- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Join the conversation on crime in your Bronx neighborhood | Bronx News Networkbronx

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Join the conversation on crime in your Bronx neighborhood

Yesterday we kicked off a conversation on crime. We wanted to start a dialogue about how you perceive crime in your neighborhood and we've received a few responses. Thanks to the Boogie Downers, a concerned anonymous poster and Msgr. John Jenik of Our Lady of Refuge Parish in North Fordham (or Fordham-Bedford as others call it).

Keep them coming. We'll bring up some of the other points made, but let's talk about violence for a minute.

Msgr. Jenik brings up a good point when he says the statistics for the sector around his parish validates his and other local residents' feelings that their neighborhood is saturated with crime.

What we've heard from Jenik and others in that neighborhood is that many feel the violent crime there stems from the drug trade. Turf wars. Junkies robbing people to get money for drugs. Drug dealers robbing other drug dealers for product. These are the types of issues that ignite violent crime. Sounds like a very plausible theory. Police have told us this is often the case, as well.

When we brought this up with Assemblyman Ruben Diaz, Jr., who's in line to take over the borough presidency following a special election vote on April 21, he had an interesting take. He said that much of violence in the borough and elsewhere in the city didn't stem from the drug trade. Instead, he said, the vast majority of violence is born out of everyday disputes that escalate into something more.

He then launched into a long explanation about his belief that males, especially black and Hispanic males (who are overwhelmingly the victims and perpatrators of violent crime in the borough), are brought up to express themselves through violence. Toughness or masculinity, he said, is expressed through violence. Essentially, Diaz said, young men are taught: If somebody is messing with you or disrespecting you, then you should respond physically. If you don't, you're a punk.

Diaz says this whole thought process needs to change, starting with how parents bring up their children and teaching them how to deal with disputes.

Lyn Pyle, a resident of the tough Norwood enclave of Knox-Gates, actually wrote a play about this called "Ain't Easy," as a way to teach young people how to react to disputes or frustration without using violence. It runs for a month or so every year at Hostos and sometimes travels to local public schools and has received great reviews. If anyone knows of any other efforts to stem violence through conflict resolution or other means, let us know. If you have other theories on the reasons for violence or ways to stop it, let us know.

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