NYPD Commissioner Sewell tours crime-ravaged Staten Island neighborhood

Friday, June 9, 2023
NYPD commissioner tours crime-ravaged Staten Island neighborhood
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NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell walked the streets of the Stapleton, Staten Island, where there has been a surge in gun violence, some of it deadly. NJ Burkett has more.

STAPLETON, Staten Island (WABC) -- Homicides may be way down in New York City, but in a section of Staten Island, they are way up.

Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett visited one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods with NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who walked the streets of the Stapleton section of Staten Island, where there has been a surge in gun violence, some of it deadly.

"The neighborhood is dangerous," Staten Island resident Samantha Ulloa said.

Ulloa says it's terrifying to live here. The Stapleton section of Staten Island is now one of the most dangerous places in the entire city. She fears not just for herself, but for her adult son who is mentally ill.

"I'm so scared something's going to happen to him," Ulloa said.

RELATED: Eyewitness News is tracking crime and safety across New York City and in your neighborhood

Ulloa had tears when talking about her son.

"Tears because I love him, I love my baby," she said.

The fear is so real that NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell was determined to see for herself by touring the neighborhood with her top commanders.

She listened to residents and merchants, elected leaders and community outreach workers, searching for strategies and solutions.

"They want us here and they want to see more police," Sewell said. " They want to have that visible presence, walking in the streets, interacting with them."

In a city where murders are down nearly 14%, homicides have more than doubled in Stapleton, with nine so far this year.

There were three shootings this past weekend, and just three weeks ago, a 13-year-old was struck and killed by a stray bullet fired by a 16-year-old.

"He was playing and having a wonderful time. And now he's gone," First Central Baptist Church Rev. Antoinette Donegan said. "It's the generation and it's unfortunate and it has to stop."

Dozens of officers are being reassigned to the 120th Precinct, which had been understaffed.

"Forty additional cops from outside of Staten Island," NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said. "Three lieutenants, five sergeants, 40 police officers under the leadership of a captain will come out here and assist, as well."

Community outreach will be stepped up in places like the Stapleton Houses, where the Gerard Carter Center offers teens a refuge and a way forward.

Stapleton resident Tia Mapp met the commissioner and was practically speechless.

"It's a special thing because she's a Black woman in charge," Mapp said. "And that's something that you don't see every day and I know that a lot of girls and boys and children are going to look up to her and be very proud that she's in charge and know that they can be in charge, too, by seeing her."

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