This interactive map included in the Department of Investigations report, shows a few of the criminal incidents in Rockaway over a short reporting period. NYPD statistics show that crime in the housing projects in the 101 Precinct is up 140 percent over last year.
Several shots were fired at this single-building city housing project at 71-15 Beach Channel Drive early Sunday morning.
Rockaway residents have known for decades that a large chunk of crime on the peninsula has its nexus in the several public housing complexes that dot the landscape.
Statistics show that fact remains true into today. Crime in and around the local housing projects in the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway is up 140 percent this year over last year and shooting incidents in the precinct are up 100 percent. Crime in the housing projects in the neighboring 100 Precinct remain static from last year.
According to the report, the city’s 328 public housing projects shoulder a disproportionate share of crime. While overall crime fell 4 percent citywide last year, it rose 2 percent in NYCHA developments. DOI noted that 25 percent of all rapes reported in New York City and 33 percent of all shootings occur within 500 feet of a NYCHA development.
The record is worse in Rockaway. A study done by a local newspaper three years ago showed that fully 80 percent of all shooting incidents in Rockaway occurred within a half-mile of a public housing complex.
A recent report from the city’s Department of Investigation shows that the problem is citywide. According to the report, released on Tuesday, the Housing Authority is asleep at the switch when it comes to evicting tenants who commit serious crimes on NYCHA grounds.
The Housing Authority has legal the right to bounce tenants if they or their children are charged with committing drug and violent crimes either on or near NYCHA property, but Mayor Bill de Blasio and a city council group have been fighting to change that law, reducing the right to evict violent tenants and their family members..
“NYCHA continues to allow criminals including gang members, drug traffickers and violent offenders to reside in public housing,” the report states. “NYCHA often failed to take steps to remove criminal offenders from public housing and protect the overwhelming majority of law-abiding residents.”
The report said that NYCHA often won’t evict the tenant of record, instead choosing to exclude only the person charged. But DOI found the excluded felons often return and live openly in units from which they are allegedly barred.
There they commit even more crimes without fear of eviction, according to DOI Commissioner Mark Peters.
In response, Jean Weinberg, spokeswoman for NYCHA, said the agency “works closely in partnership with the NYPD to ensure public housing residents have safe, stable homes” and noted that some of DOI’s reform recommendations “highlight the progress we’ve made in improving communication between our two agencies.”
The biggest problem centered on NYCHA’s tendency to try and exclude the charged criminal instead of evicting the tenant of record. That allows these “permanently excluded” to return and live openly in NYCHA apartments, DOI found.
“NYCHA overlooks even blatant and repeated violations of permanent exclusion,” the report found.
Opponents of the exclusion program, however, say that excluding family members of the person accused or convicted of a crime is not fair and exacerbates the homeless problem, forcing law-abiding tenants related to felons out of their homes even though they have never committed a crime.