Residents in poor New York neighborhoods ask, ‘Where are the police?’

The title of this post is inspired by and picked up almost verbatim from a 1,000-word lamentation at Reuters delivered with not so much as a lick of irony.

The first couple paragraphs of the piece paint a grim picture of Marcy Houses, a dangerous public housing development in Brooklyn. The 27 six-story brick buildings that comprise the project were immortalized in song by former resident Jay-Z, who described it as “a block away from hell” and a place where “news cameras never come.”

“In recent years,” write the article’s authors, Emily Flitter And Luciana Lopez:

Marcy has had a group of very reliable visitors: the police, who patrol on foot and in cars as part of a controversial “broken windows” strategy that focuses on cracking down on small crimes to prevent bigger ones. Until three weeks ago, they had been an ever-present, highly visible presence in Marcy Houses.

Now, the police have all but disappeared, raising safety concerns among some residents while pleasing others who view the police strategy as oppressive. A reporter saw only one police car on a visit on Thursday.

The shooting of two police officers in their patrol car a block away from the development on Dec. 20 has widened a rift between the police unions and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who they accuse of making anti-police statements and fuelling a hostile environment for police, allegations he denies.

The writers go on to wring their hands over the precipitous decline in arrests and court summonses across the city since the shooting (actually since the mayor’s ill-chosen lecture on racism) and the climate of fear that has descended like a dark cloud over Marcy Houses and similar low-income communities. A section of the article subheaded “Too Afraid to Go Out” features firsthand impressions from frightened residents.

Conspicuously absent from the piece is any mention of the anti-police protests that continue to be staged under the umbrella hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. In the most recent of these rallies, held yesterday, a group of demonstrators blocked a commuter train carrying football fans to the AFC playoff game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. A press release announcing the protest demanded “an end to the war on Black communities across the county.” Maybe Reuters should send reporters back to Marcy Houses to get the residents’ take on this demand and on exactly who is waging war on their homes.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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