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Cops Eye Ebbets Field Apartments in Neighborhood Crime Spike

By Sonja Sharp | October 3, 2013 8:45am
 With crime up across the neighborhood, Crown Heights police have their eyes on the Ebbets Field Apartments. 
With crime up across the neighborhood, Crown Heights police have their eyes on the Ebbets Field Apartments. 
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DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp

CROWN HEIGHTS — Crown Heights cops are keeping a close eye on the Ebbets Field Apartments this fall, as police try to pinpoint the source of the neighborhood's year-long crime spike. 

Incident after incident has turned up ties to the the complex, with an especially troubling emphasis on shootings, police said. 

"[By] June, we were experiencing a very large increase in crime — a 25 percent increase across the board, a lot of robberies and a lot of grand larcenies, and we were really experiencing a lot of shootings," Deputy Inspector John Lewis of the 71st Precinct told residents at a recent community council meeting. Though the summer was relatively quiet, "Ebbets Field is very problematic for us."

The precinct has already seen six homicides this year, up from three in 2012, as well as more than a dozen non-fatal shootings. Neighbors complain of people trading bullets on residential blocks, and victimless shooting sprees like the one that broke out near Wingate Park last month have left residents shaken.

"Every time there’s a shooting, someone from Ebbets Field was involved or was a witness," a law enforcement source told DNAinfo. "Witnesses are afraid, and more often than not they're involved [in criminal activity]." 

Robberies, too, have been tied to the apartments. 

"We had a couple on Stoddard Place and a couple on Sullivan Place," Lewis said. "The two people that we arrested ... were [hanging out] at Ebbets Field."

The highrises fall inside the precinct's 3-year-old impact zone, meaning extra officers and resources are already concentrated in the surrounding blocks. But while police continue to make arrests and recover guns, trouble keeps coming back to Ebbets Field. 

"We put the skywatch up there for a while to calm things down," the source said. "Unfortunately, with this stuff, it's very hard to put people behind bars."