After three shootings in Manhattan Valley this year, versus two for all of last year, police plan to focus special attention on the area, says Captain Marlon Larin, the 24th precinct’s commanding officer.
Larin said in an interview that the 24th will respond more aggressively to situations in the area that could lead to violence. “If someone calls 311 to report a group of kids drinking, we have to react to it like it’s a 911 call. We have to avoid disputes over nonsense.”
The latest dispute that erupted into more serious violence occurred on Sunday around 2 p.m. when two brothers got into a fight with two other men (who were cousins) on 110th street between Amsterdam and Columbus. The men were in a fistfight when one of the brothers pulled out a gun and shot one of his opponents in the leg, Larin said. Some readers have pointed out that this block is known for drug-dealing, but Larin said none of the men appear to have a drug history or much contact with police, beyond minor crimes or marijuana possession. The four men all live in the area. Police are ready to arrest the shooter, but had not done so as of this afternoon.
Larin said that the two other shootings this year, which we’ve reported on before, do not appear to be connected to this most recent one. Nonetheless, he does think the shooting violence has escalated this year, and police need to gather more information on potential problem areas before they erupt. That means developing informants.
As for whether the version of stop-and-frisk employed under Mayor Bloomberg could help the situation, Larin said “that’s not the way we do it anymore.” He said that officers can still search possible suspects, but need more detailed information before doing so. In the past, police could stop and frisk people based on a more vague description like “a man in a white shirt.” Under the new policy, “we would need a good witness.” Larin said he agrees with the new policy, and believes police can stop violence before it starts by working with informants, getting tips from the community, and other tactics.
One community policing program being tested in Washington Heights has beat officers patrol the same area every day and get to know business owners and community members so they could get more tips: “we’re not getting enough tips and information from the community,” says Larin.
Residents can help police and earn $1,000 by reporting illegal handguns. Call 866-GUNSTOP.