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Monday, 23 April 2012

A gang feud over a gambling debt has led to three shootings and a stabbing since Wednesday

04:20 |

A gang feud over a gambling debt has led to three shootings and a stabbing since Wednesday, prompting enhanced policing in the city’s southwest. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and police officials announced their plan Saturday at the intersection of Elm and Oak streets in response to four days of violence that they said is related to a dispute over a dice game between gangs on Riverdale Avenue and Cottage Place Gardens, a public housing complex off Warburton Avenue. The police response will include enhanced patrols and more anti-narcotics and anti-gang officers on streets into the early morning hours. Deputy Police Chief William Cave said since Wednesday his department has made one arrest and recovered two handguns. The most recent violence was a Saturday morning stabbing at 1:55 a.m. at 77 Park Hill Ave. The male victim did not suffer life-threatening injuries and no one was arrested. Cave said that most of the victims of the past few days’ crimes are not cooperating with police. Cave added that his department’s investigation continues, as does a federal anti-gang investigation in the city that last month led to the arrest of 65 gang members. Spano defended the police department’s work in one of the city’s most crime-ridden areas. “There has been a lot of work and a lot of police activity going on here to help free the people of this community from the gang activity that’s taking place,” said Spano. “We have a lot more work to do as you can see with what has happened over the last couple of days. We are committed to taking these streets back.” On Monday, Spano proposed a 2012-13 budget that would cut 30 police officers and seven police supervisors, yet on Saturday Spano said that enhanced policing is possible even with police-force reductions. “Unfortunately, Yonkers has a $90 million budget problem,” said Spano, whose budget seeks a 5 percent savings in the police department. “That is something that in my opinion can work if we work collectively on all parts.” Magdalena Sierra Vasquez, 54, watched Spano’s press conference from a laundromat across the street and she said that her neighborhood’s streets are unsafe. Sierra Vasquez said that she was hit in the face by a flying can on the morning of Nov. 14 thrown when two men got in a fight inside a deli on Oak Street. Sierra Vasquez said no one was arrested over the fight, which sent her to a hospital emergency room, where she initially did not tell hospital staff what really happened to her. “I was afraid,” she said, referring to fear of reprisals by the delinquents who live in her neighborhood.

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