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Clinton Hill crime on the mind

The Brooklyn Paper
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Drug dealing and muggings are up in Clinton Hill, residents say, a result of the ongoing influx of wealth into the neighborhood.

“There have been a lot of muggings and purse snatchings and things like that,” said Sharon Barnes, a 20-year resident who sits on the board of the Society for Clinton Hill, which recently held a meeting about crime in the area.

“People reported seeing more broken glass on the street from car windows,” added Barnes, while several other residents complained of a flourishing outdoor drug trade on Clifton Place, between St. James Place and Grand Avenue; on Washington Avenue, between Gates and Greene avenues; at the intersection of Irving Place, Putnam and Classon avenues; and at the corner of Washington Avenue and Fulton Street.

Police statistics for the entire 88th Precinct, which includes Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, indicate that crime levels remain flat.

Murder is up since 2001, but not in any statistically significant way. And nearly every other category, from rape to burglary to felony assault has seen double-digit decreases.

“There have been no burglaries in last 28 days over there,” said Deputy Inspector Philip Sferrazza, the commanding officer of the 88th Precinct.

He did acknowledge that drug dealing was a problem, but “not a major one.”

“Sometimes people call in because see three or four people hanging out and automatically assume they’re dealing drugs,” he said. “Sometimes they’re just hanging out.”

Sferrazza’s comment rankled at least one resident.

“When people do have an incident, the police seem really eager to minimize it, which [residents] suspect is because they want to keep the crime stats low,” said Barnes.

Suzanne DeBrango, a 10-year Clinton Hill resident, added the drug traffic on Washington Avenue is “just brazen.”

“They have those dime bags of pot and those little bags of crystals, crack I guess. And I mean, it’s really a shame, because I’m right across the street from PS 11.”

Updated 4:33 pm, July 9, 2018
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