City owns an area ‘crack house’

The Brooklyn Paper
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Terrified residents of Boerum Hill say that crack dealers and their customers are operating out of a St. Marks Avenue building — a building that is actually owned by the city.

The building, at 31 St. Marks Ave., between Third and Fourth avenues, is a dilapidated, three-story brownstone owned and managed by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

And neighbors are demanding that the city take action (against the dealers and, apparently, itself).

“There’s had a lot of drug-dealing,” said a neighbor, who didn’t want his name printed for fear of souring relations with his drug-dealing neighbors. “It’s a parade of addicts.”

On a recent evening, about five youths hung out on the stoop and, during a half-hour, greeted various visitors. At least once, a boy in a white T-shirt who seemed to be in charge walked a few steps away from the stoop and then exchanged a small package for cash with one of those visitors.

The site, which houses three rental apartments, has been a hot spot for years, according to neighbors and cops, who discussed the problem at a recent meeting of the 84th Precinct Community Council. Following a shooting a few of years ago, the police increased their presence, and things quieted down.

“But just this year, when the summer came, everything accelerated,” said the neighbor. “You’d have to be pretty naive to miss it. People exchanging packets and cash. It’s really weird to me. I would think they would find someplace a little more isolated.”

His neighbor agreed, saying, “Lately, it’s been really egregious.”

It’s a problem that’s on the radar of both Housing Preservation and Development and the cops.

“We are aware of the allegations of drug activity and are working with the NYPD,” said Neill Coleman, a spokesman for the agency.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gary Williams of the 84th Precinct said cops are doing the best they can to quash the problem.

“We are constantly on it,” said Williams.

Indeed, according to the police, a beat cop has repeatedly tried to keep the drug dealers at bay. But because the dealers recognize him, he can never catch them in the act.

“They use cellphones to communicate,” said the male neighbor. “But I’m not an expert on these things.”

The police have since requested the assistance of undercover narcotics cops, who work with the neighbors.

Meanwhile, nearby residents are waiting to see some results.

“It’s like a throwback to the ’80s or something,” said the man who lives nearby.

Updated 4:30 pm, July 9, 2018
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