Two feuding Red Hook gangs recruited teens to provide them with revenue over the summer, according to police. The young crooks were allegedly behind most of the gunpoint muggings in Carroll Gardens this August and some have since been arrested, stated the police captain at a recent council meeting.
At the first monthly gathering at the since the summer recess, residents from Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill were in unusually high attendance Tuesday night, expressing concerns to the police captain regarding reports of violent muggings. In response, the police captain revealed the details of various investigations that had taken place in recent months, connecting criminal activity not only across contiguous neighborhoods, but as far as Pennsylvania and Ohio.
"What happens in Red Hook affects what happens in Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill and the surrounding areas," Captain Schiff told the room, explaining that over the summer the 76th Precinct identified two gangs that were vying for control of Red Hook. They are known as the Mad Dawgs and the Stone Cold Villains.
As a result of the war, there were a number of shootings in Red Hook. One individual in particular named Calvin Stallworth appeared to be at the root of the trouble. Stallworth had absconded from Pennsylvania parole in February and had made Red Hook his new headquarters. Stalworth allegedly has ties to The Mad Dawgs and had returned to take control. On July 7, , which involved three victims. Police learned that one of the victims belonged to the Stone Cold Villains.
Working with PSA 1, the narcotics units and the gangs division, police flooded Red Hook with officers and were able to subsequently supress a lot of crime in that area.
In fact, a tip came back to the 76th Precinct that there was so much heat on Red Hook, Stallworth had fled the jurisdiction. The Fugitive Apprehension Team later tracked him down to Ohio. He was extradited back to Pennsylvania to serve out rest of his sentence. After that is completed he will return to Brooklyn to be extradited for his alleged involvement in other crimes.
"In the meantime, we flooded that area to such a high degree, the gangs weren't able to make their regular illegal income," said Captain Schiff.
Gangmembers decided to recruit 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds to make up the difference. , phone snatches and the like, police said.
"We noticed what was going on," said Schiff. "Three or four weeks ago we had a major problem with that, no doubt about it." In the last 28 days, there have been 7 robberies in Red Hook, 6 in Carroll Gardens and 2 in Cobble Hill.
But police were quickly able to make strides on pinpointing the assailants. After the 76th got their hands on a picture of an individual allegedly committing robberies around Van Brunt Street, police circulated the photo over e-mail, blasted it on Twitter, and plastered it throughout the neighborhood.
"We have an idea who it is but unfortunately a few victims weren't able to ID this person," he said. "However, we put pressure on the individual that we suspected and since then there hasn't been a robbery in Red Hook.
"We've also made a number of arrests over the past two months," said the captain. "One individual was robbing residents at knifepoint, another was his acomplice and another was working independently. One was a 14-year-old female, the two others were 16-year-old black males. They are responsible for at least two robberies on Hicks Street."
On August 15, two male blacks, ages 15 and 16 respectively, were also arrested for alleged robberies. As a result, in the last two weeks only two robberies have occurred in any of the surrounding neighborhoods: one in the Gowanus Projects and another that was a domestic incident; they appear to be unrelated to the previous streak.
"There is no doubt that the kids and teenagers are the ones causing problems in our neighborhood and seeking crimes of opportunity," said Schiff. "But we have flooded the areas, and in the last two weeks the number of robberies has dropped."
The police captain went on to say that other suspects are on the precinct's radar but he could not disclose further information as the investigations are ongoing.
Various residents asked why they haven't seen more police on foot patrol, given the nature of these violent crimes. The captain responded that the reason was twofold: For one, most of his men patrol in vehicles or wear plainclothes in order to blend in with their surroundings and observe criminal activity.
The other reason, he said, was simply that resources are limited.
"I encourage residents who have been victims of a crime to report it to the police so that we have it on file," said Jerry Armer, community council president. "The more accounts we have on record per year plays a part in determining how much money is budgeted per precinct and how many police can be employed."
Armer added that neighbors can petition their local politicians to designate more funds for their local precinct as well.
"Those are the people who can give you what you're asking for," he said.
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