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Police Investigate Recurring Drug Deals and Prostitution in Clinton Hill

By Janet Upadhye | October 23, 2014 4:21pm
 Neighbors say they witness drug deals every 20 minutes outside their homes on Cambridge Place.
Neighbors say they witness drug deals every 20 minutes outside their homes on Cambridge Place.
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DNAinfo/Janet Upadhye

CLINTON HILL — Police are investigating complaints of recurring drug deals, violence and prostitution on Cambridge Place after a recent 88th Precinct Community Council meeting where residents voiced their concerns.

Several residents said they have been awoken in the middle of the night to women screaming, instances of defecation and urination on and around their homes as well as drug deals and instances of prostitution.

Their complaints come in the wake of a double sexual assault that took place just blocks away in late August.

Residents said the root cause of the problem on the two-block street is the drug deals.

"I think we are seeing this confluence of events coming from the constant drug dealing that happens out in the open, right outside our doors" said 22-year resident Lauren Gumbs, who runs a social justice nonprofit.

"These are not an isolated series of events, there is something larger that is really reshaping the quality of life in this area in negative ways."

Gumbs said the deals were mostly conducted by the same individuals who she described as "middle-aged and older addicts."

Another resident, John Wahpa, said the deals were happening with increased frequency since a police camera was installed on nearby Grand Avenue earlier this year.

"They happen right outside my door every 20 minutes," he said.

Capt. Peter Fiorillo said he was unaware of the issues they face on Cambridge Place specifically but would look into it.

"I look at 311 complaints and 911 calls all the time and the area that you are describing does not come up," he said. "I need your help."

He added that he had made two recent prostitution arrests on nearby streets.

More than 50 311-complaints about noise and partying have been made on Cambridge Place in the last six months.

Gumbs said she had called the police twice in the last two weeks and they did not show.

"Both times between 3 and 4 in the morning after being awakened out of sleep. I heard a woman screaming and I saw her being very violently assaulted in the street outside my place," she described. "I called 911, police never showed."

"A few nights later a woman was screaming again and I saw two men dragging her into a service car, again the police did not show."

Fiorillo said he would look into the incidents.