Sunday, December 10, 2017

Southeast Queens And Harlem Peace Groups Help Decrease Shooting Deaths To An All Time Low In NYC

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2 Stop The Violence Women Leaders Spearhead Organizations To Increase The Peace and Help Stop Violent Crime in NYC

By Kamau Austin, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The Southeast Queens Scoop

We constantly hear the question from conservatives and apologists for over aggressive police tactics, which too often result in deadly consequences, in the Black community - why don't Black organizations focus on "Black on Black crime?"  Well there are at least a couple organizations which do exactly that in the NYC.

These two groups Life Camp Inc., of Southeast Queens, and Street Corner Resources of Harlem, along with many other persons in the community have contributed to a deep drop in violent crimes in NYC especially over the last few years.  The number of gun related killings in NYC this year (2017) is under 300 in a city of about 8.5 million people.  And if current trends continue the year will close with it being the safest year in NYC for -  about 50 years!

Erica Ford of Southeast Queens (left) and Ieshua Sekou of Upper Harlem (lower right) are
leaders of 2 different stop the violence and increase the peace type organizations 

Erica Ford
In the area of South Jamaica, Queens, known to be a traditionally tough area, Life Camp Inc., Founded by Erica Ford, peace efforts contributed to the area going over 550 days without a shooting related murder.  On the other hand Street Corner Resources, lead by Iesha Sekou, is celebrating over 401 days without a shooting in Central Harlem. Sekou was recently interviewed by Ayana Harry of Pix 11 News.

The Facebook page of Street Corner Resources states the "team celebrates 401 days without anyone shot within our catchment located between 137th - 145th street between Adam Clayton Powell Blvd & Malcolm X Blvd."

The police are claiming this is a "modern miracle" in crime reduction.  And while the police are claiming the large drop has to do with their "laser precision" tactics of taking repeat violent felons, like gang members off the street, they also expressed gratitude to community residents and groups which also helped lower crime.

According to reports by Spectrum News 1 NY "Police Commissioner James O'Neill said solid police work and help from the community played a role in the drop."

"We've seen people in neighborhoods all across the city really step up and take active roles in helping us," O'Neill said. "New Yorkers are understanding that public safety is a shared responsibility."

What is ironic is the large drop in crime came after the suspension of the controversial and widely unpopular, with Blacks and other people of color in the city, "Stop and Frisk." 

Recently, it has been researched and reported in reputable news media sources that New York City, is experiencing record low rates of homicides and violent crimes.  The low rates of violent crimes in NYC have not been seen since the 1950s, or actually since crime rates have been reported almost 50 years ago.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio chimed in Monday "Here's the bottom line: If these trends continue through this month, the people of this city will have had the safest year on record in over half a century."  City leaders should be appreciative of these community organizations efforts in two important areas.

The two NYC neighborhoods that have been known crime hotspots in the past are Southeast Queens, and Harlem, in Uptown Manhattan.  In both of these areas in NYC there has been traditionally a largely Black population and other people of color.
Iesha Sekou

These two areas in NYC, with majority Black populations, had record low crime rates. Upper Harlem (140th Street and above) had 30% less homicides this year than last year. And Southeast Queens had only 6 murders this year. This is in large part to anti-violence groups being formed lead by Ieshua Sekou (Harlem) and Erica Ford (South East Queens). 

These two very committed and brave African American women have lead organizations committed to ending violence in their respective communities.  They have contrasting but both effective methods.

Southeast Queens is 92% Black with almost 500,000 people and only had 6 murders so far this year.  Erica Ford's approach seems to be in teaching nonviolent coping and response techniques inspired by meditation, yoga, and similar approaches while Iesha Sekou's approach seems to be more in your face street involvement and presence in her community advocating against violence.  Sekou's organization also gives support with job training, youth outlets, and other programs.

Although Iesha and Street Corner Resources, reveals the beginning of their efforts to stop violence was very tough (they walked in on a number of dangerous violent confrontations in the beginning) both organizations undeniably have been essential in lowering city violent crime.  Erica Ford, of Life Camp Inc., is celebrating 30 years of community activismThis proves that unlike what some conservative ideologues posit Black leaders do work to end violence in creative and positive ways.

To donate to Life Camp Inc. Click Here and to learn more about Street Corner Resources Click Here

See The Video On The Drop In Violence Crime In NYC

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