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Police Increase Presence In 48th Precinct To Combat Gang Violence

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gang violence and the skyrocketing murder rate have prompted the NYPD to flood the Bronx with police.

That's especially true in the 48th Precinct, where authorities say a 15-year-old boy was murdered by alleged gang members.

A day after Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz was laid to rest, police are trying to make sure the streets are safe and there's no gang retribution, CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported.

"Those resources have helped stay the crime situation and prevent any possible retaliation or future instances of violence," said NYPD Capt. Andre Brown, commander of the 48th Precinct.

Police sources tell CBS2 the increased manpower includes anti-crime plainclothes teams to work with gang and narcotics units. Authorities have said they believe the Trinitarios gang is behind the spike in violence in the Bronx, including the stabbing death of Guzman-Feliz.

Murders in the Bronx are up more than 92 percent this year, with 50 compared to 26 in 2017. In the 48th Precinct, murders are up 125 percent, with nine this year compared to four in 2017.

More: Local Leaders, Elected Officials Call For Action Following Bronx Teen's Stabbing Death

Kramer asked the Capt. Brown what took so long to step up security.

"Nothing took so long. We get resources on a regular basis. However, with this incident and the potential for retaliation and community outcry, the department felt the need and the responsibility to include additional resources," he replied.

Some community activists, like Sydney Flores, say the NYPD should force landlords to get rid of gang-related graffiti tags.

"I think NYPD needs to step in and enforce graffiti summonses," he said.

Law enforcement expert Manny Gomez agreed.

"Graffiti gang signs on streets buildings in that neighborhood are totally unacceptable. It sends a message to the public at large that hey, these streets -- and that's the message they want to send -- that these streets are owned by the Trinitarios," he told Kramer.

Capt. Brown said it's not that much of a problem.

"The graffiti in the 48th Precinct is generic in its content," he said. "We do not have a problem with gang-based graffiti… When we identify graffiti… we mitigate that graffiti through means of paint-overs and power washing."

NYPD sources tell CBS2 the goal of putting more cops in the 48th Precinct is two-fold: Short-term arrests, and starting long-term investigations that will take bad guys off the streets for a long time.

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