Tragic Irony: Housing Projects Named After MLK Show Sharp Increases In Violence

- By Bossip Staff

What do you get when you cross Dr. Martin Luther King with Malcom X? A street you can’t walk down. Only a day after celebrating the vision and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, a new study has been released showing that peace is hard to come by on streets named after the icon.

Martin Luther King Jr. Houses on Malcolm X Blvd in NY is just one of many housing developments that have seen significant crime increases over the past year.

Violence in city housing developments spiked last year, led by a sharp increase in Bronx murders and Harlem shootings, statistics show.

Residents were not surprised.

“You can’t avoid it,” Bronx resident Maria Rojas-Garcia, 61, said of the violence. “We got everything here. Just last summer a young man was shot in front of our building.

“There is no peace.”

Rojas-Garcia lives with her 83-year-old mother in the Edenwald Houses, the Bronx’s biggest housing project and one with a persistent gang problem.

The Edenwald Houses is one of 14 developments covered by police officers assigned to Police Service Area 8, a division of the NYPD’s Housing Bureau in the east and north Bronx.

Police did not have statistical breakdowns by housing development, but the numbers show that PSA 8 investigated 14 murders last year, up from two in 2009. There were 37 shootings at those houses, compared with 14 in 2009. Edenwald residents said they don’t need numbers to tell their story. Be careful, they say, or be ready.

“People are animals here,” said Jason Miller, 17, an admitted member of the Inwood Jungle Kids. “They hurt each other for no reason. You have to hang with the right crew.

“We’re the top crew so nobody messes with us.”

Police said the increase follows a year of sharp decreases.

“Nonetheless, any murder or shooting is one too many,” said top NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. “We address crime spikes experienced in public housing with housing impact deployments, sometimes coordinated with precinct and transit impact teams, among many other strategies.”

Shaquin Cameron, 20, has her own strategy – she moved out and is majoring in sociology at SUNY Albany. Her friend, Ta’Neyah Frazier, 19, would love to follow suit. “I want to leave here too.” she said. “It’s all I’ve known. I wonder what life is like, life outside here.”

Such an option is less likely for Daniel Lewis, who has lived in Harlem’s Martin Luther King Jr. Houses for all but one of his 57 years.

The development is just a few blocks from the north end of Central Park, but his surroundings are anything but pastoral. Busted door locks invite troublemakers, gunshots are fairly common and kids can’t play in the courtyard without fear.

“It’s getting worse,” he said.

Police statistics show 54 people were shot at Manhattan projects last year, compared with 37 in 2009.

The sharpest increase occurred on the grounds of the developments in Harlem, East Harlem and Spanish Harlem, with shooting victims rising from 21 in 2009 to 40 last year.

“I don’t even let my kids go to the window – and I live on the 12th floor,” said Christina Andrades, 34, a stay-at-home mother of three. “The bullets fly around here.”

It looks like the only thing these people have a dream about is bussin’ a cap in your azz.


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  • spade

    oh yeah, fuk everybody in Grant Houses and Manhattanville.

  • http://Hotmail Islandbaby

    It’s called a project. What did you u expect, most of these young men has noting going on for them. Its sad but true.

  • msbliss

    It seems lik every city’s mlk drive is located in a bad area. I just wish blk ppl esp men would realize were we came from & be inspired to @least live better. I h8te seeing ppl lik me going 2 & from work & seeing a group of young blk men standing around jus doing nothing & expecting the world to take care of them. Dnt blame the economy cause even when it was more stable we had the same problems. Mlk wasn’t a rich man & but he had a mission, a purpose. Blk men no matter what u lack in the physical world u still can walk around wit purpose & a sense of pride. Ppl risk their lives 2 come here & work 4 little to nothing but they WORK! Why aren’t our men doing the same? If ur not doing rite & living what his dream was, dnt u dare utter a word about mlk day or even buy a shirt wit his face on it!

  • Ain't No Stopping Us

    Leave those people alone! They would not clean up the house or take care of their lawn if you gave them $550,000 house with paid utilities! Seen black women with 6 kids a cooks job and boyfriend with a job at the bus station a buy home make her bad azz kid graduate high school go to college or the military. The kids gave back to the Mom & step daddy, the community and our country. Yes Dr. KING there are black people moving forward, taking care of theirs.

  • AnaLisa

    Tragic Irony indeed1

    MLK Drive runs right through the hood in most cities.

    • DivisionAvenue

      ur right i never heard of mlk having a street or blvd in a upscale neighborhood

    • true story

      yup..i live in milw..MLK runs thru hood here 2.

  • Jazzie

    I used to work with a lot of kids from that development they around 11 to 13… some of them are some smart intelligent kids with dreams and ambitions but by the time they hit 16 all those dreams and ambitions go away because of limited options and violence kinda sad smh!!

  • Boondock Saint

    What did you expect? Everybody knows that if you ever want to know where the bad part of town is, just find where MLK is. There’s no MLK in the suburbs, I’ll tell you that much.

  • DontBeScurred

    Nigggas are their own worst enemy. The white man could never do as much damage as Nigggas do to themselves through laziness and apathy.

    • suga

      100% agree. You hit the nail on the head.

  • Miss Perfection ..Allergic to Coons & Mudbutts Miss Pefection .. Allergic to Coons &Mudbutts

    thats what you get when you mix black and spanish people with no money no jobs and drugs = projects !

  • if anything be noble

    There have got to be time limits on living in the projects, not no federally funded housing for no 56 years. Folk come to the premises, help you with employment, tutoring, and/or a trade to help you find employment if you’re unemployed, or better employment if you work. After you complete that, you can work with the City (sanitation, graffiti removal, street sweepers, or recreation or skilled office jobs.) After 3-4 years tops, you must save for a small down payment to move to your next level of housing (funded co-ops) which you partially own and are responsible for (and won’t be peeing on since you partially own it.) You live there for 5 years til you move into your own home. The projects can’t be a dead end street with no opportunity like they have been. You get to live in the projects til you phase out then the next wave of people who need them take your place. Projects aren’t forever. Food stamps aren’t forever. Unemployment isn’t forever. Folk have been placed in projects and stuck there in their minds and bodies.

    • ms.brilly

      Your ideas are good ones but a bit unrealistic. You seem to fashion the ideal “project” as a sort of half way house/job corps hybrid. The projects are lacking resources as it is. The city/state of NY is NOT going to put the resources into training anyone sufficiently enough to allow them to get a job that would pay for any type of home in NYC in 3-4 years. NYC is not going to just offer jobs to all of these people. I don’t think the projects could ever really function in the way you describe.

  • miss infamous

    Almost every neighborhood in every major city MLK street, ave, blvd, whatever the street is in a poor, black neighborhood

  • DivisionAvenue

    thats just pure laziness

  • Lacey (On The Search For My White Prince)

    People need to realise that anywhere there are alot of BLACK MEN there wil be ALOT of killing, stealing and gang violence.

    Black men like to kill each other FOR FUN!

    These projects need to be BOMBED so the trash in them and their offspring are not allowed to bring more GHETTO TRASH BABIES into the earth.

    Seriously, I genuinely think all those projects should be bombed so they can all die and go away.

    Posh blacks like me should remain ^_^

  • CeCe

    They should tear down all housing projects and not provide section 8. I get tired of this at some point you have got to do better. Its not everyones fault cause you quit school or end up in jail dayum blacks who do apply themselves have to suffer cause of the ignorant ones thats not fair. Deport their ignorant azzes somewhere weve put up with enough.

  • if anything be noble

    Ms. Brilly, I agree. Who can afford to buy a house in NYC (or a lot of places) by cleaning graffiti off the wall. The step-up co-ops would be funded, too, so the tenant would pay a fraction of market value rent there instead of the money going to the dead end projects. The ultimate housing would also be government built instead of houses on the market. (This is just me kicking ideas here.) I just think the dead end mentality of projects is what creates the violence. People need a way out and HAVE to be forced out of them with a plan. And I’m not taling about the ‘we come in and tear your crib down and you figure out where you live now’ plan. It’s the Welfare to Work model. You get to live here for x number of years then it’s no projects for you. #Imaprojectnazi

  • sanriobaby =^.^=

    This isn’t really news to people who live in and around any projects as well as those who live on streets named after MLK. The sad fact is that most of us already know that if you can avoid living on any street on or near MLK, we do so. It’s a shame, but where there are poor, uneducated, jobless, disinfrancised youth with no role models or sense of belonging and ownership, you will find gangs, drugs, and crime. We as a society really need to get back to the ideology that it really takes a village to raise a child.

  • Tami_Lane

    Mlk blvd runs right through the heart of Newark.

  • Great Dame

    MLK here in SE/SW DC is hood too

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