Local residents are fearing the emergence of a Mexican gang terrorizing Brighton Beach, according to a long−time community activist.
Brighton Beach Association Executive Director Pat Singer said her office has fielded complaints about the gang from terrified Mexican immigrants, many of whom work and live around the Brighton Beach Avenue shopping corridor.
“When I talk to Mexican parents who come into the office, they feel it’s a big problem,” said Singer. “I spoke to one owner of a house on Brighton 7th Street and she said they might have to sell because tenants are afraid to live there.”
Singer said the problem appears to be centered around Brighton 7th Street between Brighton Beach Avenue and Oceanview Avenue where there are several single−room−occupancy houses.
“One person said there are about 35 people in the gang and they use a laundromat in the neighborhood as a hangout,” said Singer.
Singer said she has spoken to owners of several houses on Brighton 7th Street asking them to come forward with information anonymously and she will pass it along to the authorities.
The gangs are also trying to recruit the hard−working Mexican residents in the neighborhood, many of whom have kids at P.S. 253 on Oceanview Avenue, she said.
“One parent said they don’t like walking down Brighton 7th Street to pick up their kid,” said Singer.
Singer’s concerned were amplified about a month ago when 19−year−old Marcus Ali was knifed to death just a few steps from his home on Brighton 7th Street.
Cops arrested and charged 28−year−old Santo Rivera with murder and criminal possession of a weapon shortly after the incident.
Singer said she thinks the priority for the 60th Precinct, which covers Brighton Beach and Coney Island, is the western part of Coney Island, the site of recent violence.
Police sources would not confirm or deny gang activity in the neighborhood around Brighton 7th Street, but said they are monitoring the situation.
Meanwhile, Singer is trying to establish a neighborhood block watch to help curb the issue before it gets out of hand.
She also is encouraging people to continue to call her office and she will pass any further information she gets about the issue to police.
“We haven’t seen a problem like this for a long time. The prostitution and drug problems are down so it could be the economy, but let’s stay on top of it,” she said.
©2009 Community News Group
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