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Inner City Press Bronx Report- December 21, 2004

          At the Nov. 30 meeting of the 48th precinct Community Council, the audience was told that crime is down, and that there’d been no murders in the previous week.  The message was delivered by the precinct’s executive officer; the commanding officer was not able to attend.  After a lull, from the audience came this question: What about the woman who was shot and killed on Bathgate back on November 20?  That being ten days previous, the “no murders last week” claim could still be made. But had the killing of Jasmine Pacheco, 19-years old and the mother of a 1-year old, been solved?

The answer, surprisingly, sounded akin to blame the victim. “Her friends were not truthful for twenty four hours,” Captain Duffy said. They’d said she was standing in the street. In fact she’d been inside a car with three other people -- one of whom, Capt. Duffy said, was now thought to have been the target.  He was asked: any suspects? Any arrests?

 “We’re making some progress,” he said, again emphasizing that the lack of candor -- nowhere reported in the four New York dailies -- had not been helpful. He was asked about a daytime shooting on Honeywell and 180th; his assistant responded that the victim of that shooting had himself been arrested, for gun possession, and didn’t come from the 48th precinct anyway, but rather from a neighborhood in the West Bronx.

  Claims were made about the decrease in last week’s crime (except for an increase in grand larceny); the most recent CompStat data on the precinct’s Web site was, on the night of Nov. 30, from the week of Oct. 18 though Oct. 24. A video was shown about the evils of graffiti; a question was asked about Operation Clean Halls.   And then the meeting was over...

  Another meeting, down in Manhattan:

December 20-21, 2004:   In twenty degree weather on Monday night, Gracie Mansion was the site of a reception for New York’s press corps.  Open bar, replete with martinis; cheese bread sticks and later Christmas cookies. There was small shop talk about Guy Velella, slated to return to Rikers next week; there was the Superintendent of Banks, gracious, referencing setting sights lower now that J.P. Morgan Chase and HSBC have left state regs behind, then rooting on the Mayor as he strode by in a cowboy hat (which concealed beneath it two other hats, including a Staten Island baseball cap). The bar stopped serving in deference to the Mayor and his press secretary (who the Mayor referred to as the original Pale Male, to some tittering in the audience).  The Mayor gave gifts -- “Mrs. Atkins husband’s book” to New York 1, a calculator to Newsday (to figure out its circulation), and a Knicks cap to Joyce Purnick, accompanied by jokes about the Dolans and the Jets’ playoff chances.  It felt like a small and well-off city, with even the muckraking all among friends.   Heading uptown on the M15 through East Harlem, then Bx15 in The Bronx, the city felt difference. People were bundled up due to no heat on the bus.  People looked tired, coming home from second jobs. Nothing was free, nothing was easy. The reporters fought for scoops, but only rarely for the public good, only incidentally, as an after-thought or collateral damage. Gracie Mansion has been beautifully redone.  East Harlem and The Bronx, less so. 

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