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NYPD Hopes Basketball Will Curb Bronx Murder Spike

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NYPD and community leaders are teaming up in a full-court press against violence in the 47th precinct, where there has been a recent spike in murders.
NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

As Donovan and Timothy hit the courts at the Edenwald Houses, community leaders and the NYPD are planning to use a basketball program to try to cut down on the skyrocketing violence in the North East Bronx.

Reverend Que English is the president of the Bronx Clergy Criminal Justice Roundtable.

"Bronx Shoots: shoot hoops, not youth," says English.

She says a tournament is scheduled for July 11 at the Gun Hill Houses to bring young men from various neighborhoods to do battle on the court, not on the streets.

The 47th precinct leads the city in murders. Through the first week in June, nine people have been killed, compared to just one person during the same time period last year.

But is playing basketball enough for such a serious issue?

"It is not just about playing games. At the end of this, we will find them sitting together at the end of the game, with some very positive role models to help them build relationship with one another. We'll help them resolve conflict between one another," English says.

Young men in the area say sports are a good way to reach out, but it has to be more than a quick fix approach.

"If people, if they are actually concerned and don't just throw money at it and actually come in here and actually try to organize something, I do feel like it will make a big difference—if they really are genuinely concerned about the well being of the neighborhood," Donovan says.

The 47th precinct covers about five and a half miles, a mixture of private homes and public housing.

The new commanding officer there says he's on board with numerous community programs.

However, gangs that don't put down the guns will be arrested in large numbers—like what has happened in other communities.

"We have all of the information we need on who belongs to what crew, what geographical area they belong to—all the violence between the crews. We do anticipate some very productive enforcement against these criminals," says NYPD Dep. Inspector Ruel Stephenson.

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