NYPD chief in Queens to discuss crime

May 22, 2008 3:29:47 PM PDT
The goal is to stop the violence in Queens, where two teenagers have been killed in the last week.Things have gotten so bad that NYPD's top cop headed to the neighborhood Thursday to personally meet with the community. They are discussing the recent crimes in Far Rockaway.

Eyewitness News reporter Lauren DeFranco has the story.

If you spend any amount of time at the Redfern housing complex, residents will tell you that survival is a way of life and shootings have become commonplace. Now, local leaders are stepping in. Their plan includes an extra 50 police officers a day on the streets.

"We live with guns daily, day by day," one resident said.

It is a sad commentary for residents of the housing complex. Mourners gathered around what is becoming all too common in the area, a makeshift memorial for yet another victim. This time, it was an innocent 15-year-old girl, Brandon Bethea.

She was killed by a stray bullet last weekend.

But long before her death, Bethea's peers began skirting the dangers that exist in the area.

"I don't come outside," one young resident said. "Because I don't want to get shot."

Since Saturday, there have been three shootings and two tragic deaths in Far Rockaway. Seventeen-year-old Tyrese Johnson was gunned down Monday. Community activists are at a breaking point over the gang banging that leads to murder.

"We don't know what we going to come home to," one resident said. "To bullets by the cops, bullets by the kids, we don't know."

On Thursday, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly and Queens district attorney Richard Brown held an emergency meeting to formulate a plan to stop the violence. Authorities point to a dramatic rise in crime. So far this year, there have been six homicides. That's five more than last year.

"We're really concerned about the crimes of violence, the shootings and the homicides," Kelly said. "And that unfortunately is certainly way too high. So we're going bring some additional resources to bear, and I think we'll see some positive change."

Local leaders came up with a four-point plan that includes installing security cameras, moving out the so-called bad apples and putting a lot of extra cops on the streets.