A realistic fear of crime lingers over New York City’s 400,000 public housing tenants, and it's getting worse, reports the New York Daily News. Many of the working people and elderly who make up the vast majority of New York City Housing Authority residents live in a constant state of hyper-awareness to avoid becoming a victim. The 334 housing projects saw a 31 percent spike in major crime to an eight-year high in the last five years, while the rest of the city experienced a 3.3 percent increase.
“It's out of control. It's out of hand,” declared a frustrated Patricia Herman, 61, who's lived in the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem since 1979. At Lincoln, murders, rapes, assaults, robberies, burglaries, auto theft and grand larcenies — known as the “seven majors”— nearly doubled from 33 in 2009 to 60 last year. The overall rate has continued to climb in the first quarter of this year. Sometimes it was a bloody domestic dispute. Sometimes it was a smash-and-grab theft of smartphones. Often it was related to the growing number of loosely affiliated “crews” whose penchant for violence seems to grow each day. Deputy Chief Gerald Dieckmann of the Housing Bureau said the department's increased efforts urging victims to report domestic abuse have contributed to the rise in recorded felony assaults and grand larcenies.