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NYPD Approves Of 'Civilian Patrolling' In Crime-Infested Part Of Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Residents in one section of north Brooklyn are voicing concern over what they say is a spike in violent crime.

CBS 2's John Slattery spoke with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly about the issue on Thursday.

The neighborhood is Greenpoint, where long-time resident Mark Nyburg is concerned.

"I'm probably going to be putting in security cameras. That's what it's coming to," Nyburg said.

Nyburg, who has lived in Greenpoint for 35 years, said with the area being gentrified, it's now a target, featuring an increase in assaults, break-ins and muggings. Recently there was a rape and a man was pistol whipped.

"I don't feel secure like I used to be, no," resident Stephania Gut said.

Some locals blame the problem, in part, on a 200-bed shelter on McGuinness Boulevard, serving men with mental illness and substance abuse.

"I think it's wrong the way they snuck it in the community. We tried to keep it out," Nyburg said.

But others said shelters have to be somewhere.

"I absolutely support it because I'd rather have a place for them to go than not have a place for them to go," resident Peter Cloutier said.

At a town hall meeting this week the local police commander said he was understaffed. Commissioner Kelly agreed.

"Would we like to have more? Absolutely," Kelly said.

What's been proposed for the area is a volunteer patrol group, which the commissioner said he supports.

"Any time a group wants to help with civilian patrolling, we support it," Kelly said.

Local residents said it's not vigilantism. It's just a block water to deter crime.

The police commissioner said the number of police officers is down 6,000 from 11 years ago.

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