Melrose residents say they are frustrated with what they perceive as a lack of responsiveness by the NYPD and the de Blasio administration to violent crime in their neighborhood.
A Nov. 27 shooting at a liquor store on Courtlandt Avenue Liquor Store left five victims in the hospital, including two children, ages 10 and 15.
As of Jan. 22 there have been no arrests in connection with the incident but the NYPD released the name of a suspect, Amari Rolli, 17. Officials believe that the suspect fired as many as 12 shots before running away.
“Those five people had to eat Thanksgiving in Lincoln Hospital,” said Marty Rogers, 64, following a Dec. 11 rally at the Bronx Documentary Center to protest ongoing violence on Courtlandt Ave. Rogers leads Save the Hub, an organization dedicated to combating crime in the South Bronx.
“The mayor’s office did not show up,” said Rogers. “The president of the city council did not show up. If this were Tribeca, or Riverdale, or Crown Heights in Brooklyn, they would be here.”
Residents have taken de Blasio’s recent absence from his mayoral responsibilities, and from the South Bronx following the shooting, to indicate a lack of interest in their issues.
“He was so focused on his presidential campaign that he wasn’t able to focus on real New Yorkers,” said Fanta Diop, 16, who lives a few blocks from where the shooting occurred.
Residents were also quick to compare policing in neighborhoods like the South Bronx with more affluent parts of the city.
“Anytime we see the police in this neighborhood, it’s a bad thing,” said Diop, who attends Notre Dame High School of Manhattan on W. 13th St. “Compared to how the police are downtown – it’s different. We see the officers walking around there and it’s not bad.”
Sister Patrice Owens, who retired last year as principal of the Immaculate Conception School on 151st Street and Melrose Ave. echoed calls for a greater presence from the NYPD.
“We need to see them. We need them to walk the beat, not just ride around in their cars,” said Owens. “Parents contacted my office all the time with concerns about crime around the school. They would complain about homeless people who were sleeping in front of the building, or other violence in the neighborhood.”
At the Bronx Documentary Center event, a representative from the mayor’s office spoke to a gathering of activists and residents but declined to identify herself to press in the room.
“The mayor hears your concerns, and he is watching the situation,” she said, but declined to identify herself to reporters. She was later identified as Surey Miranda, the mayor’s Bronx borough coordinator for the Community Affairs Unit.
The story was updated on Jan. 22.