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Extra Officers Deployed to 34th Precinct After Recent Shootings

By Nigel Chiwaya | May 30, 2014 12:20pm | Updated on June 2, 2014 8:16am
 Deputy Inspector Chris Morello said additional officers have been deployed to the 34th Precinct to combat recent shootings.
Deputy Inspector Chris Morello said additional officers have been deployed to the 34th Precinct to combat recent shootings.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

INWOOD — The NYPD has dispatched additional officers to a large section of eastern Inwood following two shootings and two other reports of gunfire this month, officials said.

The NYPD sent an Impact Response Team of 20 officers to the neighborhood on Monday for a one-week deployment aimed at stemming shootings, Deputy Inspector Chris Morello told residents this week at a 34th Precinct Community Council meeting.

"Increased resources have been brought in," the commanding officer said, noting the officers from Patrol Borough Manhattan North have spent 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. stationed in an area that stretches from Dyckman Street to West 207th Street and from Vermilyea to Nagle avenues.

The precinct has requested the area be designated an NYPD Impact Zone, which would put as many as 40 additional officers on patrol there for an extended period of time.

The first recent shooting occurred May 17 at 26 Post Ave., when police said a dispute over marijuana escalated into gunfire. The shooter in that instance, Erick Garcia, was arrested on May 20, police said. Information on Garcia's lawyer was not immediately available.

A second shooting took place Tuesday, when a mugger shot a man who was walking with his girlfriend at West 204th Street and Sherman Avenue, the NYPD said.

Shots were also fired on May 19, outside 557 West 207th St. Police said no one was hit.

Shots were exchanged three days later at the intersection of Broadway and Isham Street. Again, no victims were struck. While no arrests have been made, officers on the scene recovered a handgun and an investigation is ongoing. 

Major crimes — murders, rapes, robberies, felony assaults, burglaries, grand larcenies and grand larceny auto — in the 34th Precinct are down 10 percent this year through May 18 compared with the same period last year. And no one was shot in the precinct for the first four months of the year, Morello said and statistics show.

Still, the recent gunshots have locals on edge. Several people told Morello at this week's contentious community forum that they're worried.

“You talk about the number of crimes and that’s important. But if you live in the neighborhood, it’s almost about the intensity of crime," Daniel Friend told Morello. "If you have a shooting on your block and seven shots are fired in the middle of the day, that is a big deal."

“I have two friends who are seriously considering moving out of the neighborhood because the perception is that the neighborhood is getting more violent," he added.

Morello responded that the numbers show the neighborhood is safer than it was last year.

"If someone sees an incident where is a gun is fired, they think crime is out of control," he said. "The simple fact is violence and crime are dramatically down in the 34th precinct."