Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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The Call Blog: Emotional Week Ends, Residents Look To Safer Future

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It was an emotional end to an emotional week. We can choose to remember the name of the killer. I choose to remember the names P.J. Avitto, Mikayla Capers, and Tanaya Copeland.

Hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in East New York, Brooklyn this morning to pay their final respects to stabbing victim Prince Joshua Avitto. The 6-year-old was remembered as a kind and caring child who loved action figures. Police believe P.J. was stabbed to death on Sunday by 27-year-old Daniel St. Hubert. The career criminal appeared in court today after being arraigned on several charges last night, including second degree murder.

The attack on Avitto and 7-year-old Mikayla Capers led to outrage at public housing developments in all five boroughs this week. There are no surveillance cameras in the elevator or building lobby at the Boulevard Houses where the attack took place. Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA officials vowed to spend another $27 million to improve security by the end of the year.

What message do you have for the victims and their families, the suspect, or NYCHA officials? What lessons should be learned from this tragedy? What steps need to be taken to improve safety measures at public housing? What reforms would you make to the criminal justice system to prevent similar crimes from happening in the future?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Hi John

I would like to send my condolences to PJ's family i could see the hurt in PJ's father's face when he was talking to the media i'm glad Mikayla is getting better day by day it's a slow process of healing i hope her parents and family are by her everyday 24/7 she needs to feel loved more than ever now, i hope every parent in ENY and all over the city keep a tighter grip on their kids espically since summer is coming and the kids will be out of school soon.The parents should always be with their young kids and teach them never to get in a elevator with strangers and definitely not to talk to strangers, NYCHA should install cameras in every building on every floor and stairwell they should also have a security person at the front door to block strangers from entering the building, everyone should have a I.D to show they live in the building. The HHC should open a hospital for mentally-ill patients that commit horrific crimes so they will be locked up for life


Hi John,

I know it's a two way street and by that I mean that parents/guardians must take a stand together and if all or some are involved with the upbringing of their children they should do so. Start now!!! This person that did this awful thing was arrested 11 times and he is only 27 years old himself. NYCHA must put cameras where needed and they must do their repairs and continue the upkeep of the buildings. No question about it and no ifs ands or buts about anything. I also believe that they should bring back the housing cops and should modify the stop and frisk. This week alone we had many crimes happening in the Bronx and it's become second nature to all of these politicians. They need to get on board and not just for the moment or for their photo ops. To the families and friends of these little children all I can say is that my family and myself are very sorry for all of you and we have had tragedy in my family and we all never get over it.

Thank you John,

The lesson is: DO NOT LET CRIMINALS OUT OF PRISON !!!! A criminal will always be a criminal.He will never,ever turn into a good person.For God's sake, this guy was arrested nine times before!!! Why should decent people and innocent children pay the price? What kind of a system is this? Who are the judges that released this guy in the first place? I would be willing to pay more taxes for whatever programs that can keep criminals off the streets. You are talking about the rights of mentally sick to get help and get treatment? What if they don't want any help or treatment? What about my right to be safe?


What do you expect will happen when you release criminals and you don't allow people to protect themselves? NYC has turned into a city where people have to stay in their homes to be safe or take a chance going outside. If you are well off you buy into safer neighborhoods or doorman buildings. If you are poor you are expendable. Why are statistics ignored when they show that states who implemented right to carry laws are seeing decreases in crime?


I think it’s important to be careful with the choice of words we use when describing people with mental illnesses. Calling them “crazy” or “psycho” diminishes the very real illness that they have. More importantly, people with mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. This man is not the face of mental illness, despite the media’s sensationalism. Having said that, I do believe our society is ill-informed about how to recognize warning signs, and how to initiate help before a crisis happens. We need increased funding and dedication to this important matter. As much as we are all up in arms about this, I question many people would be willing to donate even 1% of each paycheck to help pay for needed services such as increased mental health facilities.

-Dave from Brooklyn

Weren't our justice system and our correction system suppose to give us a reformed and healed criminal that would not cause any further damage to society? Someone failed in doing this and should be held accountable. If meds are suppose to work, who is going to make sure they are taken by an individual.

George, Brooklyn

People who are diagnosed with a serious mental illness need to have access to mental health services and medication. If a person can not afford mental health services, the government should have to provide it for free or on a sliding scale. I know that this will come at a cost to the tax payer, but it is the price we must pay for safety. Additionally, if a person who has a mental problem refuses services or does not take his/ her medication, it should be a criminal offense punishable by jails, fines and or psychiatric confinement.

jackson heights

I grew up on the projects and lived and the 4th floor. My parents forbid us from taking the elevator. They told is if you're in the stairs you can run This sad tragedy makes me thanks my parents for making Me climb those steps.


Please do a report on the NYCHA social workers. The one here is useless. I have a family over me that have been a nuisance for the last 3 1/2 years. Housing does nothing! The son tried to kill his mother, but the social worker says “ nothing is wrong with them”??

Red Hook West


The lesson to be learned is that cameras will not prevent attack; all they will do is aide in finding the perpetrator.

What is needed is armed security guards patrolling the property 24/7 and armed doormen or door women clearing the entry of anyone and everyone to the building ay the tenant the visitor is there to see, also 24/7.

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