Cops, Community Court Help Quell Red Hook Crime

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The Red Hook area of Brooklyn, once notorious for its booming crack trade, now is more famous for its burgeoning culture, says the New York Post. “The neighborhood was drug-ridden, crime-ridden . . . There was really no hope,” said Earl Hall, 36, a former resident of housing projects. “A lot has changed.” The neighborhood had its darkest hour – and its turning point – on Dec. 17, 1992, when popular school Principal Patrick Daly was killed in the crossfire between rival drug gangs. Attitudes toward law enforcement changed. The community demanded a stronger police presence. The city delivered. The area was flooded with cops; drug dens were raided; wanted felons were tracked down.

A multijurisdictional court – containing civil, family and criminal courts – handles cases only from the three surrounding precincts, giving the police closer contact with the justice system. They say it helps ensure harsher penalties for the worst offenders and appropriate community service for the smalltime crooks. Overall, crime in the community has declined 60 percent since 1993, and murders plummeted from 12 in 1995 to none in 2003. Robberies and rapes have plunged 64 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Burglaries have taken a 68 percent nosedive since 1993.


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