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Gang activity on the rise in Astoria

Crime-Scene-Tape-250x2503June 24, 2015 By Michael Florio

Gang activity in Astoria is on the rise, as members have been involved in local shootings, drug sales and robberies in recent months.

In the past five months there has been a resurgence of gang-related crime in the neighborhood, according to Detective Matthew Maxwell, with the 114th Precinct’s gang unit.

Maxwell said the recent pattern involves the development of ‘crews,” which are smaller facets of a gang, usually comprised of about 10 members. In Astoria these crews are usually made up of young adults anywhere from 15-to 22-years old.

He said the crews are typically affiliated with the Bloods, Crips or Latin Kings.

Maxwell said that teenagers believe it is cool to be part of a gang again once again, spurred on by the news coverage of the Baltimore riots.

The biggest crime connected to these crews is drug dealing, Maxwell said. He added the members have focused on selling marijuana as opposed to hard drugs.

“They sell marijuana because if they get arrested, unfortunately, they will likely be out the next day,” Maxwell said. “If they sell crack or cocaine they know they are facing hard jail time, so the days of that are dwindling.”

Many members are responsible for robberies, mainly strong-arm robberies, such as snatching someone’s cell phone.

“They try to prove they are tough and earn their keep,” Maxwell said.

These crews are also involved in credit card scams.

“They are trying to become less violent and smarter,” Maxwell said.

However, there continues to be a lot of gang-on-gang violence, usually fists fights.  Nevertheless, Captain Peter Fortune said that there was a crew- related shooting in the Queensbridge Houses, on May 30th .

During the incident three individuals, an 18-year-old man, a 29-year-old female and a 22-year-old male, were all shot, with the 22-year-old succumbing to his injuries.

The shooting was gang related, involving a Queensbridge Houses crew called, “Team no lackin’,” according to Fortune. The belief is that it was a fight between younger and older crew members that sparked the incident.

“By younger and older I mean suspects from ages 12 to 22,” Fortune said. “It gives you an idea of just how young kids are getting involved in criminal activity.”

The police are attempting to combat gang-related crime, but it has been getting tougher for them in recent months, since gang members are doing a better job of concealing their affiliation, according to Maxwell.

Capt. Fortune

Capt. Fortune

“No one is out there saying ‘I’m a Blood’ or ‘I’m a Crip’ and walking around with red or blue bandanas,” he said.

While gang members may be able to blend-in with the public, the crew members certainly try to stand out with social media, according to Maxwell.

Often crew members are “pretty blatant” on social media, posting pictures of themselves wearing gang colors and “throwing up gang signs,” Maxwell said.

The police use social media to track down these crew members However, the crews will often claim to be part of a rap group.

The precinct is also looking to combat gang activity is by stationing cops at potential hot spots.  One spot that police will monitor is the Astoria Park Pool, which could attract crew members.

However, Fortune said there will be four cops stationed at the Astoria Park Pool, at all times.

“You will have coverage around the clock over there,” he said.

Meanwhile, the police are urging residents to report suspicious gang activity.

Maxwell said residents should be on the lookout for gang-related tattoos, stating that Bloods are known for a five-point star, usually in red ink, while Crips are known for a six-point star, usually in blue ink.

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24 Comments

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Gabriel

Shoot them and leave them to rot in the street as a warning. After the first few dozen, the rest should get the message.

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John Agoropoulos

Boy are you one big ass hole Charlie. The Greeks saved Astoria. WTF is wrong with you. That’s why it’s such a desirable area to live and the real estate so high. What an idiot you are. The Greeks worked hard an earned what they have. You are an ass hole.

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Charlie Gambino

Get rid of the real pest. The Greeks they need to go back to where they migrated from.. filthy animals that came up on land in America because of a fabricated miracle. When Astoria was a forest swamp these people came and got their land for chump change. Now that the Realty is so high in Astoria there all filthy rich, because these people originally bought land the sizes of most blocks in Astoria. Who would of known lucky dirty bastards lol

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Dawn Suda

I used to love living in this community I was born, and raised here. Since last year the hammer attack this is becoming less and less of a home. It seems Astoria is uprising in criminal activities. It is just a place to live, not a home anymore.

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Chevy Nova

I really could care less about bloods, crips, Latin Kings or whatever they’d like to call themselves. These kids aren’t gang members they’re pests if this was the old Astoria they would be dealt with by the neighborhood itself. Since no one seems to do anything about it just post pictures of them @NYPD114pct so that the cops know who to focus on. These kids should be dealt with asap.

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Mike

If the neighborhood would like to solve this issue they should not be looking to the 114th but rather the business owners of Astoria and city council. If small businesses were given a tax credit for hiring urban youth for part time jobs, we’d be giving these kids a way out of bad choices. They need jobs and work lessons. They’re not monsters, they just need opportunity

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Jackie Oh

Sounds real nice, Mike, but I couldn’t agree with you less. The notion that these “urban” kids want a job that pays less than drug sales, or want to learn to stock shelves is just not true this time around. Most have dropped out of school and are not interested in learning anything much. They like their choices, because they get rewarded for them in the culture they created while their parents abdigated their responsibilities! Astoria has always been a bit rough, but not of the kind we see today. So sorry to see this once wonderful town go into the toilet.

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Kyle

Bloods, Crips, Zulu, Nietas and Latin Kings have been in astoria for the last 20-30 years. Astoria is not getting worse, it’s getting better. The media portrays a monster is on the rise of some sort. Which is FALSE! I have lived in Astoria for the last 31 years and can tell you this first hand. Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

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Nova

Take pictures of the kids and post it to the 114th precient Twitter handle @NYPD114pct and create a hashtag on Instagram and share it here.

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Silent majority

Lets not forget DeBlasio’s soft stance on crime. Why would an officer want to be pro active. So they can loose their pension or worse be charged with a crime. Let the bodies fall and lets just pick up the pieces. You voted for him now ream the whirlwind.

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Raymond-J

Astoria is becoming really terrible thanks to these idiot kids and newbies changing the environment.

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Anonymous visitor

Let’s not forget to mention what the homeless shelter at Westway has attracted. Drive by and see who is hanging out outside. I say drive because walking by is not something that the residents in the area recommend.

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Dr_P

I ride my bicycle by Westway on a daily basis and NOBODY is hanging around outside. I see families waiting for little children from school busses at the most. You people are cruel and idiotic. This has NOTHING to do with Westway.

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Steven

It has plenty to do with west way. I don’t care how many times you ride your bike past it. It’s filled with degenerate, drug dealing, addicts and criminals and since they started giving them a place to fester, more and more am I hearing of late night muggings and countless cars broken into. So shut the fuck up with your cruelty bullshit. Wake up. This is my neighborhood. Our neighborhood. Act like you give a shit.

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Mike

I have been in Astoria for 20 years, and while I am not a native, I’ve been here long enough to challenge you on that. Astoria used to be a LOT more rough than it is now. This place was a wasteland before gentrification and I would not walk where I do now freely and without fear (but always with awareness)

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Laurie Zic`

As someone born and raised in Astoria, I have to say you couldn’t be more wrong on that one. A wasteland? Really. Please.

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smurf

A wasteland? are you kidding me? Astoria was always a nice town. I was born and raised there until I was about 28. It was always relatively safe. I wonder where you grew up haha…..Disneyland?.

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Carlotes Crespo

Astoria is 1000 times better from what it was 10 years ago Buddy. You would had not been able to walk around safely after sundown. I lived there for 27 years of my life i can tell you @Raymond.

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