Watch CBS News

Brownsville, Brooklyn community advocates consider how to reduce violence amid recent spike

Man shot near Brooklyn park speaks out about gun violence in Brownsville
Man shot near Brooklyn park speaks out about gun violence in Brownsville 01:45

NEW YORK -- A recent spike in violence in Brownsville, Brooklyn has the attention of community advocates and law enforcement. 

The most recent incident took place this weekend at a Father's Day barbecue near Livonia Park. At around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, a 61-year-old was shot in the leg, and a 71-year-old woman was shot in the stomach and hip. Both are hospitalized in stable condition. 

What the data shows

From January to June 16, the number of shooting victims in the 73rd Precinct were down 73% compared to three decades ago, in 1993. However, 2024 has so far seen more than a 100% uptick in shooting victims versus the same time period last year. The NYPD says overall crime in the 73rd Precinct is down nearly 2% compared to last year.  

Community advocates say they're doing a good job of reaching kids at a young age, but increased access to guns is a challenge.   

"It was really alarming. The number of young people under the age of 21 that are in possession of guns, and are using the guns," Mayor Eric Adams said. "Our focus is to continue to look at what's happening there. Is this gang driven? That's what we believe it is. And to really respond to it accordingly." 

"This could be your grandmother"

One community advocate said children should be running to a park, not from a park. Al Mathieu of Brownsville Think Tank Matters wants to see more violence interrupters on the streets. 

"We only have, like, about ... I think it's four violence interrupters, and three outreach workers. We try to do our best," Mathieu said. 

"We always speak on it. This could be your grandmother. This could be your grandfather," said Darien "Mello" Scriven of Brownsville End Violence South. The organization is part of the NYPD's pilot program called the Brownsville Safety Alliance, which deploys violence interrupters and crisis management personnel to hotspots instead of uniformed NYPD. 

Scriven's nonprofit Brownsville Think Tank Matters is meeting as well this week to decide on next steps. 

"A lot of people have good jobs. They're at work, trying to live their lives, but a small amount in your community that do these shootings, and what we need is the community to come out more," Scriven said. 

"If we had lighting in this park a lot of crime will come down. You're not going to stop it, but you will slow it down a lot," said Robert Scott, Sr., of the NYCHA Van Dyke Houses tenant association. 

"It's a trauma on the kids that were out here playing. It's trauma on the adults out here that was out here enjoying themselves. So those are things we have to now deal with," Scriven said.

61-year-old man shot near Livonia Park speaks out

Kevin Alford said he is grateful to be alive, but angry that he has now become the latest victim of gun violence in Brownsville.

From his hospital, Alford, sore and in pain, showed where the bullet pierced his left leg.

"It shattered the knee somewhere here," he said.

Alford said he was with his four young grandkids when two men walked past him and gunfire erupted.

"When I got into this bed I had to break down. I started thinking that could've been one of my granddaughters," Alford said.

When asked how he feels about the gun violence in Brownsville, Alford said, "I hate it because innocent people are getting shot for no reason. These kids out here having guns and they don't know who they are shooting at."

Alford will undergo surgery Tuesday morning and is expected to be OK.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.