"We Asked the City for Help and We Got a Raid"

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The Manhattanville Houses in Harlem

Over 40 suspects in rival groups were arrested in a huge raid at two Harlem housing projects last week. Daryl Khan, New York bureau chief of the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange and an adjunct professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, reports on what some residents in the area had been trying to do to curb the violence, and why they're worried this raid may actually make things worse.

New York City Council member Mark Levine (D-7), whose district covers the Manhattanville and Grant houses, called in to discuss what his office is doing to give kids who live there things to do so they're not caught up in the violence.  “No amount of arrests is going to prevent the next generation of young people from getting caught up in this,” Levine said. “We’ve got to invest positively in good experiences for young people in youth programs to prevent them from being drawn into this.”  

Listeners who live in the area called in to describe what it was like when the police raided their apartments, including one caller, Treeva from Harlem, who said her three-year-old niece is traumatized after the NYPD came into her apartment during the raid. “They broke the door down,” she said. “There’s a better way. I’m not saying all of these kids are innocent – but there’s a better way that they should be able to approach people’s apartments. My niece is hysterical seeing this. If you can’t trust the police, who can you trust?”

Daryl Khan said residents he talked to also aren’t sure the police raid was the solution to the entrenched violence. “Most kids…they’re scared of the police, they don’t feel comfortable approaching the police, and whether that’s a reality or perception – to them, it’s real.”