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New Police Recruits Meet Community Residents, Play Basketball

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Organizers hope that a little more than fun and games comes out of a basketball matchup in the Bronx, as it's all about the community coming together to curb the violence. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.

To combat a spike in gun violence, residents and officers from the 47th Precinct hit the courts Friday.

"It's called Bronx Shoots: Shoot Hoops, Not Youth," said the Rev. Que English, president of the Bronx Clergy Roundtable.

The idea is to use basketball to build relationships between officers and the community, and folks from different housing developments.  

The man behind the tournament at the Gun Hill Houses was 19-year-old Xavier Miller.  

"Everybody does this, and there's a basketball court in every neighborhood," Miller said.

Miller, who one found himself going down the wrong path, suggested the game as a way to unite youth and decrease crime.

"Right now, we got people from White Plains, we got people from Burke, we got people from Clay Avenue, all the way downtown," he said.

"You have relationships starting to build among these quote unquote 'rivals,' or those from the different projects," English said. "When they see you in their respective neighborhood, there's sort of automatic respect. Why? Because we played ball together."  

They're playing with some of the 49 new police recruits that'll be patrolling their streets. They, and hundreds of more seasoned officers who are swapping desk jobs for the beat, will work to curb violence in high-crime areas this summer.

"This is a starting point of youth saying, 'He's all right. I got no beef with him,'" English said.

Earlier in the day, the recruits were introduced to the community.  

The 47th Precinct leads the city in murders. Longtime residents are hoping the new officers will turn things around.

"I look at the statistics before I came here this afternoon, and the number of murders in our community is astounding," said one community resident. "I want to see that drop down to no murders."

If you want to shoot some hoops, the Rev. said there will be more events like this every other week. For more information, visit bccjr.org.

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