THE BRONX — Since Memorial Day, haunting images of crime on the streets have emerged out of the Bronx. This week alone, two shootings have neighborhoods in the borough on edge.
On Wednesday morning, one man was inside of a 99 Cents Store in Marble Hill. While 24 hours earlier, another man was shot while holding his 13-month-old daughter in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. The NYPD is still trying to track down the gunman seen on surveillance video running from the scene.
"These acts that have occurred, it really catches you off guard. You really have to be on guard regardless of the time and regardless of what community your are in," said Rafael Salamanca, the District 2 Manager for Community Board 2 in the Bronx.
Salamanca discussed with PIX11 News how crime is down overall in the borough, including homicides which have declined by 10 percent.
"Crime has gone down in our community and we need to credit the police department for really doing an excellent job because they are paying attention to the community and that is what is key," he said.
However, that relationship is one that he has forged with the NYPD through monthly precinct council meetings that take place year round which Salamanca says have helped curb crime that tends to flare up in the summer months.
"We meet July and August. We felt that there was a need for the community to meet with the commanding officer during the summer months, when the weather is warm, it gets darker later and there is more activity on the street," he said.
While PIX11 News did capture police activity in the shadow of the 46th Precinct with the NYPD detaining a man after they informed him he was resisting arrest, a mere three blocks away at East 182nd Street and Ryder Avenue there was a different kind of activity, kids enjoying their streets for most of the day.
"The young people really appreciate us, because they say that they need someone that is involved, someone that cares about them, someone that wants to be involved," said Sarah Delany, with the group Lead by Example and Reverse the Trend.
Hers is a grassroots organization that works closely with the NYPD in trying to provide role models for those teens who may be on the fence when it comes to a life filled with gang crews and crime.
"We are trying to reach out the young people and make them realize you need to make wise choices. Put the guns down and think about your lives," Delany said.
The founder of the group is Antonio Hendrickson. He started the program while serving 18-years in federal prison for pushing drugs on the streets.
"We were able to rehabilitate and reform over 500 gang members," he said.
Hendrickson conveyed the success that his program has achieved through outreach and dialogue while also expressing his dismay over the this week's murders and the fact that they took place in broad daylight.
"That is something new. What I have learned with the young people of today, they don't have no right or wrong. Everything with them is blur and because they had no one there to teach them or say something to them about 'Yo you don't do this, this is taboo, this is not permissible this is unacceptable,' they just do it," he said.