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Pol: We need ears in Coney Island

Stay away from the windows: Pamela Pettyjohn points out a bullet hole in her neighbor’s window.
Brooklyn Daily
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Coney Island’s councilman wants the police department to deploy a gunshot-locating technology in the 60th Precinct after a recent string of shootings, including a June 14 incident that injured two people — one a senior citizen — less than a block away from a middle school and a park.

Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) first wrote to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on June 2 to ask about expanding the city’s ShotSpotter pilot program to his district, but in light of the recent shooting incident, he is making his call public.

“I am urging Commissioner Bratton to expand the department’s use of this proven technology so that we get a clearer and fuller picture of the violence that is plaguing this community and so that police can immediately respond when a shooting does occur,” Treyger said.

The program, implemented by police on March 16 in several high-crime neighborhoods around Brooklyn and the Bronx, uses a network of audio sensors to pinpoint locations where guns are fired.

The technology helps the police identify areas where gun activity often goes unreported. One Coney Island resident told this paper last year that she had become so accustomed to the sound of gun fire that she no longer bothered calling the police.

“We have become numb to the sound of bullets,” said Pamela Pettyjohn, a neighborhood activist who has seen stray bullets pass through her home on two occasions. “If nobody’s laying in the street dying, we just go back to bed.”

Treyger joined more than 20 members of the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative — a group of local business owners, civic leaders, and neighborhood citizens — at a rally outside a Neptune Avenue supermarket on Monday in response to the recent shooting. Acting chairwoman Mathylde Frontus said that she favored the implementation of the ShotSpotter program, as long as it was just one step of many in the process to curb firearm violence.

“There needs to be a multi-pronged approach,” Frontus said. “The technology helps to know when the shots are being fired, but we don’t want to get there in the first place.”

Reach reporter Eric Faynberg at (718) 260–4587 or by e-mail at efaynberg@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericfaynberg.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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