The 40th Precinct station house on East 138th Street and Alexander Avenue. Photo by the Mott Haven Herald.

South Bronx residents are feeling unnerved after a spike in shootings over the past week.

Enriqueta Lopez, 71, was fatally injured on Sept. 14 on the corner of E. 139th Street and Brook Avenue after shots were fired in broad daylight.

Another woman, Albertina Reyes, 34, was wounded in the same incident.

This came only days after an 8-year-old boy was caught in the crossfire during a shooting on Beekman Avenue and sustained injuries to his leg.

“Crime is always going to be a situation in the city,” said Mott Haven resident Tony Phillips. “I’ve been in the neighborhood for 12 years. I’ve seen it at its worst and its best.”

While the two shootings have gained a lot of attention in the past week, the 40th Precinct crime complaint report for the week of Sept. 11 reveals that shooting incidents are down 37% compared to at this time last year, and the number of shooting victims is down 45%.

Crime across all categories is up 7% over year-ago numbers in the 40th precinct, led by increases in rape and robberies. The 40th precinct covers Mott Haven and Melrose. Meanwhile, the overall crime rate for all boroughs showed a .05% decrease in crimes reported to date this year, compared to 2022 at this time.

Denise Lopez, a 19-year-old Mott Haven resident who lives directly across from the 40th Precinct at 138th and Third Avenue, expressed concern over the death of Rivera.

“I would think this is a safe place because literally, the cops are right here. But what happened was two blocks away.”

NYPD accounts indicate that rival gangs based in the local housing communities seem to be behind the recent shootings.

 “I don’t feel that safe anymore and it’s just scary. I’ve lived here my whole life,” said Lopez.

The NYPD has been hearing the frustrations of the community, as they urge police to take action. They say plans to strengthen police presence in the area have already been put in motion.

“You’re going to see lights with cars out here, cops standing on posts, cops walking up and down the streets, promised Benjamin Gurley, Bronx assistant chief of patrol. “You’ll see our critical response teams, our public safety teams and our neighborhood safety teams.”  

Phillips, 45, advises his neighbors to keep their eyes open.

“Being vigilant, trying to report things when they happen,” he said. “But also keeping that dialogue with the community.”


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