Port Richmond residents answered the violence plaguing their community with their feet Friday night.
Fewer than expected turned out for the “Neighbors Walk for Safe Streets” event, but those who did participate were passionate about turning the tide in their community, where two people have been shot in four incidents since May 10.
“We hear a lot of complaints about the streets in Port Richmond, especially at night,” said Charles Kitts, co-chair of the Port Richmond Community Task Force, which organized the walk. “We’ve had enough. It’s about time for the people of Port Richmond to take back the streets and make them safe for everyone.”
Kitts said the night would also serve as the kickoff to creation of a community patrol, talk of which dates to 2010, when the area was beset with hate crimes.
Among those walking were Victoria Gillen, president of the Elm Park Civic Association and the North Shore Community Coalition for Environmental Justice; Eric Paul, coordinator of the Verrazano Civic Engagement Table; Daniel Coates, organizer of Make the Road New York, and Terry Troia, executive director of Project Hospitality.
Paul said that even though he’s not a resident of Port Richmond, he wants to support any effort to help make the borough safer.
In addition to the shootings, there have been three street attacks that resulted in beatings. With one exception, all those attacked or shot were Latino immigrants.
Friday’s walk was meant to complement the very successful Port Richmond Friendship Dinner on Thursday night, in which more than 90 community leaders, residents and the NYPD participated to build good will.
The program is one of several summer peace initiatives sponsored by the Task Force.
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