Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street. (Source: Google Maps)
Two men were left injured after a gunman opened fire on a residential street in Coney Island on Saturday, and now elected officials are calling for increasing police resources to the peninsula.
The shooting happened at Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street. The victims, a 22-year-old man who was shot in the neck, and a 32-year-old man shot in his leg, are both in stable condition, Metro reports.
It’s not clear what led to the shooting, but Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Councilman Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny joined the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative yesterday for a rally to request more cops in the area, with a renewed focus on patrolling the residential portion of the neighborhood rather than the amusement area.
The elected leaders also asked that the city use Sandy recover funds to drive an job creation initiative, and that the Housing Authority open up local communal spaces and centers to all residents.
“The west end of Coney Island has historically been ignored and disrespected and not provided the resources and services needed to break this cycle of violence,” Treyger said in a statement on Saturday. “We can’t just focus on the neighborhood during the summer or during events like today’s Brooklyn Half Marathon, when the city reaps the benefits of the amusement area.”
Shootings are actually down in the 60th Precinct for 2014, according to the most recent Compstat data, ending on May 11. By that date, there were four recorded shooting incidents in 2014, as opposed to 11 during the same time period in 2013.
UPDATE (11:45 a.m.): I somehow missed this in my inbox, but Treyger sent out a press release over the weekend with more information on the proposals to make the area safer. From the press release:
He is calling on a number of city agencies to come together and create a comprehensive, all-out campaign to address and overcome violence in Coney Island, including:
- More police resources. This includes additional Parks Enforcement Officers dedicated to Coney Island’s 2.5-mile boardwalk and amusement area, to relieve pressure off the 60th Precinct and allow it to dedicate its officers to patrolling the residential areas. In addition, the NYPD must recognize the need for additional security throughout the community all-year around including mobile command centers.
- Focus by the city and NYCHA on job creation initiatives for local residents, including using Sandy recovery funds. “You can’t just react to violence, you must take steps to prevent it. The best way to take a gun out of someone’s hand is to provide them a job and an opportunity for a better life. NYCHA must join this effort by fulfilling its obligation to provide workforce training, especially in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” said Council Member Treyger.
- NYCHA once again making its community centers and spaces open and accessible during from morning to evening for all residents, and expanding after-school opportunities for children and teens. Council Member Treyger is requesting that NYCHA take inventory of all common and public spaces to determine how they can better be used to benefit residents.
- The forming by Council Member Treyger of a neighborhood clergy council to bring together religious leaders from throughout Coney Island to develop programs and strategies to end the violence. The launch of this effort will now be expedited in light of the recent shootings.
On Thursday, Council Member Treyger stood alongside Urban Neighborhood Services, Senator Diane Savino, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and a number of local anti-violence activists and organizations to announce state funding secured for a Coney Island Anti-Violence Initiative. He is now pushing for funding to expand the city’s anti-violence program to Coney Island.
“I applaud Councilman Mark Treyger for trying to bring as much resources as possible from the New York City Council to fight this epidemic of gun violence which has gripped communities like ours. His leadership on the issue is not only appreciated but sorely needed as it will take all hands on deck to deal with the gun violence crisis in Coney Island,” said Mathylde Frontus, Founder and Executive Director of Urban Neighborhood Services and Acting Chair of the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative.
In addition, as part of his ongoing efforts to get illegal guns off the streets, Council Member Treyger is holding a gun buyback program in partnership with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio on Saturday, May 31st at Coney Island Gospel Assembly. He is also calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to include the hiring of more police officers in the upcoming city budget and is requesting that NYCHA providing funding for better security and cameras at its housing complexes.