Harlem Residents Set Up Outreach Patrols To Curb Neighborhood Violence
Nighttime in the city too often means gunshots in the dark so groups in Harlem and elsewhere are making plans to start community outreach patrols that will go into action once the sun goes down. NY1's Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Harlem residents say they are taking to the street to take back the night from gunfire and violence. Juanita Dean Morgan says her two sons were killed.
"My children are dead. I can't bring them back but I can sure enough try to help the ones that are here, trying to fight for this,” Morgan said.
The group Man Up In Harlem said every night until Labor Day its members and housing residents will march along Eighth Avenue near the Polo Grounds and Rangel Houses from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., carrying a message.
“Parents get up, come out and start taking back your kids and taking back your community. Don't talk about it, be about it,” said Jackie Rowe Adams of Harlem Mothers Save.
"Not only for our children but for our seniors who are afraid to walk out after dark, for those of us who are being bullied, it is time that that stops,” said Barbara Williams a Polo Grounds resident.
It follows an outbreak of gunfire across the city, including at the legendary Rucker Tournament two weeks ago.
"We need to go citywide and say these are our streets and we are taking them back. These are our public housing developments and we are taking them back. These are our communities and we are taking them back,” said the Reverend Vernon Williams of Perfect Peace Ministries.
"We are not policing. We are not doing that. We just want to share good community and expand it. You know, like back in the day when I was younger my parents would know what I was doing even if they weren't on the scene because there was someone there to share that information,” said the Reverend Al Taylor of Man Up In Harlem.
For more information about the nightly march at the Polo Grounds, visit ManUpInHarlem.org or call 1-646-418-8000.
The National Action Network said it is taking to street corners citywide for four weekends starting Aug. 17 from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. to talk with young people.
"Do I think standing on the corner is going to solve all of the problems? No. But I think it sets a sense of concern,” said the Reverend Al Sharpton.
More information on the National Action Network's Occupy The Corners program, visit NationalActionNetwork.net or call 1-212-690-3070.
As more organizations try to get involved in fighting back against gun violence, the New York City Police Department also its own program, called the Community Observation Patrol, that teaches community groups how to patrol their neighborhoods.
For more inforamation on the C.O.P. program, visit the NYPD's Community Affairs Bureau’s website at nypdcommunityaffairs.com.