In Gentrifying Mott Haven, Murders are Up 300%

As $450,000+ condos go up along E 138th Street and $4,300 three-bedroom apartments appear on the market along Bruckner Boulevard something else is also going up: Murder.

Homicides in The Bronx’s 40th Precinct, which covers Melrose, Mott Haven, and Port Morris, is up by 300% this year as of June 17th compared to the same period last year.

Yesterday we reported that overall murders in The Bronx have gone up 92% when compared to the same period last year.

So far there have been 8 homicides in the 40th compared to 6 for all of 2017 and we’re not even halfway through the year yet. Even if things hold steady and by some miracle there are no more homocides, we’re still seeing a 33% increase.

And it’s not just murder that’s up in the area.

The Crescendo at 25 Bruckner Boulevard is asking as much as $4,300 for three bedroom units.

Rape is up by 40%, shooting victims up by 29% along with shooting incidents up by 39%, grand larceny auto is up by 6.5%.

Several of these homicides happened just a couple of blocks away from the Joinery Condominium on 138th Street where apartments are selling upwards of $450,000 and The Crescendo on Bruckner Boulevard where asking rents are as high as $4,300.

The Joinery Condominiums on 138th Street where condos are selling for over $450,000

This isn’t just confined to The Bronx, however, as citywide trends show that there have been increases in these categories when compared to the same period last year.

If things continue the way they are then we are probably looking at a significant jump in the 40th Precinct where developers have their eyes (and wallets) set.

One of the two waterfront sites, now owned by Brookfield once owned by Chetrit and Somerset, the masterminds behind the failed attempt to rebrand the area as The Piano District, remains vacant.

You can call it SoBro, the Piano District or whatever you want, the fact remains that these neighborhoods still are suffering.

We’ve come such a long way from the 80s and 90s, don’t ever get us wrong but any little sign of reversal, is a step backwards.

“All you see is crime in the city” graffiti tag on Brookfield’s property

Luxury housing for a non-existent population in the poorest congressional district in the country isn’t going to solve the highest rates of asthma in the nation or lift people out from poverty.

Condos for the wealthy aren’t going to help with our failing schools or our crime rates.

The former Filtered Coffee, propped up by local developers to create an artificial community of gentrifiers

Cafes propped up by developers in our communities to speed up gentrification isn’t what we need.

Several years ago Chetrit Group and Somerset Partners lead by Keith Rubenstein purchased a couple of lots at the foot of the Third Avenue Bridge and attempted to rebrand our area the Piano District.

They had grandiose plans of six residential market-rate luxury towers with as much as 1,500 units and a $500 million price tag but were unable to secure funding for the development despite all the money that was pumped by them into “local” ghost businesses propped up to create a semblance of an existing “hip” community.

Unable to secure the necessary funding they sold the development site to Brookfield Properties for $165 million walking away with a hefty profit.

All these monies exchanging hands between billionaire developers to create luxury housing for the rich in a community plagued with ills and crime despite all the major gains throughout the past several decades when perhaps it should have been invested in the actual residents who live here.

As for the increase in murders and crime, as someone who grew up in this precinct and during the worst of 80s and 90s, any uptick, however small, sends shivers down my spine triggering memories of how bad it was.

We cannot go back.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.