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In One Brooklyn Neighborhood, Two Very Different Faces of Stop-and-Frisk

By Sonja Sharp | February 5, 2013 5:57pm
 Police respond to a shooting inside Rugged Sole shoe store on the evening of May 21, 2012
Police respond to a shooting inside Rugged Sole shoe store on the evening of May 21, 2012
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DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp

BROOKLYN — Eastern Parkway has long been a dividing line in Crown Heights — hipsters live to the north of it, Hasidim to the south, with African American and Caribbean residents mixed evenly in between. 

Yet, when it comes to crime, the two halves are far more alike than they are different, save for just one thing: residents were nearly twice as likely to have been stopped-and-frisked north of the Parkway than they were south of it, according to a report released by the New York City Police Department this week

The north side's 77th Precinct logged more than 11,400 reasonable suspicion stops, the south side's 71st Precinct just more than 6,000, according to just-released 2011 statistics.

Though neither precinct would not comment on the report, statistically speaking, the precincts are largely identical.

In 2011, the 77th and 71st Precincts had about 93,000 and 96,000 residents respectively, with almost the same ethnic makeup, about 70 percent black and 18 percent white, with slightly varying percentages of Asians and Hispanics. Though the 77th precinct made a few thousand more radio runs (about 60,000) and logged a few hundred more crime complaints (about 8,000), the difference pales in comparison with the difference in neighboring precincts.

The 78th Precinct, which serves about 58,000 residents in parts of Prospect Heights and Park Slope, made just 28,000 radio runs and received about 3,000 crime complaints. In Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct, which serves some 61,000 residents, those numbers were about 44,000 and 6,500, respectively. Though the population size is similar, Bed-Stuy saw roughly a third again more major crimes. 

There were far and away more stop and frisks in the 81st Precinct than in the 78th, roughly 13,600 as compared to about 3,500.

Nothing close to that difference exists between the 77th and the 71st in Crown Heights. Though the 71st precinct had more burglaries and homicides and the 77th more grand larcenies, 2012 statistics for major crimes like rape, assault, robbery and car thefts, show the two to be uniform.

When residents expressed concern about the the 77th Precinct's use of stop-and-frisk at the precinct's May community council meeting, officers said a rise in crime against newcomers had helped spur an increase in the number of stops.

"We have a lot of burglaries, especially in areas where we have newer members of the community," the precinct's executive officer Captain Leighton Myre told one particularly upset resident. "For you, the person who hasn’t done anything, it’s always going to be a tough situation."