Hour, an independent newspaper from Norwalk, Conn., reported that Norman McCassling, the man killed on Creston, was a suspected drug dealer. Last March, the paper reported that McCassling was shot in Norwalk in an apparent drug deal gone wrong and found with crack on his person when.
At the nearby 182nd Street D-Train subway station, a tattered sign was posted offering $1,000 leading to the arrest of anyone who posses an illegal firearm.
On April 19 in front of 1668 Davidson Avenue, Ernest Atiso was shot in the torso inside a gray 2007 Dodge Charger. Atiso was transported to St. Barnabas Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Crime statistics posted online for the 46th precinct ending the week of April 17 show a spike in murders, up to five so far this year, from two during the same period last year. This doesn’t include the April 19 murder, which would bring the total to 6, half of last years total of 12, only four months into the year.
Police at the 46th Precinct did not respond to inquiries for this article in time.
“There are signs citywide that crime is up in certain areas. Police are trying to address the new surge. The delay of the NYPD Academy class doesn’t help,” said Xavier Rodriguez, district manager of Community Board 5, referring to the city’s recent decision to delay the addition of rookie cops as a cost-saving measure. “I would ask citizens to play their part. Especially parents.”