Saturday, November 1, 2008

[UPDATED] Gang Violence Expected In East Harlem Tonight, After-School Program Canceled In Precaution

Breaking news: more info as it becomes available.

10.31.08 9:11PM - THIS JUST IN: NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly addresses the media.
(video still from NY1)

The best place for information on this issue might be the NYPD, telephone numbers for individual precincts can be found here.
More updates below, including new information today regarding the threat in Williamsburg Brooklyn.
Citizen Schools, an after school program for middle school youths has canceled their program today at MS 45 East Harlem, on advice from the NYPD and school officials, who are expecting heightened crime in the area. Citizen Schools has attributed the concern to activities on the Night of Mischief, the even of Halloween.

Confused about the type of activities expected, (smashing pumpkins and throwing eggs?) NYC The Blog contacted the 25th Precinct in East Harlem for more information, who asserted that information they have been receiving leads them to believe their will be heightened gang activity by the Bloods Gang today in East Harlem, between the hours of 3-5pm. Asked if West Harlem community groups or police are also operating under this belief, Precinct 25 was reluctant to discuss that, and suggested calling the precinct up here.

More information as it becomes available.

Happy Halloween kids.

UPDATE: Before referencing the information below, it should be noted that earlier, while speaking to Precinct 25, I pressed for more details about the nature of the threats and what communities should be concerned, and was given the phone number for the community affairs office, who have not returned the call at this time. I have no further official information at this time.
  • On Yahoo answers, which inexplicably seems to be populated by teen-agers in nyc, one thread started yesterday wrote,
    "Rumor: Bloods are suppose to be killing women before and on Halloween? Just got a txt msg from my cousin n then my friend that the Mayor in Newark announced that he got a phone call stating that there will be murders geared toward women."
    Which was then answered by posters who alternately mock the suggestion or claim it is very real. Another thread on Yahoo answers deals with the same rumor,
    "Blood gang initiation today?!? I heard today was the BLOOD initiation, and tomorrow. Is it true? Someone also told me that it was on Friday. When is it?"
    Posters are noting that texts are being sent claiming violence to occur, as well as some posters asserting their parents work as court officers or police officers and have passed on the warnings. Lots of rumor and innuendo, and I recall a decade ago hearing similar rumors about drive by shootings that were going to take place on Halloween as gang initiation. Rumors that turned out to be just that, rumors.
Has anyone any information on whether or not these rumors and warnings have come to fruition at this time?

  • The Jersey Journal newspaper is reporting that due to "rumors around that there were going to be problems -- rumors of gangs in the schools," schools added security today. "Newark's school superintendent canceled all athletic events after two people were killed in drive-by shootings on Friday."
So fact or fiction. Maybe a little of both.

  • The Dailyopia tumblr posted an email forwarded from a friend, (hmm...) which says "I work at a school in my community called El Puente and we have been advised that the Bloods are having their initiation today..." The email asserts that the police are taking the threat very real this year and "All the local schools have been notified and are sending children home and canceling after-school programs as we have." (Thanks Lebird!)
Just spoke with the 90th Precinct in Williamsburg, and the officer who spoke has not heard anything about cancelling after school programs in the neighborhood, but did note that they have a beefed up presence in the neighborhood due to information about increased gang activity and the rumors mentioned above. No one answered the phone at either number called for El Puente Academy on S.4th St.

  • NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks to the press addressing the allegations, saying "we've heard it because people were talking about what's out there, on the internet, but we have no specific information to indicate that there's any validity to this rumor."
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