“The 88th precinct is under-resourced,” she told a crowd of community members and local police at Emmanuel Baptist Church. “I’ve discovered recently we only have three or four patrol cars to turn out at night. That’s unacceptable.”
The precinct's commanding officer Capt. Peter Fiorillo said he gets the most he can out of his 112 officers, but agreed he was operating with minimal staff and cars.
“The issue came up about manpower,” he said. “Yeah, it’s a concern. You do get out the minimum man every day.”
Fiorillo said the area had recently “hosted” a number of shootings perpetrated by and against people who do not live in the precinct, which he called a “drain.”
Of the precinct’s 15 shootings so far this year, six were in the Ingersoll-Whitman houses, which James pointed out ranks among the poorest areas in the city. Six more shootings took place around Fulton Street, Fiorillo said.
The number of shootings in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill this year is almost double the eight that took place in the same period last year, police statistics show.
But that puts the 88th precinct 14th in the city for shootings, NYPD Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez pointed out at the meeting, and thus not at the top of the list for an increase in resources. Still, he said, both the 88th and neighboring 79th were getting an influx of rookies this year.
“You mentioned the officers, that there’s not enough officers,” Gomez said. “We saw that.”
Since 2003, he said, areas that were not in 28 “impact zones” got only “a handful” of new officers a year. Beginning in January of this year, rookies are dispatched to all 98 precincts, with higher crime precincts getting more officers.
Bed-Stuy’s 79th precinct got 33 new officers since the start of the year, and the 88th got 10, the commanding officers said.
While acknowledging tight resources, the police officials said information from the community would help make the difference for them in crime-fighting. James and Borough President Eric Adams encouraged locals to tip off police to crime they see.
"Snitching is a badge of honor," James said.
Gangs and guns are at the heart of the recent violence, police, politicians and community members agreed.
Young people between the ages of 16 and 20 are particularly at risk for getting involved in gang activity, police said. They also mentioned that "a good number" of the guns used in Brooklyn shootings are coming up from southeastern states with more lax laws.
Adams, a former NYPD officer, received loud cheers for encouraging neighbors to make sure that “the things that are happening on the street are not emanating from your household.
“Before a gun hits the street, it is in somebody’s bookbag," he said. "It is under someone’s mattress. It is in someone’s drawer.”
He encouraged the community to be proactive: "I told my son, you don’t have any constitutional rights in my house.”