Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Changes in the 71: News From Crown Heights


According to crownheights.ch. , Inspector Frank Vega, commanding officer of the 71st precinct is due to be transferred in about a week. Many in the Jewish community have accused him of politicising the handling of disputes between African Americans and Jews. Attacks on Jews that seem to have a clear bias motive are reportedly seldom recognised has having a component of bigotry. Conversely, there has been allegations of partiality against Jewish parties in physical alterations involving those who are not Jewish. Most importantly, the process of recording criminal incidents in the 71st precinct has been marred by accusations of misclassification of offenses and loss of reports. It is hoped that future management of the 71 will not be subject to such perceptions in the community.
Crown Heights is a community where harmonious coexistence is a work in progress. No one can pretend we are an oasis of tranquility. Indeed, there were eleven homicides in this precinct in 2007. Dialogue at the leadership and grass roots level has facilitated the perception that we face common problems that require unity and resolve. Law enforcement is a very important component of the economic and social health of the Crown Heights community. For the economic growth in our neighbourhood to continue, there must be a safe environment in which to live and do business. Education and activities for youth are important in directing youth who might be at risk towards constructive pursuits.
There are many in the media and among the "activists for hire" who would preach to the people of Crown Heights. It would be preferable to study this community. Unlike many who pontificate and demonstrate, we are here after the TV crews go home. We have no interest in endangering our children by creating a hostile climate. We seek to define ourselves according to affirmation of values rather than the denigration of each other. Those who live here are building alliances for the common good that transcend what are heated political rivalries on the national level.
This is an amazing community facing daunting challenges. It is a work in progress about which volumes could be written. The next inspector has an opportunity to write a stirring chapter in the history of our much discussed neighborhood. We welcome him and wish him success.

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