In the last six months, I have been very tempted to buy pepper spray or mace. As someone who has lived in NYC for 10 years, six of which have been in East Harlem, this has been the first time I’ve really felt threatened walking around my neighborhood.
Neighbors of mine have been mugged and buglarized in the past year. And a recent article in Gothamist makes me think that these are not isolated events.
According to the article, the 23rd precinct in East Harlem is seeing a lot more gang member activity. Not only that, but East Harlem was ranked first in drug-related deaths of any NYC community in 2009, with 22.9 deaths per 100,00 compared to 8.3 citywide.
The police department’s crime statistics don’t show a significant increase, but one has to wonder whether crime is being accurately captured by the department.