Walking along the streets of Brownsville, Brooklyn, 73rd precinct officers Jeffrey Deshommes and Adaryll Stephens said they give respect and get respect. Sometimes they’re on foot, other times in their patrol car.
“We cover East New York Avenue to Newport Street, then Rockaway Street, where we are right now, as far east as Van Sinderen,” explained Deshommes.
The partners are on the beat in Brownsville as neighborhood coordination officers, otherwise known as NCOs, responsible for getting to know the community and its issues.
NY1 did a ride along with the officers in their police vehicle and walked some of the streets as well.
When it comes to a summer of shootings and murders, these officers said they know why there’s been a surge in violence, at least in the 73rd Precinct.
“We’ve been plagued with a lot of gang violence. So it’s just like one side is clashing with the other side of a territory or a post on Facebook or something on social media,” said Deshommes.
That’s right, social media is helping to fuel the gun violence. Although gangs beefing on social media is not new, it has become a big problem this year, especially as the weather turned warm, the spike of coronavirus cases ended and more New Yorkers ventured outdoors.
“A few of these gang members are musicians, they sing, they’re rappers, they’re hip-hop artists,” Deshommes added. “They’ll make songs that go against somebody else.”
His partner Stephens said the music is popular on the streets and social media.
“The music gets a lot of hits. It goes viral. People from this neighborhood have actually been getting deals based on Drill music or whatever you want to call it,” Stephans said.
Some young men have been able to sign record label contracts based on their Drill music, which is rap about guns, violence and gangs.
“They go to somebody’s block in the middle of the night, they are playing music that’s disrespecting whatever gang is opposing them. And once that gang gets wind of it, it’s just, like, mayhem.” said Deshommes. “They usually play it in someone’s territory and then they will post it online afterwards.”
Officers say that causes a lot of bloodshed.
“The ongoing dispute is between basically Woo and Choo, and that’s what’s causing a lot of the violence in Brownsville,” said Stephens.
Numerous alleged Woo and Choo gang members were indicted by Brooklyn prosecutors and police earlier this year for several attempted murders and other crimes.
Beyond gang violence, police try to keep an eye on illegal gambling and large gatherings that can lead to gunfire.
For these officers, helping to arrest criminals is important, but just as important is keeping people safe and stopping violence from happening in the first place.