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Russel Gallo says Gravesend is overrun by gangs

Gravesend is overrun by gangs, Assembly candidate says

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A Republican state assembly candidate who claims to be a gang expert says that violent, vengeful crews could be jacking up crime in Gravesend — and the proof is in the grafitti.

Russell Gallo, a former National Guardsman who’s taking on Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) this fall, attributed scrawlings he found on walls along Avenues U and X to gang warfare, which could be a key factor in the neighborhood’s rising crime rate.

“Gangs rob people; they sell drugs and break into people’s cars — these things are related,” said Gallo, who said he found tags belonging to Latino gangs such as La Raza and Surenos 13 during a brief stroll down Avenue U between W. 11th Street and Ocean Parkway. Several of the markings were scratched out, indicating that rival gangs are warring over territory, Gallo claims.

“Most politicians just think of it as [the act of] stupid kids, but it’s really much more scary than that,” Gallo said. “There are rival gangs roaming the streets and a lot of the shootings going on are probably connected to this.”

But authorities at the 61st Precinct said Gallo’s claims are completely overblown.

“This isn’t really a gang neighborhood, I’ve never seen any evidence of organized gang activity,” said one cop.

“Sounds like a politician looking for a step up,” said another officer.

But Gallo countered that the cops aren’t properly trained in detecting and combatting gang activity.

Our street cops are not being trained to recognize gang markings, it’s extra training and the cops need it,” he said. “They have specialized gang units, but I think more street cops need the training as well.”

Gallo’s concerns aren’t completely unfounded: to date, crime is up more than 50 percent in the 61st Precinct.

Robbery rates have risen 94 percent compared to last year, from 71 hold ups in 2011 to 138. Burglaries are up 30 percent from 110 complaints to 143 this year, and grand larceny is up 85 percent from 203 to 377 complaints.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

Guido Fauci from Shore Front Brooklyn says:
What Mr. Gallo is describing is happening all over South and Southwest Brooklyn. It is particularly bad along the business avenues, whether it's in Graves End, Sheepshead Bay, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach or Midwood.

This is neither news nor new. Why is Gallo bringing it up NOW? He ran for the assembly before from the 47th AD, and that was much in the same overall area as where he's running now in the 45th AD. Apart from running for office, Mr. Gallo also says that he's been active in his community --- again. why is he bringing this up now.

Democrat Ben Akselrod, who is also running against Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, was the first to make the rise of crime in the community an issue as part of his primary campaign. Republican Russell Gallo obviously fears that Akselrod, a very strong law and order, and family values conservative, might win and become the Democratic Party nominee against him.

What Gallo is doing is trying to carve out a niche in the law and order argument by citing the threat of gangs. However, even though beat cops in the precincts of the 45th AD might not now be experts on gangs, the higher commands in the NYPD do have such expertise available. If the NYPD doesn't now cite a growing gang threat as a major cause of the local uptick in crime in and around Graves End, they probably know what they're talking about --- unlike Mr. Gallo who obviously is just looking to make some political hay while the sun shines on crime generally.
Sept. 8, 2012, 2:44 pm
Robert from Sheepshead Bay says:
Apparently it's news to the 61 Precinct officers interviewed, Guido! Just for that, I"m glad Russell Gallo brought this up. THis is the first I heard of it. Now that it's in the papers, let's see what else the police do about it.
Sept. 9, 2012, 5:51 pm
Not - 4 - Gallo from Brooklyn says:
Ben Akselrod was the first Assembly candidate to blow the whistle on the rise of crime in the 61st Pct. in the 45th AD. He cited the 50% rise in local crime weeks ago; and at that time, the other candidates involved and their supporters, including Gallo and his top helper in the race, only focused on an unfortunate typo in Akselrod's anti-crime piece and not the data backing up Ben Akselrod's warning about the rise in crime.

Also, according to the 61st Pct. officers quoted in the article above, they did not say that Gallo's claim that gangs were over-running Gravesend was news to them, they said there was no evidence that it was true and that it sounded like a politician trying to get a leg up. More to the point, other police officials said, "... Gallo’s claims are completely overblown."
Sept. 10, 2012, 1:13 am

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