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Impact zone inspires block party ban

Bronx Times

The party’s over before it’s begun.

A local community board is putting it’s foot down on crime by refusing to okay any new application for warm weather street events within an NYPD Impact Zone.

Community Board 6 covering Tremont voted to red light any such applications for block parties and street festivals that can often spark street fights within the active 48th Precinct’s Impact Zone, which is flooded with extra cops to combat bumps in violent crime.

Residents along a stretch of 180th Street from Boston Road. to Bathgate Avenue, and roughly ten square blocks in Tremont will have to wait until further notice.

At the board’s March 13, members unanimously voted in favor of the precautionary measure – more like a “moratorium” in the eyes of District Manager Ivine Galarza.

She emphasized that churches and applicants who filed before the non-binding policy was passed will still have their permits honored.

Galarza said the move is part of an effort to help police, already stretched thin, to deal with expected increases in crime during the hot summer months.

She warned that anyone who files for a permit will be denied, and lose the $25 processing fee from the city Community Affairs Unit.

The CAU already passed an amendment in January, denying permits to any new street fairs this year. But Galarza said she was unaware of the policy, calling it “ironic that we followed the city’s lead.”

Board 6 Chair Wendy Rodriguez agreed with Galarza in stemming the outbreak of crime in the area.

“We’re not trying to deny anyone in having a street event,” said Rodriguez. “We’re trying to deny kids getting killed.”

So far, no one has yet filed for a permit, said Galarza.

Impact Zone

The NYPD transferred 20 extra cops about a year to patrol Tremont after a spike in shootings, muggings and thefts.

“They walk the beat and have longer hours to monitor the areas because of the high crime,” Galarza said of the influx of blue uniforms in parts of the Impact Zone nicknamedd “no man’s land.”

Last November, a five-year-old girl was hospitalized after being shot by a stray bullet on Hughes Ave. off E. 180th Street.

In January 2012, a wild melee inside a basketball court at Vidalia Park left four teens shot.

Reaction

Neighbors agreed crime has been a major issue in the residential neighborhoods of the Impact Zone.

A woman who only gave her name as Keisha agreed a ban on street fairs makes sense, though she’s not sure whether it would keep crime down.

“Even if you ban block parties, there’ll still be problems,” she said, blaming many of the drug-infested issues on a Methadone clinic just around the corner from her home.

Her friend Adrian, a mother of a one-year-old, also backed the ban, saying plenty of beefs between rival gangs happen at block parties.

“They think it’s a hangout spot.”

But at the March 13 board meeting, Jose Padilla Jr., one-time assembly candidate, argued that by not honoring the permits, neighbors miss out on the chance to bond with the community.

“Let the community residents come and have their community event, block party,” he said, calling the denial of permits a form of discrimination.

“There could be some legal repercussions against Community Board 6,” said Padilla Jr.

But Galarza said she intends to keep the ban – whatever the city does – until crime subsides substantially.

“We are saving lives,” said Galarza.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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