Gang divide in sections of East New York public housing complex divides families

EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn — In terms of an overall drop in crime, New York City is now the safest big city in America, but overall is a big word that fails to address a nagging problem still plaguing several tough neighborhoods.

Here in the Cypress Hills public housing development in East New York, Brooklyn, mothers like Keisha, whose name has been changed for her safety in this article, are trying to avoid getting caught up in an ongoing beef between rival gang members living  at three different sections of the complex, known as “Back-Side,” “Front-Side” and “Sutter Side.”

These beefs divide families.

Keisha lives in the “Back-Side” of the Cypress Houses.

Her brother live on the “Front-Side.”

“I talk to my brother every day,” she said. ” It’s been about a year-and-a-half. Technically I’m considered part of that, so just because I’m from the ‘back, you can’t go to the front.”

Keisha is not alone.

“That’s why everybody goes to a certain store, like everything is cut off,” Keisha said.

Sandra, another worried mother whose name has been changed for this article out of safety concerns, lives on the “Front-Side” of the Cypress Houses.

“They are reckless,” Sandra said about the gang members. “They just shootin’ real reckless, it’s like any time of the day, it’s like children outside.”

Their accounts are eerily similar, especially when it comes to raising their sons.

Sandra said residents cannot communicate with certain people because that could make them “guilty by association here.”

“You don’t even have to be exactly in the beef,” she said.

Residents here tell us boys with guns – not men – are the usual culprits.

The NYPD has documented 950 crew and gang members here in 75th precinct.

Our last report from this neighborhood was filed from the perspective of law enforcement. However, this story is told from the streets laced with a mother’s love.